Wildcats@Work with Andrew Bess

Andrew Bess '09 '12 earned his bachelor's degree in journalism and MBA from the UA. He is now the president and chief operating officer for Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance. Read more about his company and how the UA set him up for success.

What do you do for work and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I am the president and chief operating officer for Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance, a fixed-wing Medical flight company that transports critically ill and injured patients to a higher level of care.

When patients cannot fly commercially due to ambulatory status or oxygen needs, and they consequently cannot traverse by ground ambulance, patients have the option of flying in medically configured jets equipped like an intensive care unit (ICU) at 40,000 feet. In addition to providing this valuable service, our teams help find insurance coverage for these flights and ensure patients get to healthcare centers of excellence around the country for things like life-saving organ transplants, traumatic brain injury or specialized surgery. 

My day-to-day responsibilities consist of meeting with department leaders across clinical services, business development, operations, and patient advocacy to ensure our mission is consistent across all of our touchpoints and interactions with customers. My job is to think strategically and execute our long-term goals.

Our company navigates two highly regulated industries — health care and aviation. My job is to ensure our nurses and paramedics provide consistent care. It’s also to ensure logistically complex cases run seamlessly and that we are an extension of the brand of our hospital partners. 

I also have the luxury of visiting many hospitals around the country and meeting with many of the patients and families that we serve.

How did your time at the UA prepare you to make networking connections and be successful as a professional?
My time at the UA taught me the value of a network and each interaction I make, no matter how big or small. I’m in the business of healthcare and at some point, we all consume healthcare services. Whether it be from prior connections that I made from my undergraduate degree or even colleagues that I still chat with from my Eller MBA, I leverage my network to not only improve our company, but also impact those around us that we serve. 

Both my degrees at the UA also taught me valuable communication skills. From my time in journalism and the business college, I’ve been fortunate enough to gain skills that allow me to communicate micro and macro themes to a wide audience, including staff, clients, patients and families. Being able to navigate a wide range of stakeholders and make complex problems easily digestible is something that I attribute to the things I learned while at the UA. 

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
If you want an opportunity, ask for it. The worst thing someone can say is “no.” Whether it be an opportunity to lead a cutting-edge project, asking for an early performance review, or inquiring if someone will mentor you in their field. Some of the best opportunities in my career came from having the courage and audacity to ask for a shot.