Life Link III names Josh Howell as Chief Executive Officer

Bloomington, MN (June 28, 2021) – Life Link III today announced that its Board of Directors has named Josh Howell as the organization’s next Chief Executive Officer. Howell, who currently serves as the Vice President of Strategy & Business Optimization for the company, will succeed Dr. Steve Sterner on August 2, 2021.  Dr. Sterner has been the Interim CEO for the organization since 2019.

This appointment comes at a pivotal time for Life Link III, now in its 36th year of service. The company is now operating under its own Part 135 certificate and continues to experience substantial growth as it responds to the increasing air medical needs for their region and surrounding communities. Howell will be responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership to achieve the organization’s objectives in alignment with the company’s mission, vision, and values.

“In his career both at Life Link III and within the air medical industry, Josh has an extraordinary track record that made him the ideal candidate for this position. He possesses the right combination of industry knowledge, strong communication, and strategic and operational awareness to not only pursue our current growth plans, but to set the vision for Life Link III moving forward,” said Jim Leste, Board Chairman. “Even more important is that Josh truly values the patient-centric focus of Life Link III and the needs our member-owners, healthcare partners, and patients. He has been a key contributor to Life Link III’s success and we look forward to his continued leadership.”

A seasoned healthcare and medical transport executive, Howell brings extensive experience from working with some of the industry’s most predominant air medical programs.  Prior to Life Link III, he served as Chief Operating Officer for Life Flight Network, Chief Operating Officer for San Antonio AirLIFE, and a Regional Business Development Manager for Air Methods. Prior to his leadership experience, Howell served as a Critical Care Flight Paramedic, giving him unique insight to the challenges and opportunities of patient care delivery.

“I am grateful to the Life Link III Board of Directors for giving me this opportunity to lead Life Link III moving forward. Our industry-leading clinical and aviation capabilities, combined with our culture of doing what is best for the patient, allows us to deliver best-in-class patient care and set the standard for air medical transport,” said Howell. “I have seen first-hand the incredible impact that this organization has had on our patients, our partners in healthcare, and communities. I look forward to continuing to focus on our mission of providing safe and effective air medical transport.”

Howell is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, an Associate member representative of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Hospital Associations, and participates in several industry advisory councils. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University, a Master of Business Administration from Northeastern State University, and a Master of Healthcare Administration from Oklahoma State University.

As he prepares for this new role, Howell expressed his gratitude for the exceptional leadership demonstrated by the Board of Directors and Life Link III’s acting Interim CEO, Dr. Steve Sterner. “The Life Link III Board of Directors has continually supported the vision and strategic growth of Life Link III. It is an honor to have been chosen to succeed Dr. Sterner, who has had an exemplary tenure as Interim CEO,” Howell said. “Together with our team of dedicated professionals, we are ideally positioned to maintain Life Link III’s reputation as an industry leader in the air medical transport industry.”

About Life Link III

Life Link III operates ten helicopter bases that include Alexandria, Blaine, Brainerd, Duluth, Hibbing, Rush City and Willmar, Minnesota, and Marshfield, Rhinelander and Rice Lake, Wisconsin. The company’s helicopter and airplane services provide on-scene emergency response and inter-facility transport for patients requiring critical care. Life Link III’s transportation services are accredited by CAMTS (Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transportation Systems), ensuring the highest standards of quality and safety are met. Life Link III is a non-profit consortium made up of the following member-owner organizations: Allina Health, CentraCare Health, Children’s Minnesota, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, Regions Hospital/HealthPartners®, Hennepin Healthcare, Marshfield Clinic Health System, St. Luke’s, and HSHS Sacred Heart/St. Joseph’s.

Katie Burkhart
Director of Marketing & Communications


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