Our Team

Matthew Strauss

Matthew Strauss with EmergiLearn Solutions

Matt has been an active member of the EMS community for more than ten years. Matt got his start as an EMT at a small EMS service just outside of Pittsburgh, PA volunteering every Friday night during high school. He enjoyed his work so much he successfully completed paramedic training just after high school at the award winning Center for Emergency Medicine in Pittsburgh, PA. Matt gained incredible experience working with the City of Pittsburgh EMS during his training. Matt was passionate about education at an early age. He became a CPR instructor at age 16 and started educating his community and fellow high school students. Matt taught thousands of people CPR/AED and First Aid during high school. Matt was also passionate about spreading the work about Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). AEDs were still in their infancy but he understood how important they were to the chain of survival. Matt campaigned for AEDs to be donated to his high school and it all paid off on March 13, 2003. On that day a 48-year-old man’s life was saved by Matt and others by using one of those AEDs. Click on the link below to read the story.

Matt continued to work as a paramedic in the Pittsburgh area until 2007 when he relocated to follow his dream of working for a fire department in the DC area. Matt spent just over three years at the Alexandria Fire Department and worked extensively on many projects to include strategic planning, recruitment/retention workgroups, and equipment procurement. Matt was a core member of the education team which provided all continuing education to the firefighters and paramedics. Matt holds instructor certifications in many disciplines and is a well respected instructor in the region. Matt has lectured at state conferences and for many different departments. Matt received numerous awards during his time at the Alexandria Fire Department to include Northern Virginia EMS Educator of the Year (2010) and Alexandria Fire Department’s Paramedic of the Year (2010). Matt also spent just over three years working as a flight paramedic for STAT MedEvac, one of the region’s leading air medical services. Matt mastered many different aspects of critical care such as invasive line management, intraaortic balloon pump transport, ventilator support and rapid sequence intubation just to name a few.

Matt continues to remain an active member of the EMS community. He is especially passionate about education and advocacy. He currently serves as the coordinator of the DC Affiliate of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. The SCA Foundation’s mission is to “raise awareness and support programs that give ‘ordinary’ people the power to save a life.” They work to raise awareness about prevention and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest, including post-resuscitation care.

Matt resides in Alexandria, VA just outside Washington, DC.

Michael S. Gerber

Michael Gerber with EmergiLearn Solutions

Michael Gerber has more than a decade of experience in Emergency Medical Services. He started in 2001 with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase (Md.) Rescue Squad, where he still regularly serves as a paramedic. This year also marks his seventh with the Alexandria (Va.) Fire Department, where he currently serves as an EMS Supervisor. In the course of his time with both departments, he has helped plan the fire department’s response to major storms and other natural disasters; provided medical care on the National Mall during the July 4 celebration; and staffed the city of Alexandria’s Emergency Operations Center. In addition, Michael has extensive teaching experience in the Washington, DC, area and at the Virginia State EMS Symposium. Gerber recently received his Master’s Degree in Public Health at the George Washington University.

Nick Gerstel

Nick Gerstel with EmergiLearn Solutions

Nick Gerstel started his emergency services career as a volunteer in Penn Hills, PA, just east of Pittsburgh. Nick worked for six years at the Allegheny County Emergency Operations Center, where he served as a 911 dispatcher, Telecommunications Training Officer, member of the Allegheny County HazMat “Red Team,” PEMA Radiological Team, and member of the Allegheny County Animal Rescue Team. While he served as the Assistant Chief in Penn Hills, he made the move to the City of Johnstown, PA, where he was worked as a Firefighter/Operator on Truck 2. In 2011, Nick relocated to the South Strabane, PA Fire Department. Gerstel, along with Strauss, wrote a successful grant for a community AED in 2004 under the St Margaret Foundation Program. He, along with the Penn Hills Fire Department, used this very AED to save a life on Christmas night in 2012.

Gerstel holds an Associate of Science degree, Pennsylvania EMT certification, ASHI & AHA Basic Life Support Instructor certifications, as well as National Certifications of Fire Fighter I & II, Fire Officer I, and Trench Rescue Levels I & II. Gerstel is accredited as a Non-Suppression Instructor with the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy.

Nick served under the Fire-Medical response team at the US Amateur Open in 2003 and both the Fire and Emergency Communications Mobile Unit for the US Open in 2007 at Oakmont Country Club. Nick has been instructing CPR & First Aid for a decade and currently resides in Washington, PA.

Derek Deakins

Derek Deakins with EmergiLearn Solutions

Derek is a 2012 graduate from George Mason University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Minor in Communications. During his years at GMU, Deakins served on the campus Health and Safety Committee, by developing protocols for crisis situations.

Derek has been a volunteer firefighter since he was 16 with the Rosedale Volunteer Fire Department in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania where he currently serves as the department’s association president as well as the fire department secretary. He has been a certified instructor with EmergiLearn solutions since 2010. Deakins was recognized as the Safe Firefighter of the Month under the Hale National Recognition Program in June 2010. Derek currently resides in the Pittsburgh area.

Josh Milfeit

Josh Milfeit with EmergiLearn Solutions

Josh began his tenure in Penn Hills, PA, serving various roles, up to the Assistant Fire Chief prior to leaving for his current career position in Arlington County, VA.

Milfeit responded as part of the recovery team to the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, PA in 2001.

Greg Hendershot


Jeremy Manke

Jeremy Manke with EmergiLearn Solutions

Fire-EMS veteran Jeremy Manke brings over 15 years of experience to the EmergiLearn team. Manke works as a firefighter out of 17 Truck/Engine in Homewood for Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire.

Jeremy is also a Pennsylvania State Fire Academy Suppression Instructor & PA Dept of Health EMS Instructor. He’s previously worked for Wilkinsburg Fire Department, Penn Hills EMS, Plum EMS, Arnold EMS, and served as a Captain for Penn Hills Fire Department. Manke teaches AHA/ASHI certified courses & leads fire courses for the ELS Team in PA. He also holds an Associate Degree in Fire Science.

Stacy Gerstel

Stacy Gerstel is a graduate from Chatham University, having received a BS in Biology in 2009. She is currently working towards obtaining her Masters at the University of Pittsburgh in Health and Physical Activity, with a focus on chronic disease. Stacy was born into a family of first responders, and has been involved in the service herself since 2012. She has co-instructed CPR/First Aid classes at the undergraduate university level in Pittsburgh for two years and strives to continue to expand the knowledge of CPR/AED/First aid within the community as it is an important factor for early life saving interventions.

Stacy’s full time job entails emergency medicine research at the University of Pittsburgh, where there is a focus on pre-hospital provider safety, as well as out-of-hospital and in-hospital patient care. She intends to obtain her nursing degree post-Master’s degree with the plans of becoming a nurse specialist, with a focus on cardiovascular disease.