A Canby native and longtime aviator has been selected to lead Life Flight Network, the Aurora State Airport-based nonprofit that is the largest provider of air ambulance and medical transport services in the United States, serving communities in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West.
Having most recently served as Life Flight’s interim chief executive officer, Ben Clayton is a highly regarded aviation safety and operations leader and was selected from a large field of candidates following a robust national search and interview process led by the network’s board of directors.
Since joining Life Flight Network in 2015, Clayton has served the organization in a variety of operational and safety leadership roles, including chief operating officer and interim CEO.
In those roles, Clayton led the organization through the extraordinary challenges and uncertainty presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, guiding the restructuring of several departments, while creating sustainable operational efficiencies.
Additionally, he oversaw the opening of new Life Flight Network bases in Salem, Oregon, and in Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
“We are fortunate to have Ben’s expertise and experience on our team as we work to increase our capacity to meet the region’s growing need for critical medical transport,” said Dr. Tom Lorish, chief executive of outreach and strategic affiliation for Providence Health and Services and the Life Flight Network board chair.
“Ben is a proven leader and has helped Life Flight Network provide life-saving air medical resources to our communities during challenging times, while also ensuring we consistently meet the highest standards of safety and quality.”
Prior to joining Life Flight Network, Clayton served as a helicopter pilot and aviation safety officer in the United States Marine Corps, participating in multiple land and ship-based deployments including to Iraq and several countries in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia.
He trained extensively in complex operations and in aviation safety, Life Flight said in the announcement.
Clayton came to Life Flight Network as a helicopter pilot transporting ill and injured patients, and quickly moved into an aviation training role. Clayton was promoted to director of safety and risk management before becoming the organization’s chief safety officer.
His success in that role led to him being named COO in June 2020.
“I have dedicated my career to ensuring the safety and health of the organizations I’ve worked for and the people they serve,” said Clayton. “It’s been an honor to serve the communities in this region for the past seven years, and I look forward to continuing to expand their access to quality healthcare in my new role.”
Clayton grew up in Canby and graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in general science. He serves on the boards of directors for both the Association of Air Medical Services and the Air Medical Operators Association.
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