John Ringdahl's EMS career began at age 19. He was born and raised on a family farm near Milnor, North Dakota. He stayed on the farm for a couple of years after graduating in 1956 and then enrolled in a college at Valley City, ND.
His desire to do ambulance work began at an early age. All through his years on the farm, he helped his father and brothers exhibit livestock at fairs in three states. While at the State Fair in Fargo, ND, he recalls seeing the Ivers Ambulance Service, with their shiny white Cadillac, the crew of college fellows dressed in black slacks, black shoes with white shirts and ties and a barber-style smock, looking real sharp. He decided then and there that's what he wanted to do.
In 1956 while at college, he worked for the Hub Peterson Funeral Home and Ambulance Service as an ambulance attendant, assisting with funeral work and janitorial/maintenance services. After three quarters of college, he decided it wasn't for him, so he and a good friend went to California to see what might develop. John landed a job with Fields Ambulance Service in Sunnyvale California, 50 miles south of San Francisco. He worked there during the winter months and returned to North Dakota to help on the farm each summer. He met a real cute gal from Britton, SD and followed her to Minneapolis, MN where she worked. They married in 1964 while John worked for Smith Ambulance service in Minneapolis.
In July of 1967, John learned that Fergus Falls, MN was in need of an ambulance operator. After a few meetings with city and county officials, a contract was entered into and he assumed the ambulance duties on October 1, 1967. His first two units were a 1959 Cadillac and a 1958 DeSoto. His service made 35-50 calls per month. Finding himself with a lot of downtime, John and his full-time tech started converting a Chevy Suburban into an ambulance. The business grew over the following years. In 1974, John started conversions on Dodge and Ford vans.
In 1977, Barret Wicklund came to work as an ambulance attendant full time. Barret had great abilities and skill and joined John in forming Ringdahl & Co. Inc., building and converting ambulances.
In 2000, John sold his shares of the ambulance building company to Barret, who renamed the company, Premier Specialty Vehicles.
Throughout his long and successful career, John has been involved in EMS services in Crookston, Wadena, Pelican Rapids, Fergus Falls, and Moorhead, MN and Dickinson, Jamestown and Lisbon, ND.
John and Enid Ringdahl, the founders of Ringdahl EMS