“You can do anything you set your mind to, so don’t doubt yourself and always push yourself.” These are the words of wisdom Anna Vargas lives by daily that helped to push her to start her own business, Vitalis, a medical transport company serving the Rio Grande Valley.
Right after college, Vargas started working as a marketer for a medical transport business that her sister owned. She was responsible for helping the company reach as many potential clients as possible. The manager at the time took Vargas under her wing and taught her all about the business.
“While I was there, I pretty much learned the ropes,” Vargas said. “I started paying attention to all of the facets involved in the company and the operation of it. At that point my husband said ‘Hey, why don’t you open up your own business?’”
At first she was surprised at the idea, and a little reluctant. Vargas says she felt like she was too new at it all. Ultimately, it was her husband’s support as well as her own experience that empowered her to actually give it a try. “He [her husband] just kind of said, ‘here’s the money, figure it out,’” Vargas said. “So I started doing research and studying, and sure enough, a year later, Vitalis was born.”
Technically, she and her sister are now competitors, but they each target a different aspect of the industry. Vargas focuses on private clients while her sister deals with medical facilities that need transport. “So we don’t really get in each other’s way,” Vargas said, laughing.
Vargas started Vitalis Medical Transport with one ambulance, two medics, and herself. She has since grown the business to 10 vehicles and 25 employees. Her company is fulfilling a definite need here in the Rio Grande Valley. Her non-emergency ambulance transport service supports patients in a wide variety of situations.
“People don’t often think about the elderly and pediatric patients that require transport on a stretcher because they cannot tolerate a wheelchair, or cannot get in or out of bed on their own because of their condition,” Vargas said. They require the assistance of two medically trained personnel to come in and transfer them onto the stretcher and transport them to a treatment session, doctor appointment, or non-emergency hospital visit. The staff at Vitalis is trained to respond to any emergencies if one occurs during a transport.
Vitalis is there to support the community, especially during difficult situations. “Some people, family caregivers, might not know that there is someone they can call and they don’t have to struggle alone when their loved-one needs transport,” Vargas said. Most of their clients need to be picked up as well as dropped off at their destination.
Vargas feels driven to help her community, and through her entrepreneurship, she has created a company that is making a difference in the quality of her customer’s lives. Medical transport has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, yet she is one of the few women who have opened this type of business in the area.
She now wants to encourage other women to feel empowered. “You can make a change, you can make a difference,” she said. Vargas is a firm believer in setting goals, and going out there and accomplishing them. After realizing she could create a successful business, Vargas set a new goal and is in the process of getting another venture off the ground. Soon, her entrepreneurial spirit will be the driving force behind two successful local business.
“I’m no different than any other Latina, born and raised here,” Vargas said.