Describe your responsibilities.
I’m responsible for the teams at Medxcel that cover emergency management, environment of care, and safety. Since those are really three different areas let me break each one down briefly. Emergency management means we are there for customers and their patients during the greatest times of need. Those times may include preparing for disasters such as snowstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and even pandemics. During a disaster it is critical that our hospitals remain operational and able to serve their communities. For Medxcel, emergency management ensures that we have plans in place to allow us to respond to, work through, and then recover from any type of disaster from a short-term power outage to a years-long pandemic.
Environment of care means that we are responsible for what I like to call the “four walls”, everything inside the hospital building whether it’s heating systems or floors or elevators, even the equipment and the patient rooms. So with environment of care, we bring together multiple parties within the hospital through an environment of care committee. The committee includes everyone from leaders to clinicians to biomed technicians to facilities management, security, and human resources to ensure that we create an environment that is safe for our patients, staff, and visitors. Our team rounds through the hospital, making sure that everything is functioning properly and that there aren’t any expired supplies.
Safety sounds self-explanatory but it’s a term that has many aspects covering the overall safety of our patients, staff, and visitors. At Medxcel, we have a fire safety team who is responsible for all our fire alarm and extinguishment systems. We also have a life safety team that is responsible for the fire and smoke barriers within hospitals such as fireproof doors and walls that prevent fire and smoke from spreading for several hours, allowing time to extinguish a fire or evacuate patients if necessary. Our safety team develops programs to keep our associates and hospital staff safe when it comes to the four major causes of injury in healthcare. Those are slips trips and falls, needle stick injuries, patient mobility (when staff get injured while moving patients) and workplace violence. It’s our job to identify causes of those safety issues and then we work to reduce them, through training or change of equipment.
How would you describe the culture at Medxcel?
I love this question because culture can be a misunderstood and sometimes overused word. There's the culture of our planet, the culture of our nation, and a culture within our state, city, and local community. There’s also our family culture and our heritage. And so when you ask somebody, what’s the culture at your company, which one are you talking about? I like to use the scientific definition of culture and culture in a laboratory is a place where things can grow. I love that description because to me, the culture of Medxcel is that no matter what you do or what your passion is, you have an opportunity to grow. We've had people that worked in landscaping that are now safety officers. We have safety officers that are now facility directors, and that's the greatest thing about our organization. I always worried in my career that I would be stuck in a job where I had to do the same thing forever and then ten years down the line I’d ask myself if this is what I really want to do. And I think we provide that platform of growth across Medxcel so that we give you the culture, the growth opportunity, and freedom to pursue what you're passionate about.
How did you become interested in a career in safety and emergency management?
I describe my career as being like a buffet. I’ve had varied interests over my career but when I graduated from high school, I was very interested in working in healthcare. As a teen I became one of the youngest EMTs then paramedics in the state of Pennsylvania, but I also felt a calling to serve in the military. My father and all his brothers had served, and I felt I needed some discipline in my life. So when I graduated from high school, I joined the Marine Corps and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I loved the camaraderie. I served in the infantry and military police, and later in my military career I moved into the intelligence field as an interrogator and human intelligence collector. Working with people and discovering who they are has always been interesting to me. When I left the military I worked in public safety agencies, then in healthcare doing emergency management work and doing outreach to emergency medical services. Then one day I got a call from Medxcel saying they wanted to start an emergency management program, so I interviewed and joined, and brought everything from my background, that buffet to the job to build these programs.
What would you say your typical day is like?
When I was in the military, I developed a very good routine and routines are great for me. But we live in an un-routine world, especially since the pandemic began. It’s been important to learn to be flexible and to adjust to whatever is happening, but I like to start my day with a routine when I can. I wake up to my internal alarm clock at 5:30 each morning no matter where I am in the world. I check the news and my emails and then I begin my day. I usually have a lot of meetings to attend, and I really enjoy the fact that my teams and I interact so much with our customer partners. I probably spend about half of my time in customer meetings and then I have some time for those unusual events that come up and need to be addressed. For me it’s key each day to be in communication with the leaders within our safety and emergency management teams to make sure they’re okay, and that they have all the tools they need, then I trust my teams to get things done.
How do your teams support the communities we serve?
When disasters hit, the entire community is under duress along with the health systems we support. When those disasters hit, we really shine. During the ice storm in Texas in 2021, most of our associates lost power to their homes. They and their families were cold. And those associates took care of their families and then they came to work to help take care of the community. Medxcel helps to provide for our associates so they can serve their communities. After Hurricane Irma hit Florida, we purchased 15 generators so our associates would have power at their homes because they didn’t want to evacuate because they saw that they were needed at work to serve their community and the health system. I’m so proud to support our associates, the kind of people who say, “We’re in a rough situation and I need to take care of my family, and then I’m going to make sure I can get to work and help take care of our patients and associates and our community.” That’s what makes Medxcel so special.
How do you support and empower your team members in their jobs each day?
The key to being a leader is having trust in your team. I learned about leadership during my time in the military. When you’re in a military unit, your commander knows how far you can be pushed and where your talents and vulnerabilities lie. And that applies in the civilian world as well. It’s important to take a year or two to get to know your team and understand their limits and more importantly, their strengths, and then you learn to trust and empower your team members to do the jobs they were hired to do. This past year, I took a two-week vacation and for the first time in my career I put an out of office response on my email and I’ve never been able to do that before. It was so relaxing because I have total trust in my team, and I knew that they could handle anything that might happen while I was out. When I came back from vacation, I told a friend of mine that the sign of a great leader is a leader that makes themselves useful, not needed. Ideally your teams can manage without you and that gives you time to focus on other things and provides your team members with opportunities to grow and to advance their careers.
What is the best part of your job?
There are three “best parts” of my job that I think about every day. The first is people, the people across Medxcel and our customer sites who are all wonderful people to work with. The second thing is how much we are valued by our customers, patients, and communities. During disasters we rely on everybody; communications, call center, finance, supply chain, literally every department and they all understand that it’s a real priority when we call. They offer to help and get things done quickly and with a smile on their face. The third thing I love is being part of an organization that’s the national leader in what we do which is facilities management. Everyone wants to be on the best team, and we are that best team. We rank very highly from the perspective of our customers as well as from our own associates. It’s such a blessing to me to be a part of such a great team.
Which of our core values do you feel is most important to you and your role and why?
You know, the thing I love about working for Medxcel is that one of our core values is service of the poor. It's one thing to write a check and put it in the basket when you're in church or mail it in an envelope for people that are in need. That's great, and organizations need that money. But we have so much talent on our team, so it’s wonderful that we’re able to go out and serve in our communities whether it's volunteering with the Red Cross or another organization, or helping post-disaster. Medxcel is focused on serving the poor and vulnerable and that’s so important to me.
What would you tell someone who asks you if you recommend working at Medxcel?
People ask me that all the time and I tell them, “If it’s a good fit for you, there are great opportunities here.” Not every person is meant to work at Medxcel or any other organization, it needs to be a good fit. But if it is, Medxcel will provide you with one of the greatest opportunities you’ve ever had. If you’re a hard worker, you care about people, you are looking for a family-oriented company, and you recognize your role in helping serve the poor and vulnerable, then Medxcel might be the best place for you to build a career.