Describe your day-to-day responsibility and a typical day.
In its heyday this facility was a 425-bed hospital. Two years ago we began shutting down the hospital and transitioning to an ambulatory care campus. Our team was responsible for closing several buildings on the campus in an orderly manner and then securing them. Our ambulatory campus provides urgent care and imaging services, and we are currently in the process of expanding and renovating those spaces so that our caregivers can better deliver patient care and carry out their mission.
In my role every day is different, but I usually start out my day the same way. I begin with an early call with my office manager before I even reach the office. She lets me know about any issues that may have come up overnight or are out of the ordinary for that day. If there are some new issues that need urgent attention, I will go ahead and call members of my team and start delegating tasks from my phone during my drive in. When I arrive on campus, I first check in with the power plant to be sure that all our climate control systems such as boilers and chillers are online and functioning properly. After that systems check I talk to each of my team members to discuss their plan for the day, assuring everyone is on the same page. My background is as an electrician and licensed steam engineer, so I am usually deeply involved in those systems. As a leader my main job is to communicate clearly, to my staff, to site leadership, and to those submitting work orders. As requests come in throughout the day, I route them to our office manager or our call center to create work orders so we can then communicate an expected timeline for completion back to the customer.
How long have you worked at the facility and how did you arrive in your role as Manager?
I’ve worked at this facility for 43 years. In the 70’s I was working in construction and saw an ad for an electrician here at what was then the hospital. I came in as a journeyman electrician then got my master’s electrical license and moved up to master electrician. About 10 years ago there was an opening for a manager, and I was presented with the opportunity for promotion, and we joined Medxcel five years ago. It’s always challenging for someone to move out of the ranks into management; suddenly you’re no longer a peer, you’re the boss of your former teammates. I’ve received leadership training and support as I moved into a leadership position. We start every meeting with prayer, and I always give team members time to voice their concerns each day so we can discuss them as a group. I pray for my team every day and try to compliment and reassure them. When needed I provide correction and guidance if anyone is out of line with regards to policies or attitude. Our motto is “our customer is always right”. We never argue with the customer, we try to educate them on what may be involved on our end when they make a request and if needed those discussions are escalated up to me. We’ve been very successful here and have a great relationship with our customer. Since the hospital started shutting down, we have one wing now dedicated to 18 hospice beds. We give special attention to the hospice, knowing what those patients and their families are going through. We take care of the patients and staff, trying to keep them as upbeat and comfortable as possible. We don’t want them to have to worry about the building or the climate control when they are facing much bigger issues.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is receiving positive feedback and thanks from the customer when we complete a job satisfactorily. Knowing that our customers are happy and satisfied is a great reward. Because we’re in a healthcare setting and I am a deacon at my church, I enjoy the opportunity to minister to people in need as I go through my day. In our setting there are a lot of hurting people. I am often invited to join in prayer and comfort others as I move throughout the site. After 43 years I have built a lot of relationships. I feel that we are here to treat people the way I would want to be treated if our roles were reversed, whether its hospital staff, visitors, patients, or their families.
Which of Medxcel’s Core Values is most important to you and why?
Dedication, because serving our customers is our number one goal. I have been dedicated to this campus for 43 years and our goal every day is that our customers are happy with the results of our work. We are here to roll up our sleeves and go above and beyond to do whatever needs to be done to make our patients and staff happy and comfortable.
Is there a special event that stands out in your mind when you look back on your 43 years on the job?
A few years ago a tornado touched down on our campus. It blew out a bunch of windows in the nursing home facility and the power was off. Regulatory requires emergency backup services on site to provide continuous heat in case of a power outage in cold weather, but there are no similar climate control requirements around air conditioning. It was summer so when the power went out the air conditioner was off, and the air handlers quit running in the nursing home. The power company was busy with outages throughout the area, so the decision was made to begin relocating the patients from the nursing facility due to the heat. I analyzed the situation and decided that we should try to disconnect our winter backups systems from the generator and try to hook up the summer systems including air conditioning. I went over there and in the dark I disconnected systems and ran new wires and cross connected some of our summer systems and sure enough, we were able to get the backup generator going to provide air cooling so that our customer did not have to relocate the patients from the facility. The power came back on about 12 hours later and I am proud of how our team went above and beyond to try something unproven that provided patient care in a time of need.
Have you learned anything unexpected during your career?
I’ve been trained as an electrician, an engineer, and a manger, but what I’ve learned most about during my time here is that down deep people are all alike. My job has allowed me to cross racial barriers and every other kind of barrier that society has out there. During my time here we’ve treated entertainers, movie stars, singers, people from every walk of life. I’ve rubbed elbows with the famous and learned that they’re just like me, we just took a different path in life. I’m also a photographer and videographer so I’m often asked to take photos and videos here; that is another way I’ve gotten to know people. We have held big galas here, and I’ve been asked to do the photography. I’ve met a lot of big stars like the Temptations, the Miracles, James Brown and Ashlee Simpson. And I’ve learned that we all have a lot in common. It’s important to always have an open mind and not judge people. Pre-judging things can really keep you from doing your best and learning from others.
If someone asked you if they should consider working for Medxcel, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that Medxcel is a great place to work and has a lot of opportunities for growth. I’ve been treated very well here. I’m a black person and I’m pleased to say that I’ve never felt like I was up against any biases. As far as opportunities, they are endless. They offer courses and training from Medxcel University and my Learning and readily share knowledge throughout the system and our region. You’ll never be caught off guard working for Medxcel, they will make sure you’re always prepared and fully supported.
I do want to say that I couldn’t have been successful without my tremendous staff; I’m only as good as my team. We have a dynamic, energetic office manager who keeps us organized and working hard and we have great associates with a lot of experience and great attitudes. We have a great working relationship and look out for one another so that we can give our best to our customer each day.