Top TMH candidate will return to Craig next week for second round of interviews

Smolik: Hopefully we can bring it home next week

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“I’m really excited and happy I made it to this part of the process. Hopefully we can bring it home next week.”

Chris Smolik, a candidate for The Memorial Hospital in Craig’s chief executive officer vacancy, about his upcoming return visit to Craig.

— Chris Smolik, a finalist for The Memorial Hospital in Craig’s vacant chief executive officer position, will return to Craig next week for a second round of interviews.

Residents will have an opportunity to meet Smolik from 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 16 during a community forum in the hospital’s conference rooms.

“I’m really excited and happy I made it to this part of the process,” Smolik said Tuesday. “Hopefully we can bring it home next week.”

Smolik, 52, has served in administrative roles at hospitals since 1985. His most recent position was as CEO of the Riverton Memorial Hospital in Riverton, Wyo., a job he held from 2006 until last January.

After a banner year for that hospital, Smolik said he told Riverton Memorial’s holding company, LifePoint Hospitals, it was time for him to move on to a new project. LifePoint, however, didn’t have any CEO openings in its network.

After interviewing for a couple of chief operating officer positions, Smolik decided to test the market outside of LifePoint’s network.

“I’m a CEO and that’s where I need to be,” Smolik said. “It was a gentle separation and there is no ill will. I’m not an individual that jumps around a lot. I average seven years with a facility and I’m kind of proud of that.”

Smolik is excited about his upcoming return to Craig, which was scheduled in conjunction with National Hospital Week. He expects the weeklong celebration will provide ample opportunities to interact with staff, but he also has requested time to get to know the Craig community.

“Without seeing it, Craig sounded like another Riverton,” Smolik said. “I’ve been active in Rotary and the local Lions Club and I’m looking forward to meeting people in those organizations as well.”

Although Smolik has enjoyed his time off of work, saying it was about a year and a half before he last took a vacation, he’s hoping next week’s visit goes well so he can get back to doing what he loves.

He also said he’s excited about the possibility of working for TMH.

“I spent a lot of time early on in my career at urban hospitals and made the transition to Riverton on purpose,” Smolik said. “I wanted to work at a rural facility where you get to know the people personally.”

“The Craig facility is a jewel and you could tell the staff takes a lot of pride in it. The facility is so spotless it was almost mind numbing. It is a gorgeous hospital.”

Smolik’s visit could bring the TMH Board of Trustees’ long search for a new chief executive to a close.

With the support of its management company, Quorum Health Resources, the TMH board began its CEO search in January following the resignation of former CEO George Rohrich.

Though Quorum officials were initially hesitant about the board’s desire to involve as many hospital stakeholders and community members as possible in the process, Mike Mullins, a regional vice president for Quorum, said that input provided him with exactly the right information to identify the most appropriate candidates for the job.

“In February I met with the hospital’s board members, medical staff and leadership to gather information about the skills and abilities they were looking for in a CEO,” Mullins said in a TMH news release. “Their feedback gave me the direction I needed to find top-notch candidates.”

Joe Moylan can be reached at 970-875-1794 or jmoylan@CraigDailyPress.com

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