Chris Smolik, a finalist for The Memorial Hospital in Craig's chief executive officer vacancy, met with community members Thursday at the hospital. Smolik talked about his management style with an emphasis on the importance of transparency, teamwork and community involvement in the rural health care industry.

Photo by Joe Moylan

Chris Smolik, a finalist for The Memorial Hospital in Craig's chief executive officer vacancy, met with community members Thursday at the hospital. Smolik talked about his management style with an emphasis on the importance of transparency, teamwork and community involvement in the rural health care industry.

Hospital CEO candidate meets Craig community at TMH

Hospital CEO candidate meets Craig community at TMH

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Quotable...

“They looked at me as though I had three heads, but everyone who works at this hospital is a caregiver on some level. This is a calling and it takes a team to make this work.”

— Chris Smolik, a finalist for The Memorial Hospital in Craig’s chief executive officer vacancy, about the role every staff member at the hospital plays in providing quality health care.

— Words like “transparency” and “teamwork” are too often used by politicians to create buzz, Chris Smolik said Thursday, but they’re also basic professional philosophies upon which he has built a successful career in health care.

On Thursday, Smolik, 52, the top finalist for the chief executive officer position at The Memorial Hospital in Craig, met with more than 25 community members and outlined his management style and the skills he thinks he can bring to Craig.

Smolik was introduced at the community forum by Mike Mullins, a regional vice president for TMH’s management company Quorum Health Resources. Mullins participated in the interview process by identifying for the TMH Board of Trustees who he thought were the top five or six candidates.

“It just clicked for me over the course of several hours of talking to Chris in person and over the phone,” Mullins told the audience. “I thought he was the total package. He’s knowledgeable about the health care business and he believes in being a good community representative.”

Although Smolik admitted transparency became an overblown theme during the latest presidential election, he cited a National Football League coaching legend to illustrate the importance of being open and honest with the community he aims to serve.

“Bill Parcels once said, ‘You are what your record says you are,’” Smolik said. “Advertising is not how I believe you build a reputation in the community, it’s about word of mouth.

“It’s about making sure grandma had a good experience at the hospital and convincing her to tell as many people about us as she can.”

But Smolik also emphasized the importance of teamwork and leading by example. Throughout his career Smolik has twice a month put on scrubs and worked side by side with hospital staff members doing everything from scrubbing toilets to helping clinicians with over-served patients.

He admitted that this week he felt as if he caught hospital engineers off guard when he thanked them for the caregiving work they do.

“They looked at me as though I had three heads, but everyone who works at this hospital is a caregiver on some level,” Smolik said. “This is a calling and it takes a team to make this work. You may not physically touch the patient, but making sure the hospital has power, heat and water are just as essential to the caregiving process.”

Today, the TMH Board will host a meeting about Smolik where the conversation likely will include whether to extend him a formal job offer.

Some residents who attended the meeting were impressed with what they heard from the CEO finalist and are looking forward to hearing the board’s decision.

“My first impression is a good one,” Craig Mayor Terry Carwile said. Smolik “has a clear view of what he wants to accomplish and really wants to integrate himself into the community. He’s a team player and wants to foster an environment where everybody communicates and everyone contributes.”

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

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