Dave Ressler welcomed back to Aspen Valley Hospital
Deborah Breen, President & CEO Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation
When Dan Bonk resigned in January of this year after two years with Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) as its CEO, it wasn’t long before several members on the AVH Board contacted former CEO Dave Ressler to ask him to consider returning to the helm. Dave had been the CEO at AVH from 2004 to 2013, and during his tenure AVH made significant strides in every area across-the-board. Improvements in quality, facilities, staffing, community relations and medical expertise were all the hallmarks of Dave’s time at AVH.
Several members of the community have asked me why is he returning — and more importantly, why he left in the first place. Those are good questions and I had an opportunity to sit and explore them with Dave. Here is how he responded: “When I left the hospital, it was to pursue new professional learning opportunities for me, and also life experiences for our then high school aged-kids, and not at all because we were no longer happy in Aspen. We loved the community; my wife loved teaching at the elementary school, and I had never worked with a more caring and dedicated team of professionals than I did at AVH. It was extremely difficult for us to leave, despite these opportunities. In January 2016, after Dan left I received some inquiries from board members and others asking if I would consider returning. At first, the timing did not work for my family or with respect to my job. However, by July, when I was again contacted by the recruiter, I was in a position to consider coming back. My kids have or are graduating and headed off to college, and I felt better about transitioning out of my current position. Again, this was a family decision, and one that we were extremely enthusiastic about. After we decided to throw my hat in the ring and the discussions began in earnest, everything has just felt right.”
My next question to Dave was regarding his thoughts on his short- and long-term strategic vision for the organization. He gave this response: “When I first arrived at AVH in 2004, we were in pretty dire financial shape. Facilities were not aligned with the kind of care we delivered, and community confidence was quite low. However, the board and our executive team were deliberate and strategic; first focusing on our operations, followed by strengthening relationships, stabilizing our financial position, and then assessing our facility and community needs. Stepping back into the fold, I can see that the board’s vision for the future has endured and that quality care has remained the highest priority for all concerned. My short-term plans are to again assess the overall landscape, prioritize the organizational objectives and work with the board, management team and physician leadership to ensure we are true to our mission of delivering extraordinary healthcare in an environment of excellence, compassion and trust. Long- term, we at AVH have to be cognizant of the ‘perfect storm’ that is brewing in this ever-changing and challenging healthcare environment and ensure that we will be positioned to weather that storm and continue to deliver on top-quality care.”
I am very excited to welcome Dave back. I know that a new era of growth is once again before us. We will continue to look for opportunities to share our hospital’s story, inspire our community, and provide the best care possible to the thousands of patients who rely on us for care each and every year.
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