Aspen Valley Hospital CEO resigns

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Dan Bonk

Dan Bonk announced his resignation Monday from Aspen Valley Hospital, two years after he joined the organization as its chief executive officer.

Bonk said he was leaving to spend more time with his family, who lives in Wisconsin. He tendered his resignation letter to the hospital’s board of directors Saturday; he announced his exit to the staff Monday.

The decision was difficult, he said.

“I hate to do this to the hospital,” Bonk said. “We’ve got so many great things going on here, but I have to go back there to be with my son and my wife.”

Bonk’s son, who attended Aspen High School in fall 2014, returned to his home state the next semester. He’s on track to graduate from high school this spring. Bonk also has a daughter who is a sophomore in college. His wife also lives in Wisconsin with their son.

“It’s just a matter of being with them through the challenges with my family and indirect family,” Bonk said. “There is stuff that needs to be resolved that I just cannot do here.”

Bonk, who said he doesn’t have a job lined up in Wisconsin, said his resignation came as “a shock to a lot of people here.”

“I hate that for the organization because there are so many great things going on here,” he said. “I don’t want my leaving to slow anything down or to be perceived as something it’s not.”

Meanwhile, the hospital board of directors will meet privately Friday to discuss plans for an interim CEO, said Dr. Barry Mink, who sits on the board. Finding a permanent CEO, which has a salary range of $250,000 to $300,000 and benefits, will take six months to a year, Mink said.

“The way it usually works is we’ll form a search committee with community leaders and hospital leaders, and we’ll have a firm that head hunts and goes out and looks for CEOs who are looking for a new position,” he said.

Bonk said he plans to stay with the hospital for about another month and help consult with the transition.

“We expect a smooth transition,” Mink said, adding the board’s goal is to bring on an interim CEO “fairly quickly.”

The last interim CEO at the hospital was John Sarpa, who resigned from his board-member post to assume the role. Sarpa took the temporary place of David Ressler, who resigned after nine years in April 2013. Sarpa took the interim job one month later; Bonk accepted the job that October and joined the hospital in January 2014.

Bonk stepped into a hospital that was in the midst of a facility expansion and a fall-out with its chief surgeon, Dr. Bill Rodman.

Rodman, who had an exclusive-provider contract to oversee surgical services since 1993, and the hospital cut ties that year. The hospital then brought Surgical Services of Colorado, which currently has two surgeons at the hospital.

Bonk also played a key role in having the hospital hire the orthopedic surgeons who joined OrthoAspen, which opened last week. Previously, they had worked at Aspen Orthopaedics and Associates, which dissolved last year.

The hospital also is in its third phase of expansion and last year announced its new medical-records software, Epic Systems Corp., which is run through UCHealth in Denver.

The hospital also received several honors in the past year, including Medicare giving it a five-star rating and Avatar Solutions naming it “best performer, overall rating” among small hospitals.

“We’ve won several awards, and the hospital has had very good morale,” Mink said. “There’s a high confidence now in how the hospital is performing in the community.”


Genstar’s Jean-Pierre Conte sued in Aspen by ex-girlfriend Hillary Thomas

The former girlfriend of Jean-Pierre Conte, the chairman and managing director of the private equity firm Genstar Capital, filed suit Thursday in Aspen claiming that Conte committed assault, battery, and violated the terms of a 2021 separation agreement. Hillary Thomas claims in her lawsuit that during her more than nine years with Conte, she helped parent his four children and her two children “whom they raised in a blended family.”

See more