By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Chase County Community Hospital (CCCH) will welcome a new chief executive officer come July 14. Last week, Steve Lewis of Atlantic, Iowa signed a three-year contract to head up the hospital.
Interim CEO Gary Bieganski felt really good about the selection of Lewis, who was the board’s first pick.
“He’s going to be excellent,” he said.
Lewis, a native of Superior, brings a wide range of medical experience to the position.
He began his career in 1979 as a lab tech in Lincoln for two years and then spent the next 25 years at Tri-County Hospital in Lexington. He managed the lab for 13 years and was director of administrative services for 12.
Since 2006, he’s served as chief financial officer and one of five assistant administrators at Cass County Hospital in Atlantic, a county-seat city of 8,000.
He said he and his wife, Shirley, are “excited to come out there.”
Lewis said Tuesday he was especially impressed with the dedication of the staff he met during his interview here.
“They are ready to take the organization to the next level,” he said.
High on Lewis’ agenda will be doctor recruitment. He said there’s a definite need to bolster the medical staff. Once that’s in order, he said the board can begin looking at facility development.
During his tenure in Atlantic, the hospital completed a $23.5 million addition and renovation project. Bieganski said Lewis’ experience with that project will be a plus for CCCH.
Field narrowed from 42
Bieganski said they received 42 applications for the opening. He said the administrative council at the hospital, which includes numerous department heads, narrowed the field to 10 and later to six.
Of those six, Bieganski said they had three top-notch finalists. Before the final selection process, two of those finalists withdrew.
He said one finalist felt the position was a lateral move while another got an offer he couldn’t refuse from the hospital where he was currently employed.
Bieganski said Lewis ranked as their top candidate regardless of the decision of the other two to withdraw.
Lewis takes active role
Lewis holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and is a Fellow in the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
In addition to his career involvement, Lewis has also been active in his community and church.
While in Lexington, he participated in the Dawson County Leadership Program and was appointed to the Nebraska State College Board, serving as its president for two years.
Incidentally, Bieganski succeeded Lewis on the board after he moved to Iowa.
In Atlantic, he is a member of the county/city economic development board and is currently vice-president.
He is also active in his church, serving as an elder and is currently church treasurer. He has also taught Sunday School and does lay speaking.
He and Shirley have two grown sons.
Nathan and his wife, Julie, have a three-month old daughter and live in Scottsbluff where he serves as regional director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Bryan and wife, Elizabeth, live in Sacramento, Calif., where he is a web designer and she works for Union Pacific Railroad.
Shirley is the former city clerk in Lexington and presently works as the administrative assistant for the Southwest District of the Iowa United Methodist Church Conference.