For James Wuellner, chief financial officer of Holy Family Health Care System and this year's runner-up for the Cain Brothers Award, 1997 was a busy year.
Wuellner, 44, helped the 183-bed hospital system based in Des Plaines, Ill., gain access to $16 million in capital through an innovative financing plan. The capital will be used to make needed infrastructure changes, he says.
Wuellner also volunteered to supervise the construction of a second medical office building. The $11.5 million, 57,000-square-foot facility is scheduled for completion in September 1998.
The two projects help set the stage for Holy Family's future growth, Wuellner says. "I had a couple of opportunities to substantially change the outlook and presence of Holy Family Medical Center," he says. "The hospital really needed these two things to move ahead."
Wuellner has been Holy Family CFO since May 1994. That year the hospital reported a $2.5 million loss on revenues of $63 million. The following year, Holy Family posted net income of $2.4 million on revenues of $66 million, and last year it reported net income of $260,000 on revenues of $66.4 million.
The hospital is back in the black thanks to Wuellner's cost-saving strategies, such as a reduction in insurance premiums and the bond refinancing that will pare the hospital's interest expenses.
In addition to the traditional CFO duties, Wuellner is acting chief operating officer for the system's home-care and occupational health departments.
Wuellner credits much of his success as CFO to his ability to act as an "integrator" of ideas. "I bring all sorts of parties to the table and find a way to meld their points of view and get to the end," he says.