In an era that might seem now like ancient history, David Jones was surfing the mighty Web wave.
As vice president of human resources for the online brokerage firm Ameritrade, Jones oversaw the hiring of more than 2,000 employees in two years. At one point his personal stake in the firm reached a value in the seven figures. For Jones, the entire experience was "very intoxicating."
Although it may not be as euphoria-producing as an Internet company at the height of the dot-com boom, the healthcare industry is where Jones really thrives.
"At Ameritrade the goal was to get rich and make others rich," Jones says. "That's nice but shallow."
What isn't shallow, he says, is "being part of a healing ministry, an organization with a deep sense of purpose." After working two years at Ameritrade, Jones last year returned to just that kind of organization-a hospital, where he has spent the bulk of his career as a human resources professional.
Jones, 39, received his bachelor's degree in psychology from West Virginia University in 1984, and earned a master's degree in industrial and labor relations in 1995. He had 12 years of experience working in hospital and healthcare system personnel departments before his stint at Ameritrade. He is now vice president of human resources for Bon Secours Health System, a Marriottsville, Md.-based Catholic system with 25 acute-care hospitals in nine states and some 30,000 employees.
"David represents a model for the continued advancement of the role and importance of human resources executives in healthcare," says Christopher Carney, Bon Secours' chief executive officer. "We feel very fortunate to have him as part of our team."
So have several other hospitals from around the country. At the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where Jones spent four years as executive director of human resources, he was instrumental in transforming the medical center from an academic enterprise to a strategy-focused business emphasizing process improvement and customer service.
Jones has become known as a change agent for his ability to implement cultural change in hospitals and healthcare systems that often operate under what he calls the "1,000 points of veto" management method.
"Each assignment he has taken has brought an increasing degree of organizational change and complexity that has helped David hone his skills to a level that fits perfectly with the demands of our dynamic health ministry," Carney says.
His experience at Ameritrade, Jones says, helped him view human resources as a major business driver, which is something hospitals often fail to do.