Versatility is a hallmark of Brian Dieter. The vice president and chief financial officer of Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa, wears enough hats to fill a wide rack. The 220-bed municipal hospital in central Iowa counts on that versatility as well as his commitment. Besides his CFO duties, he also serves as chief information officer and holds line management responsibility for the facilities, construction and housekeeping departments.
"For someone so young, he has accomplished so much in a variety of different venues in his career. He hasn't done just one thing," notes Kimberly Russel, Greeley's president and chief executive officer.
Before joining the hospital in 1999, Dieter held three posts of increasing responsibility during 10 years with Ancilla Systems. Previously, he worked for four years in public accounting for Ernst & Young as an auditor specializing in healthcare.
Dieter says he likes Greeley's flexible organization chart, which allows him to apply previous experience to new opportunities. He is responsible for many key projects, within and outside of his role as CFO, such as:
* Selection of a much-needed new computer system, which will provide clinical functionality when it goes live Nov. 1.
* Completion, on time and within budget, of a two-year, $14 million construction project for a four-story addition.
* The hospital's three-year strategic plan.
* A new investment portfolio taking advantage of a 2000 change in state law that allows municipal hospitals to engage in all manner of investments, instead of only government agency obligations.
In these pursuits, Dieter keeps an open ear and enjoys healthy debate. He finds valuable ideas from people at all levels in the organization. His method typically involves meeting with every constituency before settling on a plan of action.
"You need to listen and extract what people really need. This has served me well. The ability to listen is important. After that, you fall back on your training and discipline to get the job done," Dieter says. "I like a good debate and to have meaningful conversation on topics. We have a great environment for being able to challenge each other and get better solutions because of that."
According to Russel, he displays a much wider perspective than the traditional CFO. "Yes, he wears the CFO hat, but he is able to look at the big picture. He inherently understands the community impact of our hospital's decisions and actions. He can see much farther beyond a balance sheet or profit-and-loss analysis," she says.
"I have been blessed with very good teaching and learning experiences," says Dieter, a 10-year survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He appreciates working in a hospital. "If you're having a difficult time, it's easy to walk down the hall and see the people who count on you," he says.