Now that's what we call time management.
When he was named an Up & Comer in 1990 at the age of, ahem, 33, Dan Wolterman had already been president and chief executive officer of a three-hospital regional system, Holy Cross Health Services of Utah, for a year.
"I've moved very quickly in my career," he said at the time, adding that when opportunities presented themselves, he made the most of them. And Wolterman's pace hasn't slowed since.
The former head of the Salt Lake City system is now the president and CEO of five-hospital Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston.
Wolterman, now 51, arrived at Memorial Hermann in 1999—two years after Hermann Healthcare System and Memorial Healthcare System completed their merger—as senior vice president. After Dan Wilford retired as president and CEO in 2002, the system's board conducted a national search for a replacement but ended up deciding the best person for the job was already there. It chose Wolterman because of his strong relationships with the board, medical staff, employees and communities served by the health system.
In his previous position as senior vice president, he had overseen seven of the system's 11 hospitals and two long-term-care facilities. "Dan came into Wilford's position at a time when the healthcare environment was rapidly changing from what I would say was a good-old-boy era to an era that required business acumen," recalls James Montague, chairman of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System's board of directors. "Dan was able to apply this acumen to what I would consider a very complex operation."
At Memorial Hermann, Wolterman oversees some 19,000 employees. Within the past five years, the system has funded more than $600 million in expansion projects, according to Montague. Not only is he a community leader, Montague says, but also he is "politically attuned," and able to work well with local businesses and the state Legislature. He is chairman-elect of the Greater Houston Partnership, a round table of influential local corporations that tackles challenges in the community.
He is also chairman of both the Texas Hospital Association and the VHA-Texas board of directors. Joel Allison, president and CEO of Baylor Health Care System in Dallas, has worked closely with Wolterman in some of these roles. "Obviously Dan is truly a leader," he says. "And he's been really passionate about his commitment to serving all people." One of Wolterman's top priorities is reducing Texas' large number of uninsured. Some of his ideas include: funding more preventive medicine and creating a watchdog agency to oversee access and quality.
"He's spoken out to business leaders, to the business community; he's carried this message to the national press corps, to editorial boards and legislators to get more Texans covered," Allison says. Always thinking ahead, this passion manifested itself in Wolterman's eagerness to help evacuees from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Memorial Hermann set up an in-hospital command center before Katrina even hit the Gulf Coast, created added capacity and then launched a massive operation to evacuate critical patients from New Orleans. "He's visionary, he's collaborative and he's a person of high integrity," Allison says. "He's willing to take a stand for what is right and what he believes." Time and time again.