A Presidential Election………………#237 (the 90’s)

The daily Alva Oklahoma Review-Courier

The 1995 fall meeting and Vendor Exhibition for the Kansas Hospital Engineers Association was being held at the 10,000 sq. ft. Ramada Inn Conference Center on W. Crawford, in Salina Kansas.  Gary having represented District #4 which included Wichita on the Board of Directors and in addition served as  Treasurer for the KHEA for the past three years.   Larry Dunn the current Hospital Engineers Association president was supervising plant operation manager for the 760 bed HCA Wesley Medical Center on North Hillside in Wichita prevailing upon Gary  that he should submit his name for the upcoming Board of Directors presidential election.   Gary having no ambition to enter the contention for the presidency,  satisfied with his contribution of representing District 4 on the board of directors and serving as Treasurer, but Larry was persistent, Gary reluctantly giving into the prestigious engineers persuasion.   The names of  members placed in nomination were taken under advisement, the membership voting, descending the number down to two very contrasting constituents.  Gary with his small community rural hospital experience finding himself placed on the ballot, the other nominee was the Executive Vice President in charge of maintenance at the 353 bed Salina Regional Medical Center and like Larry wore a white shirt and tie to work and also was the Kansas representative to the national America Society Of Hospital Engineers (ASHE)  with a degree in engineering.

Salina Ramada Conference Center

The time of reckoning was at hand,  a 150 plus number of representative members from the hospitals throughout the state of Kansas in attendance,  the two candidates  standing  before the group according their qualifications and  reason for seeking the office.  Gary beginning his electoral presentation very much aware that the majority of the membership were from small rural hospitals, acknowledging  he was a singular maintenance operative like many of them,  working in a small community hospital,  solely responsibility for all the mechanical, physical and ground keeping commitments, logging and fulfilling all the regulatory compliant paperwork for the facility.  His qualification for KHEA president was his years of experience and prior 3 years of service as a representative of district 4 on the Board of Directors,  his service as Treasurer of the organization and editor of the monthly KHEA newsletter,  but more important  he could identify and was  representative of their working environment.   The two nominees were asked to remove themselves to the Conference Center foyer while the voting took place.  The perspectives visiting with each other during the electoral process,  Gary acknowledging that this would be a defining moment for his ideological repertoire and future envisioned plans that he had conceived for the organization.  Upon returning inside to the convention hall it was announced he was the Kansas Hospital Engineers president-elect, Gary surmising in all probability it was the support of the small rural hospital delegates that championed his election.

Kansas Hospital Engineers Association Logo

Realizing with his new position came the commitment of responsible leadership in exercising  his posture as president including introducing innovating new programs to the Board.   While serving as treasurer he became aware of several thousands of dollar instilled by contributors and vendors to the KHEA’s financial account which steadily continued to grow serving no purpose but to accumulate interest.    Gary having given thought about the unheralded dedication of hospital  maintenance employees,  proposing to the Board  a scholarship program for the membership including the immediate members of their family.  The program would provide two $250.00  scholarship awards twice per year to further  their education.  The applicants required to submit a written essay  expanding on the statement,    “the meaning of education to me” or a suitable healthcare subject.  The  Board of Directors to select a winner and as a safeguard to remove any suspicion of favoritism on selection,  the submitting applicants name would be removed from each essay and known only to the President.    The enacted program was a total success and out of a sense of curiously Gary entered the competition submitted an essay,  sustaining from the vote by the board of directors,  discovering his essay winning.  Gary not accepting but  acceding his achievement to the  second place essay competitor, the daughter of Stan Murphy the maintenance supervisor at Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca.

During Gary’s tenure as president the Hospital Engineer Association board determined that to be inline with the parent group,  their state affiliate,  the KHA  (Kansas Hospital Association),  a by-law and name change was suggested from Hospital Engineers to Healthcare Engineers Association allowing the organization to include Nursing Facilities.  Gary disagreeing with the Board of Directors,  denoting that a nursing home facilities and their maintenance program in many regards was differed from that of an acute hospital,  pointing out that many Care Centers were not a equipped with the required medicinal and surgical resources that were found in an acute hospital requiring a higher degree of discipline. His protest in vain,  losing his argument, the name change being enacted.


The propitious of his presidency enabled a continuation of other envisioned plans, foremost was  a union with the Michigan Hospital Association,  the only State  Healthcare Engineers Organization accredited by JCAHO  (the Joint Commission on Accreditation  of Healthcare Organization) .  It was an industry standard that a qualified membership and certification by JCAHO exempted a facility from  federal medicare inspection,  because  the “Joint Commission ” evaluation standards surpassed all federal regulations.  The Michigan Healthcare Association  with its comprehensive testing program and JCAHO recognition was able to certify a person as a State Certified Hospital Engineer.   The  Kansas Engineers the first to adopt Michigan’s program, but soon joined by the state of California and Wisconsin.   Gary’s vision of  providing the members of the KHEA with a state recognized hospital engineers certification program coming to fruition and giving him the opportunity to experience the ardent extensive written engineers test,   Gary now documented and recognized as Certified Hospital Engineer.

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