WASHINGTON'S LEADING BUSINESS MAGAZINE

Nonprofit Company Winners

Sheila Bacon Cain and Nick Horton |   July 2011   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Hayley Young
CEO Rich Roodman, center, with members of the Valley Medical Center team in Renton.

First Place: MOM KNOWS BEST

Some may be surprised to learn that the leadership strategy behind Valley Medical Center—which serves a population of nearly 600,000 and employs close to 3,000 people—originated with a receptionist at a hat factory in St. Louis.

The receptionist was the mother of Rich Roodman, Valley Medical Center’s CEO, who has built his career around kindness.

“My mother had a lot of different bosses—those who were nice and who valued folks, and those who were a pain in the butt,” says Roodman, who adds that his mother came to appreciate the nice bosses and would work hard to please them. The not-so-nice bosses? Let’s just say they might find themselves waiting a little longer for their requests.

“It’s a lesson my mom taught me,” says Roodman. “Being nice to people is a core value.”

Founded as Valley General in 1947, Valley Medical Center has experienced tremendous growth, especially in the past seven years. A bond levy passed in 2003 funded a $200 million construction program that expanded the hospital’s birth and surgery centers, and added a new seven-story emergency services tower. The comprehensive community hospital main campus sits on 45 acres in Renton, and the center oversees 23 owned and operated clinics.

Keeping the lines of communication open among all levels of employees has been a focus at VMC. Employees hear about upcoming company events, policy changes and construction updates through direct mail to their homes and emails to their workstations, and over the airwaves via big-screen TVs throughout the hospital and its clinics. Three or four times a year, Roodman and COO Paul Hayes host a live forum at which employees can learn about hospital goals and new services, and also ask questions directly.

“Folks enjoy getting to have some face time with the folks in the corner offices,” Roodman says. —S.B.C.

Second Place: Job Satisfaction

Spokane’s Career Path Services provides free job-placement assistance to both job seekers and employers. So it’s no surprise that the organization, which is funded entirely by local, state and federal grants, knows how to treat employees well. Its workers receive an exceedingly generous simplified employee pension plan, two annual retreats and a compressed four-day work week. A multidude of employee-wellness programs—including entering a team in the annual Bloomsday 12-kilometer run—makes for a happy, healthy workforce. —N.H.

Third Place: IT'S A THREE PEAT

With 10 locations and 150 providers in the greater Seattle area, Pacific Medical Centers is one of the region’s largest health-care networks. It’s also one of the best employers in the industry. PacMed has placed in the top three in this category for three consecutive years. The company’s workers rave about the many continuing education opportunities and tuition reimbursement provided by the organization, the unusually open lines of communication between employees at all levels and the numerous charitable projects available to employees. —N.H.

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