For the past several years, AAMI has asked members of the healthcare technology management (HTM) community to nominate exemplary professionals as part of its HTM Week celebration. This year, we received a deluge of emails touting the laudable performance and leadership of HTM professionals across the country. Supervisors wrote about employees whose dedication dazzles them; colleagues described peers whose expertise and energy inspires them; and team members commended bosses who make them proud.
We salute these extraordinary professionals who are helping set the standard when it comes to the service and support of healthcare technology—and bringing value to their organizations.
His business card might say “biomedical equipment support specialist,” but according to his team, Andrew Aiken is “the quarterback,” providing them with leadership and direction.
“Andrew is the most valuable player of the clinical engineering team at the VA Southeast Louisiana Health Care System Medical Center in New Orleans,” said Aiken’s supervisor, Kristen Russell, a chief biomedical engineer with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). “Andrew has a work ethic that is unparalleled. He works more efficiently than anyone in the HTM community that I know, he works longer hours than anyone in the HTM community that I know, and with those two combined, he is unmatched by his peers and frankly by many above him.”
According to Russell, without Aiken’s intense commitment to the VA and its mission, the department’s newest 1.2-million-square-foot facility would not have opened on schedule.
“Andrew is the epitome of a ‘go-to guy’ and requires absolutely zero follow up. He is a team player, a customer pleaser, and a supervisor’s dream,” Russell raved. “We could all stand to learn a thing or two from Andrew: Our patients come first, the work isn’t done until it’s done, and there are no such things as excuses.”
An “innovative leader,” Jordan Anderson, chief clinical engineer for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Providence, RI, has impacted the VA’s HTM community at all levels—local, regional, and national.
Besides leading a consistently high-performing biomedical engineering team, Anderson developed a tool to incorporate maintenance-related failures into the organization’s risk calculation and was actively involved in national performance improvement and human resources workgroups.
“Jordan is always up for a challenge and to find a solution that will work,” said Ashley O’Mara, chief clinical engineer for the VA New England Healthcare System. “She has been an instrumental part of the Providence VA Medical Center.”
After 28 years in the Clinical Engineering Department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and as one of the department’s first certified biomedical engineers, John Ball has established himself as the “alpha tech.”
“John is one of our most experienced and highly skilled technicians. He is methodical and calculated in his approach, which is why John is trusted with our most critical equipment,” said Rodger Abbott, CCHMC clinical engineering lead technician.
Ball recently was certified by the National Council on Laser Certification and has used those skills to completely restructure and reenergize CCHMC’s laser safety program, according to Abbott. Ball also has worked “tirelessly” with the medical center’s infection control officer to establish disinfection, monitoring, and water-change procedures to control the growth of nontuberculous mycobacteria in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization laboratory.
“John’s greatest attribute is his ability to quietly dispense wisdom, leaving each individual with the feeling that they are a bit wiser, a bit more caring, and a bit more capable,” Abbott said.
There are two things that set biomed supervisor Randy Berlin apart from other HTM professionals: “his quick-witted sense of humor and his unrelenting, selfless drive to do what's best for the patients we serve,” according to Kevin Burkart, a biomedical technician, who works with Berlin at the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
“His mantra of ‘patients first’ has become a defining principle of our shop,” Burkart said. “At any given time, he might be getting dirty on the ground fixing a patient's personally owned wheelchair because he truly believes that the patients come first. He'll even make you smile while he's doing it with a quick joke.”
Burkart also applauded Berlin’s dedication to advancing the next generation of HTM professionals.
“As the supervisor of a shop that requires technicians to become ACI certified, he leads by example,” Burkart said. “Randy has maintained his CBET since the early 90s and shows no signs of slowing down, attaining several other industry certifications over the years.”
A military veteran, Rusty Black is a certified biomedical technician who has worked in the CCHMC Clinical Engineering Department for the last four years. During this time, he has learned the ins and outs of several “critical life support” systems normally maintained by specialists, enabling the department to support anesthesia, dialysis, perfusion, and cardiopulmonary bypass machines nearly around the clock, according to Abbott.
“As a veteran of the United States Navy, Rusty brings a level of skill and professionalism that has earned him the respect of his peers and left a lasting impression the clinicians with whom he interacts with daily,” Abbott said. “His integrity, commitment to excellence, and professional demeanor encompass a skill set that defines him as more than a great technician—he is a true HTM professional.”
According to colleagues, Aaron Bridgewater does whatever it takes to get the job done. As the clinical engineering team leader for TRIMEDX based in Anchorage, AK, that often means traveling from village to village in the Yukon on four-seat airplanes in extreme environmental conditions.
“At times, the temperature can drop to –40°F with 24 hours of darkness, and yet Aaron continues with his job, committed to doing his best with a positive attitude,” said Tom Vasquez, TRIMEDX’s director of clinical engineering.
Traveling through such extreme conditions often leaves Bridgewater stranded in one of TRIMEDEX’s 52 Yukon village clinics. Sometimes he can be stuck there for several days, sleeping on the clinic’s floor in a sleeping bag or on the clinic’s exam table and eating food he has packed because there often are no stores.
“Despite these conditions, Aaron continues to love what he does, cares about the customers and the patients, and is committed to doing his best,” Vasquez said. “I know of no one else who sacrifices as much as Aaron to get the job done.”
If there is a device-related issue at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, LA, chances are Andre Chapman will get the call. Chapman, who is a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) III, is known for his ability to find solutions quickly and efficiently.
Most recently, staff in the operating room (OR) were having trouble with an O-arm Surgical Imaging System while the imaging technician was unavailable. Even though he was unfamiliar with the device, after a basic “first look,” Chapman solved the problem in less than 15 minutes, according to his supervisor Matthew Atherton.
Atherton, who is a manager I with TRIMEDX, also noted that Chapman will “do his best to save the hospital money on repairs when a device has been damaged.” He will research and find resources before starting any repair to ensure it is done in the most efficient way possible. Recently, this saved the hospital approximately $4,000 on repairs to an OR table.
“Andre proves time and time again that he is an asset to his team and the clinical teams he serves. Whether he is solving problems for administration, providing guidance, or saving the hospital money, he can always be counted on to get the job done,” Atherton said. “Andre is a pleasure to work with, and I am proud to call him a member of my team.”
Wherever information technology (IT) and HTM intersect, that’s where you will find BMET III Jamil Chris. Having worked in the informational services (IS) department for TRIMEDX, Chris has been instrumental in coordinating efforts between the IS department and the biomedical team, minimizing miscommunication and improving efficiency.
“Whenever a question arises regarding an IT issue, Jamil is our ‘go-to guy,’” said JaQuay Steiner, manager I of biomedical engineering for TRIMEDX. “Because of his unique experience, there is almost a beaten path to his desk to receive clarification and guidance for issues regarding IS. His knowledge and eagerness to educate has increased our capabilities and enhanced the clinical experience.”
Chris currently is working with the sterile processing department at his hospital to determine the best process to fully utilize their equipment and to reduce the need for vendor sets. He also is assisting a regional medical center in Baton Rouge, LA, to improve efficiencies and working with vendors to find opportunities for cost savings.
“Jamil is one of the most eager and passionate people I have ever worked with. His personal drive and attitude have distinguished him from his peers,” Steiner said.
As she advanced in her education, Marlene Davis advanced in her career. Davis is a manager within the Kaiser Permanente clinical technology program and is responsible for a significant portion of the enterprise clinical systems engineering work and staff, as well as providing HTM leadership to the Kaiser Permanente National Product Council (NPC). The NPC consists of a number of sourcing teams that evaluate and select the supplier and product standards for all of Kaiser Permanente, according to Carol Davis-Smith, president of Carol Davis-Smith & Associates, LLC.
In this role, Davis provides overall subject matter expertise as well as leadership to each sourcing team. Prior to this managerial role, Davis served as a senior clinical systems engineer, having risen through the ranks from an entry-level BMET as she completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Southern California.
“Self-motivated and eager to take on any obstacle or challenge he is confronted with,” that’s how colleagues describe Dustin Doty, an imaging engineer with TRIMEDX based in Indianapolis, IN. Doty “unofficially” fills the role of team lead for a staff of 17 imaging engineers, often assisting team members with 25–40 years of experience, according to Randall Spradlin, a clinical engineering manager for TIMEDX.
“Dustin has the uncanny ability to walk fellow engineers through difficult troubleshooting processes, sometimes with little to no exposure to the device,” Spradlin said.
Doty also is “instrumental” to the annual success of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. This requires prestaging equipment and backup parts and coordinating the logistics of staging a remote diagnostic center within Lucas Oil Stadium.
“This goes off without a hitch every year due to the efforts of Dustin as a leader for our group,” Spradlin said. “It’s a huge undertaking and requires seven-days-a-week staffing and very long days by my entire team to pull it off.”
Distance from peers does not stand in the way of excellence for Harold Duryea, lead technician BMET III for SSM Health St. Francis Hospital in Maryville, MO. Duryea is a “huge asset,” according to Tammy Gardner, a multi-regional healthcare technology manager for SSM Health.
St. Francis is the health system’s furthest northwestern hospital in Missouri, which places Duryea at least four hours from his closest counterparts. “His decisiveness, problem-solving skills, and ability to communicate well with clinical staff has increased his success in that location,” Gardner said. “He is well liked by all staff and runs his shop with ease.”
Watch out for Anthony Faddis, a biomedical equipment technician at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Colleagues describe him as a still-rising leader and “all-star” who “goes above and beyond his duties and responsibilities to ensure safety to the patient and medical equipment users,” according to Jake Freedman, a certified BMET at Stanford Health Care.
Last year, Faddis was elected president of the Bay Area chapter of the California Medical Instrumentation Association and “has worked tirelessly to involve himself with the betterment of the organization and provide BMETs from all over California opportunities for growth,” Freedman said. Some of this hard work was seen during the association’s tri-chapter educational event and vendor fair at the end of April, which included several BMET training courses, a leadership roundtable discussion, and social networking opportunities.
Faddis is also interested in developing start-ups that can advance the HTM field through technological innovations such as data analytics and artificial intelligence.
“There is no question in my mind that with Anthony’s perseverance, passion, and work ethic that he will be a leading name in the field,” Freedman said.
Jovito “Jojo” Gonzales
The rise of cybersecurity attacks in healthcare has met its match in Jovito Gonzales, or “Jojo” to everyone who works with him. He is the “quintessential biomedical technician” and “has demonstrated professionalism and leadership above and beyond his formal position,” according to colleagues.
As the lead biomedical technician for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA, Gonzales was a key leader during two recent ransomware attacks, ensuring the safety and protection of patients’ protected health information, and was instrumental to the opening of Kaiser’s brand-new San Diego Central Medical Center.
“Jojo is a natural and respected leader and has performed an outstanding job in operationalizing a new state-of-the-art medical facility here in San Diego,” said Michael Parris, assistant administrator of facilities operations and capital programs for Kaiser Permanente’s San Diego service area. “As part of this commissioning effort, he brought together, organized, and fine-tuned a new Clinical Technology Department,” which included deploying more than 7,000 pieces of medical equipment and providing mentorship and training for a group of new BMETs.
Gonzales is “deeply committed to the development of new technician talent,” according to former colleague Carol Davis-Smith, president of Carol Davis-Smith & Associates, LLC, “as demonstrated through his daily work ethic, support, and leadership within local biomed societies, and postings to wide-reaching media, such as LinkedIn.”
Whether the issue is big or small, Angela Grecco, a senior biomedical technician for Christiana Care Health System in Newark, DE, has it covered.
“Angela is the sort of person you can count on from the easiest little ‘I have been looking around our 1,000-bed hospital and can’t seem to find a few small missing patient monitors, will you keep an eye out for them?’ and then she finds them, to project lead for a multimillion-dollar house-wide telemetry replacement project implementing an entirely new line of wireless devices and their network infrastructure to improve the quality of patient care,” said John Learish, Christiana Care’s clinical engineering manager.
Perhaps most importantly, according to Learish, Grecco “worked tirelessly” to fix an infusion pump interoperability issue. To accomplish this, she helped with wireless testing, set up the drug libraries, replaced the network interface cards when necessary, and minimized safety events related to infusion pumps throughout the hospital.
“Angela routinely shifts her schedule to work around the needs of the hospital’s departmental staff,” Learish said. “She does all of this while mentoring and helping her colleagues and remaining a positive personality and shining example of ‘what good looks like.’”
Adam Hartmann, a clinical engineering team leader for TRIMEDX based in Elmhurst, IL, “goes above and beyond in a way few others match every day,” according to Kyle Campbell, a manager I for clinical engineering at TRIMEDX.
For example, Hartmann’s hospital has a temperature monitoring system that is installed in more than 360 locations, as well as dozens of off-site clinics. The system is outside of the scope of the TRIMEDX agreement, but since the end users did not know how to use it, leading to thousands of alarms, Hartmann took it upon himself to organize hospital-wide education sessions, as well as identify and document the correct high and low alarm limits for all 360 probes. In addition, because the monitoring system is so heavily reliant on IT infrastructure and conventions, Hartmann has learned the IT and networking side of this equipment, applying it to other medical devices as well.
“As our industry changes to rely more on IT principles, Adam is ensuring that Elmhurst Clinical Engineering remains on the leading edge of this transformation,” Campbell said. “He uses his knowledge to coach and teach others in these principles.”
Meeting the needs of his customers and colleagues is something that’s in Bill Hascup’s DNA. Hascup, a BMET III/sterilization technician for TRIMEDX in Pensacola, FL, is the first technician to arrive to work every day and is willing to do whatever is needed to improve the hospital’s safety and patient care performance. That includes cross-training in anesthesia repair and patient monitoring systems, according to Rich Fields, a clinical engineering manager for TRIMEDX.
“Every day, Bill has fielded calls on anesthesia machines, ventilators, and patient monitoring when other technicians have not yet arrived for the day,” Fields said. “He takes his customer service to a new level and continues to impress the customer through his daily deeds. Having a technician that truly cares and is willing to step out of his role for the benefit of the client is exceptional.”
In addition, Hascup has mentored and trained countless TRIMEDX technicians and continues to impress his peers through his dedication to the advancement of other biomedical staff members across the country.
With his eyes on the horizon, Bhaskar Iduri, director of clinical engineering and quality assurance at Renovo Solutions in Irvine, CA, is always looking for ways to promote and grow the HTM community.
“Bhaskar mentors his colleagues about any new changes in the industry and encourages his staff to develop new skills through knowledge sharing and professional certifications,” said Rao Bankuru, a Renovo clinical engineer. “He also teaches part-time at a local community college, which shows his commitment toward the HTM field.”
In addition, Iduri serves as a member of AAMI’s Reliability Centered Maintenance Practices Task Force and ACCE’s Body of Knowledge Committee and helped revise the study guide for the certification in clinical engineering exam.
“Although a majority of employees generally perform well, a percentage of employees are unusually ‘high performers,’ and that is exactly what Matthew Kenney is—a high performer,” said Troy Hoover, a medical systems equipment technologist for Universal Health Services, Inc.
Kenney, who serves as the director of HTM at Aiken Regional Medical Center in Aiken, SC, is “self-driven, perseverant, focused, and disciplined in his work” and strives to not only improve himself but also his entire department, according to Hoover.
“Matthew is always focused on quality and demands that same focus from his staff,” Hoover said. “He performs at a higher level because for Matthew there is no other way to perform his job. For these reasons, and so many more, we feel that Mr. Matthew Kenney deserves recognition not only during HTM week but all year round.”
Before Aaron Predum arrived in Honolulu nearly two years ago to take over as the director of biomedical engineering for Hawai’i Pacific Health, the system’s various biomed departments rarely collaborated, according to W. Keoki Fujinaka, supervisor of biomedical engineering at Pali Momi Medical Center.
Predum immediately changed the system’s culture by organizing weekly team conference calls with all the biomedical engineering departments and implementing a quarterly luncheon to encourage a “team atmosphere.”
“With the increased familiarity with each other, we were not hesitant to contact techs from other hospitals for assistance, which increased our efficiency and accessible knowledge,” Fujinaka said.
Fujinaka also credits Predum with demonstrating to the administration that more help was needed at each facility and “delivering the budget for more techs.” With these resources, Predum was able to create Fujinaka’s supervisory position, as well as two other much-needed positions that did not exist in the system before: a specialist dealing with biomed Internet security and a contract administrator.
“The positive changes that Aaron has been able to initiate are a testament to his abilities as a leader and advocate for our department,” Fujinaka said.
Tucker Scherger brings a laser focus to his job—literally and figuratively. Scherger, assistant chief of the Healthcare Technology Management Service at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, IN, is “committed to broadening the education, as well as breadth and depth of our profession,” according to Jennifer DeFrancesco, associate director of the Dayton VA Medical Center. Scherger is president of the Indiana Biomedical Society, last year’s winner of AAMI’s HTM Association of the Year Award, which hosts a wide range of activities including career fairs, an annual conference, and quarterly educational meetings. He also created a laser safety program for colleagues at the Indianapolis VA.
Even if you call Jennifer Sutherland by accident, you get results. Sutherland, a BMET II at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City, MO, is known throughout the hospital for her outstanding customer service. She recently was recognized by the hospital’s leadership for helping a patient get in touch with family after the patient kept accidently calling her office phone while trying to dial out.
“Jenny lives the SSM mission to the fullest,” said Tammy Gardner, multiregional healthcare technology manager for SSM Health. “She assists patients and guests in finding their way and answering questions. She always volunteers to attend new trainings and go to other accounts to cover vacations. She is an exceptional addition to the mid-Missouri team.”
A true team player, John Tyburski transitioned from being an aircraft mechanic in the Marine Corps to a BMET at St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee, OH, in 2002 and has been there ever since. During this time, he has worked for four different companies, most recently as a team lead for TRIMEDX, and “has stepped up to the plate and led by example each time,” according to Jarod Haman, a TRIMEDX clinical engineering manager.
“John has a tenacious work ethic that empowers him to service more than 650 pieces of equipment while executing the role of team lead,” Harman said. “In this role, John handles day-to-day operations to ensure that the seven sites that he oversees run smoothly. These sites are spread out over a 25-mile radius, so it is a great challenge to provide coverage and assistance as needed, but John excels here.”
Most recently, Tyburski helped improve the operational excellence of his area by working closely with his manager to optimize the performance of his technicians.
“John’s dedication has been noticed by his team and by his manager and is widely viewed as a true asset to our team,” Harman said.
A triple threat, Mark Yelverton is a “master technician,” but it is his personality and work ethic that really make him stand out as an HTM professional, according to Lynn Lee, clinical engineering manager at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, LA.
“Mark is a self-starter who is loyal, competent, consistent, available and willing to take on any assignment or task that is presented to him,” Lee said. “Mark is willing to assist any and all techs in any endeavor and will work through the issues until the problem is resolved.”
Yelverton, a lab engineer I for TRIMEDX, takes care of a large laboratory facility with approximately 40 clinics in a 100-mile radius. In this role, he provides education to lab technicians on operation and software changes to the system he manages and ensures all work is completed accurately, on time, and dependably.
“Mark has taken a leadership role in the lab by displaying the characteristics of a ‘go-to’ person and has won the respect and admiration of the lab personnel, including the workers, manager, and director of the program,” Lee said.