Tributes and Thanks Mark Retirement Dinner for Logan

Posted November 8, 2016

Mary Logan Retirement DinnerMary Logan’s family and friends have long teased her about living in “Mary Land”—a place where unyielding optimism rules the day, no job is too big, people are always thinking kindly of one another, and the word “cannot” is simply not part of the vernacular.

At a retirement dinner the AAMI Board of Directors hosted last weekend for Logan—who steps down this year as AAMI’s president and CEO after eight years at the helm—one of her closest friends shouted out “Mary Land!” after listening to testimonials about her can-do spirit and Logan’s own account of her determination to forge a career at a time when many women were still struggling to find their place in the professional world.

At AAMI, Logan said, she found the best job she ever had, inspired by its mission to make healthcare technology safer and more effective, impressed by the committed professionals on the frontlines, and supported by the Board of Directors and staff.

“I never felt dissed as a woman for my leadership style, and I am so grateful for that,” Logan said.

But it was her colleagues who had the most to say that evening, which was marked by heartfelt tributes, good-natured ribbing with lots of laughter, and a few tears.

“AAMI as an organization is pretty amazing. Mary as a person is amazing,” said William Maisel, MD, chief scientist and deputy director for science at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. He saluted her “can-do attitude” and said her collaborative nature had made a huge difference in making healthcare technology safer.

Frances Schrotter, senior vice president and chief operating officer at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), hailed Logan as a “catalyst for change” who had the unique ability to both speak her mind and be the “first person to compliment a job well done.”

Several speakers, including many who were featured in a video tribute, said that one of Logan’s greatest strengths at AAMI was building relationships and breaking down walls.

“Mary’s done an amazing job of pulling the right people together to help solve problems,” said Erin Sparnon, an engineering manager in the ECRI Institute’s health devices group, offering as an example Logan’s leadership in infusion system safety.

The AAMI Board of Directors singled out Logan’s work in revitalizing the AAMI Foundation and making it a powerful voice in addressing patient safety issues through the prism of healthcare technology. In recognition of that effort, the Board announced that the Foundation’s new research fund had been renamed in her honor.

Other speakers shared more personal anecdotes, whether it was remembering Logan’s willingness to don a cowboy hat and sing at one AAMI Annual Conference & Expo or, at another conference, recite for longtime AAMI member and healthcare technology management (HTM) leader Bob Stiefel a slight bawdy and thoroughly funny story that mixed medical equipment maintenance programs and romance. (Stiefel returned the favor at the retirement dinner, regaling “Mary, Mary, Mary’ with a sonnet of sorts.)

Others took note of her initial outreach when she first took the reins at AAMI. Over the course of one year, she visited dozens of hospitals and businesses across the country, eager to learn about the work of HTM professionals, as well as those who work in the medical device industry.

“The information she was able to take back to the organization … has been such a gem for us, and I think it’s helped a lot in understanding what we do,” said Vickie Snyder, an HTM consultant for the Veterans Health Administration.

Emotions were on full display throughout the evening, but Logan managed to hold it all together—right up until the point where she thanked her husband of 35 years, John Stellberg. Delivering a slide show of her own after all of the tributes and jokes, Logan (who had vowed to have the last word) grew briefly overwhelmed when she got to a slide featuring a smiling Stellberg, who is also retiring this year from his career in marketing and communications. “I couldn’t have done my job, or any other job, without him,” Logan said, hailing him as a “life partner” and feminist-before-his-time who had supported her career at every turn.

And then she turned to the crowd that had gathered to cheer her, telling them: “It’s been so wonderful to work with all of you for the right reasons—so thank you.”