Posted 3/01/16 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Randall Pederson has been at the Tioga Medical Center since 1980, and he’s been CEO of the facility since 2005. Prior to that he spent 25 years as the hospital’s CFO.
It’s actually very unusual for a hospital administrator to have a 36-year career at the same facility.
“In this day and age, that’s unheard of,” said Ryan Mickelsen, COO of Tioga Medical Center.
In May, the Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health will recognize Pederson at its annual banquet with an award for Outstanding Rural Health Professional.
“I feel privileged to get the award. I’m humbled by it, to be selected among my colleagues,” Pederson said.
In 1980, Pederson was working as a secretary and treasurer at Tioga Machine Shop. Lowell Herfindahl, a hospital administrator at the time, stopped Pederson on the street and asked if he wanted to work at the hospital as an office manager.
“I’ve been here ever since,” Pederson said.
At the time, the hospital was under pressure to provide service in the middle of the second oil boom. They were just adding on the administrative offices and remodeled the lab.
They also expanded the dining area in the long-term care facility.
In 1998, they added a 14-unit independent living facility, which was expanded with eight more units in 2008.
Most recently, Pederson played an important role in bringing about the massive facility expansion completed last fall, including helping to bring about successful passage of a sales tax to cover some of the costs.
As with any project of its size, the administrator faced a lot of sleepless nights.
The hospital held a grand opening ceremony in December and showed off the new ER rooms, a helipad, new offices and exam rooms, and two new nurses’ stations.
Pederson wasn’t aware of the award until he received an email notifying him that he’d been selected. Mickelsen submitted his nomination.
“What Randy does for TMC far exceeds the norm for a CEO,” Mickelsen said.
Besides the length of his tenure at TMC, many of his colleagues commented on the variety of leadership roles Pederson takes at the hospital.
He’s been involved with the Tioga volunteer emergency responders for much of his time at TMC, often acting in a leadership role.
David Rust, chairman of the hospital board of directors, praised Pederson’s dedication to the hospital.
“He breathes, eats, and sleeps Tioga Medical Center,” Rust said.
He also pointed out Pederson is a member of a number of state-level organizations promoting healthcare in North Dakota.
Most hospitals are part of large conglomerates, Rust said, and Pederson’s efforts have helped to keep TMC a locally owned and operated facility, which is no easy feat.
“Small hospitals have it tough,” Rust said.
Amber Nelson, director of nursing, wrote a letter of recommendation for the nomination.
She said Pederson puts in a lot of hours with all the hats he wears, including going on patient transports and answering early-morning fire calls on the volunteer force.
“He’s one in a million. He wants what’s best for the hospital. He puts everybody out there first,” Nelson said.
Mickelsen said the hospital is a great place to work, with brand new facilities and an exceptional staff.
Last October, the hospital received an award for high levels of patient satisfaction from the National Rural Health Association.
“That doesn’t happen without proper leadership,” Mickelsen said.
And a lot of the hospital’s greatest successes have been within the past several years, when the community was experiencing unprecedented growth.
“I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to work with Randy,” Mickelsen said.
The annual banquet in May, where Pederson will receive his award, is in Grand Forks. And he’s looking forward to it.
“It’s a chance for my family to come out,” said the father of four grown children.
Pederson said it’s been rewarding working in his hometown and being a part of a hospital that’s doing so well in the community. He attributes a lot of his success to the people he works with.
“I enjoy being a part of a team that helps people,” he said.