Tom Gormley, vice president at Nashville, TN-based HCA Healthcare Inc., is a man who knows his mind and is clear about the things in this world that really matter. He spends a great deal of time talking with all levels of healthcare professionals and figuring out ways that quality healthcare facilities can make their jobs easier.
HCA Healthcare Inc. is a healthcare provider with a portfolio of 200 hospitals, 80 surgical centers, and about 12 million square feet of medical office space, from Miami to Alaska to California. "We also have six or seven facilities in London and Switzerland," explains Gormley, whose 30 years of experience have taught him well. "I have spent a lot of time talking to hospital administrators and the people who work in these spaces everyday to find out their needs, what ideas they have about how healthcare facilities should be designed or renovated, and about their patients' needs. It's all part of the process of providing the most comfortable and convenient care to patients," he adds.
With an engineering degree from the University of Florida and a long history in healthcare construction, Gormley oversees HCA's design and construction group, engineering group, facilities maintenance group, and ADA-compliance group. "Working on a building from the owner's side means looking more closely at the design of what you build, how you build it, and why you build it - as opposed to focusing on just getting the project built," he says.
"Building owners make different decisions about their buildings than contractors and developers because they have to live with the building and its problems. We spend about $1 billion a year in total capital. That translates into about 80 to 90 projects - hospitals, medical office buildings, parking garages, surgical centers, revenue service centers, and some centralized business offices."
Gormley believes that money well spent means designing and constructing buildings that are easily expandable. "We've done nine new hospitals in the past five years. On all of those, we put the departments that we project are going to grow, the operating rooms, emergency rooms, the imaging center all on the ground floor on outside walls so they can be easily expanded, rather than covering the expense and disruption to other areas of the hospital," he explains. "People are here 24/7, so there's no time when the air-conditioning, the power, or the water can be shut down. You have to do those things in very tactful ways."
Of challenges in the coming year, Gormley points to the shortage of a qualified workforce. "It's getting tougher to find trades people - electricians, plumbers, and such that care about quality. Also, we have a lot of buildings that were built in the '70s and '80s building boom that are getting pretty old, and it is hard to justify getting enough capital to really keep up the buildings the way they need to be."
Gormley is very proud of HCA's long-standing concern for the environment. As part of HCA's established commitment, its engineering group is currently undertaking a very aggressive water conservation effort that is projected to save as much as 8 million gallons of water each year.Up Close and Personal
Tom, what do you enjoy most when you're not working?
We have three kids (13, 10, and 8), and we all like to go boating, water-skiing, and kneeboarding. [My wife and I] spend a lot of time with our kids at the lake, sporting events, and just being together.
What are you most proud of?
This year, HCA Healthcare Inc. completed work on seven Habitat for Humanity houses coast-to-coast.
What is your most important tool?
People - the people that I talk to in the healthcare industry and the people that I interact with in completing a project.
What is your personal motto?
Don't micro-manage. Surround yourself with good people and then let them do their jobs.
If you could pursue a different career, what would it be?
An environmental lobbyist.
What is your least favorite buzzword?
Who would you most like to meet?
Jack Welsh, former president and CEO of General Electric.
Clara M.W. Vangen ([email protected]) is technologies editor at Buildings magazine.