Central Peninsula General Hospital's nine-month search for a chief financial officer ended at Thursday's hospital board meeting when Soldotna resident Edward Burke was named to the position.
Following Mike Gutsch's resignation last November, the hospital conducted a nationwide search that produced more than 50 candidates. Burke rose to the top of the list with more than 16 years experience in health care and hospital finance.
"We are very pleased to have someone with Mr. Burke's experience and qualifications come aboard," said CPGH secretary and treasurer Loretta Flanders. "His experience will be a great asset to the hospital and community."
Burke was the director of finance and operations for two years at HCI International Medical, an American-owned hospital complex in Glasgow, Scotland, and he served for four years as CFO and administrator at Hemet Valley Medical Center in Hemet, Calif. He also spent two years at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center in New York as vice president of finance.
He spent the past six years, however, living in Soldotna as president of the start-up Tundra Communications, a wireless telecommunications firm providing turnkey engineering and installation of land line networks, cellular systems, satellite Earth stations and communications towers.
Burke said he has relinquished control of the company to his brother Patrick, who will take over as chief executive officer from Anchorage.
Burke said he moved to Alaska after visiting his brother and decided to remain in Soldotna and do "more with less," taking time out from a financial career. He said he enjoyed experimenting with new frontiers and appreciated America's last frontier.
But opportunity created an avenue for him to have the best of both worlds.
"I moved here as a lifestyle choice," he said of his 1996 move from Scotland and from a health care finance career. "Telecommunications was a second career. Now, I have my first career and the place where I want to live. It's a perfect fit."
Burke begins today, just in time to take the helm of a newly approved 2003 CPGH budget and to help gain some ground on struggling collections procedures in need of outside assistance.
But he said he is undaunted by the challenges that await him guiding CPGH's finances.
"Things here are no different than any other place I've seen," he said. "Collections are always a problem and budgets are always tight."
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