Seth Whitmer was born in Arizona. He was raised in Tucson Arizona along with six other siblings. At the age of fourteen, his father succumbed to a rare disease leaving Seth to help provide for his siblings. He began working for a fencing company cleaning the yard and equipment. He continued working for them throughout high school. Seth spent a lot of time alone on the job where he contemplated his values and how he would stand for these values. Family is everything to this successful high-powered man no matter where his career has taken him.
He was very active with his community and his church. After completing high school, he was sent on a two-year mission to preach and to teach how to serve communities in Seattle, Washington.
As Seth reached college-age, he began to research which path he would follow in his career. Initially, he wanted to be an attorney but decided against it when the curriculum was heavy on research and had no resemblance to the way it was portrayed on T.V.
Seth continued his research into business curriculums such as accounting, business management, and information systems, but the discovery of healthcare administration was the choice that excited him most. He attended Weber State University in Ogden, Utah where he earned his bachelor’s degree in health administration. After graduation, he began his career in the healthcare industry working in administration for the elderly. The CEO of the organization recognized Whitmer’s talent and genuine excitement for the industry while mentoring him and encouraged Seth to go for his master’s degree.
Seth researched the schools he wanted to attend for his master’s degree program. He chose the University of Washington as one of the top-ranked school on the west coast. This was an enormously life-changing decision. Not only would he further his education, but he would meet Megan, a student studying to become a respiratory therapist. Megan would also soon become the love of his life, his wife, and mother of their five children.
During his career, he operated as the healthcare administrator for many organizations. While he was studying for his master’s degree, he worked at three hospitals on the North Olympic Peninsula. He furthered his career at an Eastern Washington clinic, a rural hospital, the Airforce Medical Services, and an Oregon clinic. He and his family have recently moved to eastern Washington for Seth to run a healthcare facility for the Department of Energy.
How did you get started in the healthcare industry? What inspired you to do so?
Originally, I wanted to do something in business. I researched information systems, accounting, and business management. When I discovered health administration, I fell in love with it. I took a few classes and knew that this is what I wanted to do. I loved that the focus was on leadership and people. Then there was the focus on caring for people. I got my first job in long-term care.
How does your firm make money?
I oversee the operations and see that the revenue comes in that is greater than our expenses to ensure that we all get a paycheck.
How long did it take for your firm to become profitable?
I was struggling quite a bit when I was in my first position in long-term care. One of my tasks was to turn it around and make a profit. It took me about five months to turn the operating margins around.
When you first started out did you ever doubt that this would work for you?
I don’t believe I ever thought that I shouldn’t be in this industry. I really felt as though I found my niche in life. This is where I belong. I absolutely love it.
What is your favorite quote?
This is a Victor Hugo quote from Le Misérables. “The future has several things, for the weak it is impossible. For the faint-hearted it is unknown. But, for the valiant it is ideal.” To me, it is having that positive outlook and working towards it. If I am being valiant, I am doing exactly what I am supposed to. I have confidence in my actions because I have the experience. I have done my research and due-diligence. I can go forward and do the things I am supposed to do because of this.
What is one marketing strategy other than referrals that you use to generate new business?
In healthcare we have our referrals coming from other healthcare organizations. I believe the best marketing that we have is the reputation of our organization within the community. We are known in the community as being a quality organization. Our reputation is built from our patient’s perception because of the care they receive, as well as our employees speaking of our organization in a very positive way. Because of the culture and work atmosphere, it creates a positive and trusting environment that people want to return too.
What is the toughest decision that you have had to make in the past few months?
The toughest decision that a person in my position has to make is when it comes to disciplinary actions. I try to work from the perspective of compassion and forgiveness. I want to foster an environment where making a mistake is not the end of the world. It is a different story if you make the same mistake over and over and you don’t learn your lesson, then there is a problem. I know mistakes can have a major impact on individual’s lives. With that in mind, I try to be thoughtful and extremely conscious of that. it makes it one of the toughest decisions I have to make.
What do you think makes you successful?
I think what makes me most successful is being able to foster a hardworking and positive environment. People can trust one another and trust me. I believe that trust is what leads to a successful future. It drives the success of the organization.
What has been your most satisfying moment with what you do?
I have many satisfying moments. I really find that satisfaction when reading the surveys and seeing the positive comments that are made. I enjoy sharing the information with staff and doctors. I like seeing their reaction knowing that they can be proud and positive about the work that we are doing here. It is one of the most satisfying things.
What is a recent purchase that you have made for your business?
In my prior position we purchased an electronic medical records system or (EMR). We were required to make that purchase for government compliance. The system we first purchased was lacking in its abilities. It did not give enough information to help us make critical decisions. We upgraded to a much better system because of this. It is much better for staff and it is easier for the patient’s for mobile records transfer.
What does the future hold for you and your firm? What are you most excited about?
The future holds what we want to make of it. It is really there for the taking. I can go forward with confidence because I have experience. I have done my due-diligence. I am doing what I am supposed to do, and that is the most important thing to me. Business is not the most important thing to me and my future. In my future, it is about being the man I am supposed to be. What is important is being a good person, being a good father, being a good leader, and doing my part in fulfilling the duty that God has for me. It is more of a personal and spiritual nature, but this is my future. It is about what am I becoming and am I doing what my duty.
What books have inspired would you recommend.
One of the business books I would recommend is First Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. They offer solutions on how to provide employee satisfaction and feature how the best managers handle employees.