Eric Rhodes

Getting There

Learn more about:

Eric Rhodes

Chief operating officer

Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s 

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Age: 37

Hometown: Beckley, West Virginia  

Education: Bachelor’s in business administration and master’s in health services administration from Xavier University.

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Previous position: Senior vice president of operations at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago

Did you always want to work in health care?

“Coming from West Virginia, most of my family was in the coal mines and had health-related issues because of that. I always knew I wanted to do something with health care because they all had injuries and illnesses associated with being in the coal mines. I wanted to do something to make their lives better. That was the driving force for me going into health care.”

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Most rewarding part of your job?

“The highlight of what I do is being able to positively impact patients’ lives and the lives of our staff. Being able to see the look on a nurse or physician’s face when they provide great care and our patient is able to leave our facility in better health than when they came here. It’s truly what makes me happy and gives me the drive to move forward.”

What’s next, professionally?

“Continued growth and development from a leadership standpoint. If there is an opportunity to become president and CEO of a facility within Ascension, that would be an absolute dream come true for me. Right now, I’m just focused on being the best COO that I can be and making sure our patients and staff are taken care of.”

How has the move to Milwaukee been?

“It’s been fantastic. I love Milwaukee. It’s a great city and a growing city. We live in Elm Grove, about 25 minutes west of downtown. I can’t say anything bad about living in the land of beer and cheese.”

What are you watching right now?

“I just finished binge-watching ‘Stranger Things.’ Because I’m an ’80s kid, I thought it was one of the greatest shows ever made.”

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