TOWNSHEND -- In the past year or so, Grace Cottage Hospital has seen big changes, including construction of a new diagnostic-imaging suite and renovations at Messenger Valley Pharmacy.
But the man who oversaw those and other projects is departing: Chief Executive Officer Mick Brant has taken a job in Nebraska, citing family priorities in making an "extremely difficult decision" to leave Vermont.
"My wife and I have an 18-month-old son, and we want to be closer to our families in Yuma, Colorado," Brant said. "If it weren't for that fact, I'd be very happy continuing to guide this exceptional hospital for decades to come."
Brant's pending departure has spurred creation of a CEO search committee
Brant will remain in Townshend until the first week of November, and he said he will assist the search committee in a consulting role.
He also expects to spend time "tying up loose ends" from a productive four-plus years at Grace Cottage, where he had a brief stint as chief operating officer before becoming the hospital's top administrator.
Reflecting on progress made during his tenure, Brant pointed to a plan he helped formulate with the board and medical staff.
"What kicked it all off was a strategic plan that focused on growth and the future," Brant said.
He added that "Our core competency is in primary care and rehab, so that's where we
Recent changes at Grace Cottage have included conversion to electronic medical records, the addition of a Community Wellness Center, the new Diagnostic Imaging Center and expansion of the hospital-owned Messenger Valley Pharmacy situated across Route 35.
Debbie Boyle, who chairs Grace Cottage's board of trustees, cited Brant's "vision, energy and expertise" as key factors in those projects.
"We thank Mick for the contributions he has made to Grace Cottage during the past, very busy year," Boyle said.
Brant believes such targeted growth can continue, and he said the 19-bed facility is "well-positioned for the future." For instance, he said administrators are in the planning phase of a possible addition to the Grace Cottage emergency department.
The hospital has been seeing more emergency patients.
"There's definitely an upward trend," Brant said. "And we don't think that's going to slow anytime soon."
He added that his time at Grace Cottage has been a learning experience.
"I learn every day," Brant said. "I think that's one of the fun things about being a CEO."
Brant will be taking the same position at Gothenburg Memorial Hospital in central Nebraska. He is a Colorado native who earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in that state, and he said relatives there are excited about the pending relocation of a family that now includes a young son.
"That change in our lives definitely impacted the decision-making process," he said.
Mike Faher can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.