Madigan commander accepts new position, set to retire
February 15, 2011
- After almost 29 years as a Soldier, Col. Jerome Penner III will trade his Army Combat Uniform for a civilian suit.
- He has been selected as the new CEO of Murray-Calloway County Hospital in Kentucky.
After almost 29 years as a Soldier, including nearly two as the commander at Madigan Healthcare System, Col. Jerome Penner III will trade his Army Combat Uniform for a suit March 10 and begin a new journey as a civilian.
"It all came down to timing. Had this been three years ago I probably would not have done it," said Penner.
All the signs and timing came together last summer and through the fall when a hospital in Penner's home state of Kentucky began the process of searching for a new CEO. The hospital, Murray-Calloway County Hospital, is near Fort Campbell and Murray State University, the alma mater of Penner and his wife Jamie. In addition, the couple's two sons would both be attending
Murray State in the fall. After a series of interviews, a number of signs, and a perfect alignment of timing Penner made the decision to accept the position as the new CEO and retire from the Army.
"This has been my life for nearly 29 Col. Jerry Penner speaks at an event at Madigan Healthcare System. Penner will retire in June after 29 years of service in the Army. He has been the commander at Madigan for nearly two years and will be replaced March 10 by Col. Dallas Homas.
years. You might be able to take the guy out of the Army but you won't be able to take the Army out of the guy," said Penner.
MCCH announced Penner as their choice for CEO Jan. 17. Penner's projected retirement date is June 30. The change of command at Madigan will take place at 11 a.m., March 10. Penner will leave behind a legacy of caring and a journey toward greatness.
"The challenge I leave for the commanders that follow me is to continue our Baldrige efforts. I hope that they will continue this journey to challenge Army medicine to reach a new level."
Penner has led a distinguished Army career. He has served for 14 years as a chief operating officer and CEO at military treatment facilities. He joined a small group of medical service corps
officers that have been selected to lead these facilities. During his 29-year career, he has served at many levels from the company to a medical center. His Army career has sent him to eight
different states and a tour in Iraq. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Murray State University and a Master's degree in Health Administration from the Army-Baylor program. He is also
a graduate of Command and General Staff College and Army War College.
"Along the way I've had some tremendous mentors and role models," said Penner. "I learned from them how to really take care of folks."
During his time at Madigan Penner was hesitant to name his favorite moments.
"We have a highlight almost every single day. This organization is tremendous at innovation. The productivity at this place is amazing," said Penner. "I could just go on and on about the things
Madigan is able to do. This is the right place to pick. There is not one defining moment or thing; I think it's the whole group."
Penner's leadership legacy at Madigan will be a lifetime of commitment, loyalty and service. However, there are certain things he hopes the hospital and those who have served with him will remember about his time as their leader.
"I would hope that people would realize that I was genuine in my approach and that they truly were the number one thing on my mind," Penner said. "If I give you all the tools I can for you to be the best you can be at your job, then our patients will get the best possible team and staff that they can. I really tried to live that mentality."