Brad Talbert is president and CEO of Memorial Hospital. A fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, he resides in Nocatee.
As told to Maggie FitzRoy
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I received a B.A. in finance from Wofford College, a liberal arts college in Spartanburg, South Carolina. And I have a masters from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Q: What led you to pursue your career?
A: When I was in college, I worked part time as a pharmacy technician at a local hospital. Through that experience I gained a deep appreciation for the hospital environment and the healthcare industry. I knew I did not want to be a physician. I took more of a liking to the business and policy-making side of healthcare.
Q: Where did you begin your career?
A: I began in assistant administrator roles and worked my way up through the industry in multiple roles. This is the fourth hospital where I’ve been CEO. When I took my first CEO job, at a specialty hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, I was 26 years old.
Q: What are career opportunities for hospital administrators?
A: There are so many avenues of healthcare. I chose to pursue the hospital environment. There are also opportunities in the post-acute healthcare arena—skilled nursing facilities, rehab facilities, home healthcare or working for insurance companies. I chose hospitals because I like to connect with people and realized that would be a good way to do that.
Q: What is a typical day for you?
A: The beauty of this role is there is no typical day. Every day presents unique and new opportunities and no two days are the same.
Q: Who do you interact with?
A: Most definitely patients. We serve on average 465 people per day in some capacity. That is the best part of my job. I interact with physicians and community leaders, clinicians. But interacting with patients is one of the best parts of my job, hands down.
Q: When did you begin at Memorial?
A: August 2017. I came here from Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Q: Have you made changes since you came to Memorial?
A: There has been a plethora of changes, significant improvements in our quality and our overall patient experience. We have grown, investing $150 million-plus in capital investments. We’ve added new services, we’ve added new rooms. A new bed-tower with 36 beds opened early last year, as well as expansion of our emergency room. We are currently expanding operating rooms. We’ve acquired land for future growth near Nocatee and more news about that will come out later in the year. We also became a Level-2 trauma center under my watch in August 2018.
Q: When did you and your family move to Nocatee?
A: When we moved to town in 2017.
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: My wife, Jennifer, works at Palm Valley Academy as an occupational therapist. She works with kids with special needs. My two boys also go to Palm Valley Academy. Anderson is in sixth grade and McClure is in fourth grade.
Q: Any hobbies?
A: I love the outdoors and college sports, especially college football. I’m an avid Clemson Tiger fan. I love golf too, playing and watching.
Q: Tell us about your involvement with the community.
A: First and foremost, my philosophy is to give back. I serve on a number of boards and committees throughout the community, including the Jacksonville Chamber Board Executive Committee, the United Way Northeast Florida Resource Development Council, the UNF College of Health Deans Council and the Jacksonville Civil Council. I am also chairman this year of JAXUSA Partnership, the six-county economic development organization for Northeast Florida.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: In South Carolina. But we love Northeast Florida and being part of this community. What I like best about this area is the people. Jacksonville is a large city, but we all know each other. It’s a very welcoming community. It’s a very diverse and collaborative community. And I love being part of that.
Photo by Maggie FitzRoy