By Linda Andersen
I really enjoy the fact that I can walk home for lunch,” said Ashley Rivera, new CEO/CFO of the Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center, as he pointed out his office window to a blue house.
“I’ve fallen in love with the community and people,” added Rivera, who noted that the people of Hallock have been “warm, kind, and welcoming.” He’s observed that people here commonly wave in greeting and he is starting to do the same.
President of the Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center board, Jon Blomquist, offered some comment on the board’s choosing of Rivera for the positions saying the board clearly saw Rivera’s “intellect and abilities” through his resume and, then as they became more acquainted with him, also saw “passion and intensity.”
“I’m a Florida boy,” said Rivera, who was born in Puerto Rico, but grew up in and graduated from a university in Florida. He earned a B.S. degree in business management from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and master’s and doctorate degrees in business administration from Grand Canyon University in Arizona. Recent health administration roles have included serving as CEO/CFO at We Care of Central Florida and CFO at Central Florida Healthcare.
How did Rivera become interested in healthcare? He said he volunteered at hospitals when he was in high school, acquiring experience in many departments.
Rivera is married to Shannon and has two daughters, Addison and Emory. Another daughter is due in July. Shannon attended Southeastern University on a basketball scholarship and the two met at the school on the basketball court.
Their place of meeting is not surprising since Rivera lists basketball as one of his loves. “I love playing basketball; I love Super Hero stuff; I love cars,” he said. He also enjoys running, spending time with his family, and traveling with his wife.
What does he enjoy about the healthcare profession? “It’s always changing, always something new and different; impacting patient’s lives and making a difference,” he answered.
Regarding goals for the center, Rivera said they are currently assessing the needs of the staff and community so they can “position themselves to do the very best for the community and our patients.”
He said rural healthcare must constantly “adapt” to changes and regulations and “do more with less.”
Blomquist added comment on the goals of the board. “The board simply wants to staff this facility with people best aligned with their core strengths. As that happens, culture changes in a positive way, which bodes well for all involved.”
Rivera noted that when he initially visited the community, people encouraged him to come, telling him that the area is a great place in which to live and raise a family. The Rivera Family is finding that estimation of the community to be true as they have been getting involved with the community and accepting invitations into people’s homes.
Does Rivera know about Minnesota winters? “I have come through a winter,” he said, mentioning that he once worked for Essentia Health in Duluth as director of volunteer services for the East region.
Jon Blomquist offered optimistic words on the future of the Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center with Rivera at the helm: “We’re thrilled to have him, excited for the future of the facility.”
By Linda Andersen