Fifteen years was 12 years longer than Scott Taylor, CEO of St. Catherine Hospital and Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital, ever expected to remain at his post.
Taylor said the plan was for it to be a three-year job.
"I just fell in love with the place, and the rest is history," he said.
Taylor began at St. Catherine in June 2005. His final day is July 1, which marks 15 years and one month that he has served as CEO of the hospital.
Taylor, a native of Big Spring, Texas, said his father helped him figure out his future career path when he asked what Taylor wanted to be when he grew up.
"I said, ’I don’t really know, but I like chemistry, I like biology and I like math,’ " he said. "He said, ’Have you even thought about being a pharmacist?’ "
Taylor didn’t know what a pharmacist did, so his father drove him down to the local pharmacy.
"I walked in and along one whole wall was the pharmacy section and it had the mortars and pestles and vials and I was just like 'wow.’ Then I looked to the other side of the pharmacy and it was a soda fountain with bar stools," he said. "I went 'end of discussion, I want to be a pharmacist.' I can work with chemicals and have all the ice cream and malts. I want to be a pharmacist."
That first trip stuck with him, and throughout high school, so did his desire to be a pharmacist, Taylor said. The local pharmacist became his mentor.
Taylor graduated from Big Spring High School in 1976. Following high school, he studied at junior college for one year, then attended Texas Tech before transferring to Southwestern Oklahoma State, where he received a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy.
At first, Taylor thought he would work in retail pharmacy or community pharmacy, but when he was a senior, he looked at the job boards and found a job at a women’s and children’s hospital in Odessa, Texas. It was close to home, so he gave it a shot.
He loved it, Taylor said.
The job introduced Taylor to hospital administration, he said. He worked his way up in the hospital system, from staff pharmacist to director of pharmacy and then was asked to take on several other departments.
Taylor found a knack for overseeing the other departments and decided to go back to school to get his master’s in health care administration and to pursue administration as a full-time job.
He received his master’s degree in health care administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
His background in pharmacy has been beneficial to his career as an administrator, Taylor said. He can understand clinicians and doctors when they speak about what they need and why they need it.
St. Catherine has expanded during his tenure. Taylor said some of the highlights with which he has been involved include the Cancer Center, the construction of the new patient towers and work in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Other milestones include:
• Establishment of the Heart Center and bringing cardiology to Garden City in 2008.
• Joining with Centura Health in 2012.
• Opening of the Convenient Care Clinic in 2016.
• Development of hospitalist and intensivist services.
• Establishment of Acute Rehabilitation.
• Creation of affiliations with Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital, Dodge City Medical Center and Plaza Medical Center in Garden City.
• Doubling the size of the medical staff.
He also is proud of the development of department directors at the hospital, having hired many, if not all, of them.
"Watching them grow and develop is obviously a source of pride," he said.
Taylor said he’s going to miss working at the hospital, particularly the teamwork, camaraderie, collaboration and development of the next generation of health care leaders.
Now is the right time for him to retire, both personally and professionally, Taylor said.
Professionally, it’s a perfect time for St. Catherine, Taylor said. After 15 years, the institutions starts to take on the personality of the CEO and adopts that person’s strengths and weaknesses, he said.
It’s time for a fresh perspective and a fresh leadership team, Taylor said — someone to take what has been built and take it further.
Personally, Taylor’s plan has always been to retire early at 62, he said.
His father died less than a year after he took early retirement at 62 and Taylor has told himself that he’s not going to be that guy. He wants to enjoy life, so 62 has always been his number.
He and his wife, Lisa, want to move closer to their daughter, Ashley, son-in-law, Derek, and grandson, Grayson, who live in Odessa.
They want to be involved in their grandson’s life, especially as he will be entering school and getting involved in activities.
"We really want to be there for him and to see him grow," he said. "Now seemed like the perfect time."
Taylor and his wife are moving to the town of Granbury, Texas, just outside Fort Worth.
Taylor also plans to be more involved with the Catholic church.
"I've been a big supporter of the church, but normally through writing them a check because I've been so busy as CEO," he said. "Now, I can get a little more involved in the church activities. We're looking forward to that."
He also plans to continue his learning, perhaps becoming a sommelier and picking up the guitar again, which he played when he was younger.
Taylor advises the next CEO of St. Catherine to "continue that and continue to push and continue to grow. Take care of it and it will take care of you."