Tuesday, February 13, 2018

EIRMC, HCA announce annual Award of Distinction winners

Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and its parent company, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) have announced their annual Awards of Distinction. These awards are intended to honor exceptional individuals whose work and lives reflect the corporate values upon which HCA is founded.

Dr. Michael Lemon
Frist Humanitarian Award (Physician) – Michael Lemon, D.O., general and trauma surgeon

Dr. Michael Lemon is a board-certified general and trauma surgeon who has been a member of the EIRMC medical staff since 2013. He quickly built a reputation as an excellent clinician and in January 2016 was asked to chair the Department of Surgery. His positive influence and leadership have helped to improve the culture in the operating room, engage physicians in operational decisions, launch improved patient care programs, and to recruit new physicians to our area.

In addition to his dedication to patients, Lemon has demonstrated exceptional commitment to community and global service. He serves as a Scout advisor in the Grand Teton Council of the Boy Scouts of America, working with boys age 12 to 14 years, including several boys with special needs. He spends two hours with the boys each week, goes on campouts every other month, and attends a weeklong summer camp each year.

On the global front, Lemon was a founding board member of ZimbabWEcare, a non-profit, all volunteer organization with 100 percent of funds going towards providing health and humanitarian services to people in southern Africa. In addition to his role as founder, he has been a board member, medical director, and was the first and only physician to embark on the inaugural mission to Zimbabwe in 2014. Lemon has continued to make yearly trips to Zimbabwe to provide necessary medical treatment, prescribe medication, and provide medical supplies, clothing, and food to the people. This is done through clinics set up in fields, under trees, and out of the back of vehicles, in the most remotest areas of Zimbabwe.

As a trauma surgeon, Lemon’s skill set has been uniquely valuable when the team has happened upon bus rollovers, car accidents, burn victims and even the resuscitation of a lifeless newborn infant.

As a Frist Award winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Lemon’s name to his charity of choice, ZimbabWEcare.

Nicole Willey
Frist Humanitarian Award (Employee) — Nicole Willey, R.N., Ambulatory Surgery

Nicole Willey is a Registered Nurse in the Ambulatory Surgery Department at EIRMC. As a member of the EIRMC team, she maintains a high level of selflessness while being a model employee. She is described as having outstanding leadership potential, and being caring, compassionate and a humanitarian.

Willey has dedicated over 15 years to the Hugh O’Brian Youth (HOBY) program, dedicated to teaching leadership skills to high school sophomores in addition to instilling in them an attitude of service and innovation. She has been instrumental to the growth of HOBY in Idaho and also serves on the national planning team for volunteers across the nation. She recruits and trains volunteers, plans activities and retreats, and leads staff in addition to working on the front lines directly with the youth.

Willey even opens up her home to youth in the community, providing a safe space to hang out, and is even available for 2 a.m. phone calls. She serves as a volunteer with Watersprings Church through a program called “Thrive,” working with troubled youth.

As a Frist Award winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Nicole’s name to her charity of choice, Old Faithful Christian Ranch.

Chaz Houpt and Milli
Volunteer Frist Humanitarian Award – Chaz Houpt and Milli, Pet Partners Team

Chaz Houpt and Milli have been volunteers at EIRMC since 2012, and have volunteered nearly 600 hours during that time. Milli, a corgi and Intermountain Therapy Animal, and Chaz make up a Pet Partner team and spend their time visiting with patients, often playing an active role in their recovery.

At the EIRMC Behavioral Health Center for example, Milli and Chaz participate in weekly planned group therapy sessions. Adolescent and adult patients are able to interact with her, ask her to do tricks, and draw comfort from her. Many long-term patients get to see Milli for several weeks and look forward to her visits.

Besides the BHC, Chaz and Milli spend time at the main hospital campus with speech and physical therapy patients and pediatric patients. In addition to their work at EIRMC, Chaz and Milli visit residents in area retirement communities. Chaz has served on the Crime Stoppers board for 30 years, a group that works with county and city law enforcement and community informants to solve crimes. He also volunteers with the Field of Honor, which honors veterans with a display of over 1,000 flags each Memorial Day. Milli was awarded the AKC Distinguished Therapy Dog Award in 2017 and the Silver Medallion Working Dog, the highest honors a dog can receive.

Together, Chaz and Milli participated in a Therapy Animal Intervention Pilot Study, published in the Human Animal Bond Research Institution Research Library, which studied gave weight to the positive effects of therapy animals in physical therapy.

As a Frist Award winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Chaz and Milli’s names to their charity of choice, the Intermountain Therapy Animals.

Bevan Burnell
Excellence in Nursing, Professional Mentoring – Bevan Burnell, BSN, RN, CEN, manager of Perioperative Services

Bevan Burnell is the manager of Perioperative Services, a role he has held since 2016, but his history at EIRMC stretches back to 2003. Bevan has held positions in Cardiac Care, Float Pool, and the ER and now in Surgical Services. He started as a CNA and has continually pursued higher education earning first his LPN, then associate RN, followed by his Bachelors of Science in Nursing RN in 2017. Bevan has plans to pursue an MBA in 2018. As the manager of Perioperative Services, Bevan has lead his department to reach new heights by not only improving both patient satisfaction, but by strengthening his team and employee morale. Bevan was nominated by two of his employees for this award, who each shared touching accounts of the ways that Bevan has created a strong and supportive team, and encouraged them reach new heights as individual healthcare professionals.

One nominator shared, “This summer I started feeling like I needed a change in my career. I noticed an opening in Bevan’s department.  After meeting with him and getting specifics, I felt that the move was what I needed. I am so glad that I did.  Being in this department, I have seen what a true leader Bevan has become. He has changed a struggling department into a wonderful place to work.” After seeing potential in one of his nursing staff, Bevan encouraged her to take on leadership roles and helped her to find confidence in her skillset despite her own doubts. She says, “He told me he believed in me even if I didn’t believe in myself. That simple statement changed my life.”

As an Excellence in Nursing winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Bevan's name to his charity of choice, the Haven Shelter.

Tamara Lewis
Excellence in Nursing, Compassionate Care – Tamara Lewis, RN Cardiac and Progressive Care Unit

Tamara Lewis has been a member of the EIRMC team for 10 years. Though she is now a registered nurse on the cardiac unit, Tamara started out in the IT (Informational Technology) department. Throughout her career, no matter her role, Tamara has always been a compassionate patient advocate as evidenced by her multiple Daisy, Nursing Excellence, Award Nominations through the years. Time and time again patients, patient families, and coworkers have shared experiences where Tamara has shown exceptional respect, understanding, and compassion towards her patients, while also demonstrating exceptional patient care abilities. One patient’s family member shared an experience where Tamara exceeded her expectations by working closely with the patient to explain the importance of rehabilitation and a no-salt diet to his cardiac health, despite his reluctance to change his life style. The family member said, “She truly made a difference in my father’s recovery and future health. Thank you.”

As an Excellence in Nursing winner, EIRMC will make a donation in Tamara’s name to her charity of choice, FREEMED.

Monday, February 12, 2018

INL wins Green Spirit Award for transportation program

Idaho National Laboratory buses lined up and ready to roll.
The American Bus Association (ABA) Environmental Committee has selected Idaho National Laboratory as a winner of the 2018 Green Spirit Award in the “special recognition” category. This award is given to companies that demonstrate the greatest commitment to environmental stewardship in all areas of its business and community.

ABA is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motor coach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services.

The Green Spirit Award, co-sponsored by leading bus manufacturer Motor Coach Industries (MCI), is based on three aspects of a company’s operations: administrative, maintenance, and equipment and facility practices. INL was among three winners of the award from across the nation, along with Badger Coaches of Madison, Wisconsin, and Premier Transportation of Dallas, Texas.

INL Transportation Services – which operates the largest bus and light vehicle fleet in the U.S. Department of Energy complex – has long been a supporter of investigation into improving sustainability of bus and vehicle systems. INL pursues ongoing efforts to conserve fuel, including a stringent idle reduction program. Drivers and mechanics attend annual driver safety training, which incorporates fuel-efficient driving techniques into classroom and on-the-job training.

Further reductions in petroleum fuels are anticipated through the implementation of a “no-idle” battery electric auxiliary power unit (APU) with a high performance solar energy system on INL buses. With funding support from the Department of Energy’s Sustainability Performance Office, INL formed a working partnership with Bergstrom, Inc., a prominent cab climate systems designer/builder, and Motor Coach Industries, to design and modify a bus cooling-ventilating system to sharply reduce idle emissions. In August 2017, a pilot proof-of-concept no-idle HVAC project was completed with the installation of the Bergstrom battery electric APU with solar, and motor coach industry representatives attended a demonstration and technical review at the Energy Innovation Laboratory. The system is now being tested on INL fleet vehicles.

ABA presented the award to leaders of INL's Mission Support Services Division, which manages Transportation Services, at the association’s annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Jan. 29.

“We are truly honored to receive this award from our peers in the motor coach industry,” said Scott Wold, INL Mission Support Services director. “The award recognizes INL for many years of investment in environmentally responsible equipment and the adoption of green business practices, including collaboration with the motor coach industry to find cleaner, more energy-efficient technology.”

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Former councilman hired by Idaho Falls for accounting position

David Smith
Former Idaho Falls City Councilman David Smith has joined the city of Idaho Falls’ accounting team, filling a budgeted position the Municipal Services Department that had been vacant.

The job’s focus is on supporting accounting functions for the electric utility, and although the position reports to the city controller in the Municipal Services Department, Idaho Falls Power pays the salary and benefits from the city’s enterprise fund.

A certified public accountant, Smith has more than 30 years of accounting, auditing, tax, and business consulting experience, with a professional focus on forensic accounting. He was appointed to the Idaho Falls City Council in 2015, and served until January. During his time on the council, he served as liaison to Idaho Falls Power and also on the Policy Makers Council for the American Public Power Association.

Idaho Falls Power and Municipal Services began evaluating the accounting needs for the utility in summer 2017 and recommended in early October that a senior accountant be hired. The job description was finalized in early November and the position was advertised regionally in mid-November, closing on December 15.

Including Smith, there were six applicants who applied for the position, none of whom were internal candidates. The selection committee identified three candidates to advance to the interview process. Due to the holidays, interviews were scheduled in mid-January, with a job offer made to Smith shortly thereafter.

The city does not have a policy with respect to hiring past City Council members, said Bear Prairie, assistant general manager for Idaho Falls Power, who represented the utility on the interviewing panel. “(The) standard hiring protocols were followed, with the objective of hiring the most qualified candidate. We interviewed other qualified CPAs, but no one had his (Smith's) level of experience.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Auditorium district hires new executive director

Brian 'Chip' Scott
The Idaho Falls Auditorium District’s board of directors has hired Brian “Chip” Scott as its new executive director.

In his new role, Scott is responsible for the operations and management of the district, with is funded by a tax on hotel guest stays in the greater Idaho Falls area.

According to a news release from the district, Scott has served as vice president of operations for the Memphis in May International Festival, production director for Bumbershoot, the Seattle Music and Arts Festival, and booking and marketing director for a 14,000-seat arena in North Carolina.

Scott also has experience in fund-raising, project management and public relations. He holds a bachelor of science degree in recreation from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Radford University in Virginia.

The auditorium district was established by vote in 2011, and is involved in the planning of an events center slated to be built on ground in the Snake River Landing development on Idaho Falls’ south side. Board meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at the Business Development Center, 425 N. Capital Ave. For more information, visit www.idahofallsauditoriumdistrict.com.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Real estate marketing numbers show slight cooldown in 2017

The numbers for 2017 are finally in from the Snake River Multiple Listing Service, which keeps track of home sales and prices for eastern Idaho.

The results for Bonnneville County show a market that has slowed down somewhat, but it would be hard to keep the pace of 2016, the most go-go year ever.

Here’s what the number crunching reveals …

Homes Sold: 1,986 in 2016, 1,766 in 2017, a decline of 11 percent.

Average Days on Market: 57 in 2016, 48 in 2017. Homes were selling faster on average.

Median Price: $163,783 in 2016, $174,527 in 2017. Homes were selling for more.

New Listings: 2,663 in 2016, 2,426 in 2017.

If these numbers suggest anything to me, is that 2016 was a year in which a lot of inventory got unloaded while 2017 was healthy and still a seller’s market.

For the sake of historical perspective, let’s take a look at 2006, the biggest year before the crash.

Homes Sold: 1,788
Average Days on Market: 95
Median Price: $143,717
New Listings: 1,863

And, lastly, here are the numbers from 2011, which represents rock bottom.

Homes Sold: 987
Average Days on Market: 110
Median Price: $133,879
New Listings: 2,049

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Idaho Falls airport director leaving for new job in Hawaii

Idaho Falls Regional Airport Director Craig Davis has announced he is resigning from his position, to take a job with the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Airports Division of the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Davis has been airport director since October 2012.

Under his tenure, the airport has passed the annual FAA safety inspection with zero discrepancies – the highest rating a commercial airport can receive. The rating also came with comments and accolades for IDA’s efficiency, management and overall safety. It has requested and received multiple federal grants for airport improvements and expansions: $2.5 million for the south terminal expansion, $2.4 million for the south quad ramp expansion, $2.3 million for the commercial ramp expansion and de-icing pad, $9 million for the Taxiway A, C and Runway 2/20 rehabilitation project, and $3.6 million for the baggage claim expansion project, which will take place this summer.

The airport operates from the city’s enterprise fund as a financially self-sustaining entity. In 2016, new revenue streams were created for the airport by adding three new corporate hangars and a new Enterprise Rent-a-car storage and maintenance facility. Other accomplishments include a successful Runway 17/35 Planning Study that will result in maintaining the runway use and increase safety. IDA also extended its aircraft rescue and specialized aircraft firefighting to 24-hour coverage, making it much safer for pilots who must land after-hours.

Davis oversaw the launch of IDA’s rebranding project, part of a comprehensive air service-marketing plan aimed at increasing awareness of the airport’s offerings within the community.

“While I am very sad to see him go, I am very happy to have had his expertise and leadership here at the city serving to build our airport over these past six years,” Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said. “Craig worked tirelessly to attract and expand flights to the area, including new flights to Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul, recently striking a tentative deal with Alaska Airlines to begin a non-stop flight to Seattle. He knew that bringing competition to the IDA marketplace could result in lower airfares.”