OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center Chief Financial Officer Mike Nelson (seated) will retire March 31 after 26 years. Mike is accompanied by members of his finance team: (from left) Debbie O’Dell, June Schwierjohn, Thela Wanick, Lori Vadnal, Kathy Zahner and Sabrina Cunningham.
ALTON — OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center Chief Financial Officer Mike Nelson has decided to hang up his health care hat and will retire at the end of this month.
Nelson is retiring from his role as the CFO at OSF Saint Anthony’s in Alton, after 26 years of navigating through the rapidly changing landscape of health care.
Nelson first walked the halls of Saint Anthony’s in 1990. While a lot has changed in that 26 year span, for Nelson, one thing remains the same.
“Something that has remained consistent is the focus on the patients at Saint Anthony’s,” he said. “There is a special connection with our Mission Partners and the patients that come through our doors in times of need.”
Nelson says it’s the right time for retirement; he’s looking forward to spending more time with his wife and family, traveling, and serving the community in additional capacities.
Deacon Bill Kessler is the former president and CEO of Saint Anthony’s. He hired Nelson in 1990. Kessler says he knew he had the right man for the job then, and Nelson has proven that instinct correct ever since.
“Mike is a person whose word can always be accepted and trusted,” Kessler said. “Mike was a good steward of our resources and his counsel was of inestimable value. We are blessed that Mike joined us and was such a great fit with our mission.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by current OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center President and CEO Ajay Pathak.
“He’s an incredibly valuable member of our team here, and I am proud to call him both a colleague and friend,” Pathak said. “Mike and his wonderful wife, Liz, have served the community with all their heart and many talents. Mike is tremendously dedicated to the Sisters and our community here in Alton, and embodies the mission and values of our health care ministry.”
For 90 years, Saint Anthony’s has been guided by that mission: to serve the community with the greatest care and love. It’s a core value OSF HealthCare Executive Vice President Sister M. Mikela says Nelson lives up to daily.
“The Sisters of Saint Anthony’s are grateful for Mike’s commitment and dedication to the Sisters and the mission through the thick and thin of his tenure with us,” Sister Mikela said. “We could always depend on Mike.”
She goes on to say, “What I appreciate most about my experience of Mike is his open and firm understanding of working with our patients who needed us most. His advocacy for those in need was clear, and showed his understanding of mission and service. Mike will be missed as a stable and dedicated friend.”
Stepping into the role of CFO at Saint Anthony’s is Mat Hanley. Hanley says taking the reins from Nelson is an honor, and he has a lot to live up to.
“The knowledge accumulated over 26 years will be hard to immediately replace,” Hanley said. “However, Mike has developed a fantastic team and we look forward continuing to help Saint Anthony’s and the communities we serve prosper in the years to come.”
And for Nelson, while he’s ready to walk away, it’s certainly a bittersweet departure.
“Having been at Saint Anthony’s for so long, I will look back with fondness at the many friendships made throughout the years. My prayers will continue for the ongoing success,” he said. “I’m confident that the hospital will continue to be a prominent force in the community as a major employer in the Riverbend area.”
Nelson will be honored for his contributions by his peers and friends at a farewell reception later this week. His last day at OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center is March 31.