OHSU Appoints New Vice President For Human Resources

05/04/05    Portland, Ore.

Oregon Health & Science University has selected Rick Bentzinger as vice president for human resources to develop a strategic plan for hiring, keeping and training employees during a time of unprecedented growth for the university.

"Our employees are OHSU's most valuable resources," Bentzinger said. "This is a great opportunity for me, and I am very excited to help guide OHSU as the organization grows and changes over the next years to meet the state's diverse health and education needs."

Bentzinger will work with OHSU leadership to transform the university's approach to managing human resources. He will develop a strategic plan to recruit, retain and develop the talent required to meet the goal of being one of the nation's top health and science institutions. Bentzinger envisions OHSU moving toward a more decentralized and strategic approach to human resources, while continuing the organization's effort to streamline and simplify basic human resources transactions. He will report to OHSU chief administrative officer Steve Stadum.

"We are delighted that Rick has agreed to lead our human resources effort at a time of tremendous growth and change for OHSU," Stadum said. "Rick brings many skills and attributes to the table, including leadership, strategic thinking, organizational development, recruitment and labor relations. Rick will strengthen our overall employee relations programs through improvements to the human resources department."

With 11,500 employees, OHSU already is Portland's largest employer and the university is expanding. Under construction at OHSU are two buildings on Marquam Hill and one in the South Waterfront that together will add more than 1 million square feet of space for physician practices, inpatient care, research laboratories and education during the next two years. Through its expansion into South Waterfront, OHSU plans to add as many as 6,000 new employees during the next decade.

"The impetus for recruitment and the elevation of human resources to a vice president-level position comes with the recognition that strong human resources are key to OHSU's success," said OHSU President Peter O. Kohler, M.D. "We are asking our human resources department to move toward a customer service model that is responsive to our employees' requests for information and assistance on payroll, benefits and other issues of concern, as well as to our strategic agenda.

"Human resources also is working to help employees build supportive work environments through seminars on leadership training, building and sustaining positive work relationships, respect in the workplace, and interpersonal communications."

OHSU leadership is seeking more involvement from employees in administrative and decision-making processes by bringing together groups of faculty, union-represented employees, and management to provide input on a variety of issues, Kohler said. "And the hospital is reaching out to employees through a variety of initiatives, including a complete restructuring of patient care services; establishment of a magnet hospital committee to pursue magnet status for our hospitals and clinics; creation of a nursing management and Unit Based Nursing Practice Councils leadership group to discuss clinical nursing issues; and seeking ideas from employees to improve quality performance while being good stewards of our budget."

Bentzinger has 25 years of experience in a variety of high-level human resources and management positions in privately held and Fortune 500 corporations. Most recently, he was vice president of human resources at the Danaher Corp. in Washington, D.C., where he led corporate-wide human resources initiatives for the $7 billion global manufacturer of process and environmental controls.

At Danaher, Bentzinger oversaw all benefits and compensation programs for more than 35,000 associates; developed human resources strategies for acquisition due diligence/integration; and oversaw labor contract negotiation plans and strategies, senior level appointments, and organizational development and change initiatives.

Prior to becoming the corporate vice president for human resources at Danaher, Bentzinger was vice president of human resources for the company's Motion Group, a Danaher operating company in Simsbury, Conn. There, he led a 60-person human resources team for Danaher Motion's $900 million global business group.

In 1998 Bentzinger joined Colfax Corp., a pre-initial public offering industrial products manufacturing company, as vice president of human resources for the company's Power Transmission Group based in Quincy, Mass.

Bentzinger also has held various human resources positions at Mack Molding Co. in Vermont, Bank of Boston, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New England, and Frito-Lay.

Bentzinger received his bachelor's in psychology/sociology from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and took graduate courses in clinical psychology at St. Louis University.

Bentzinger, a Fairfield, Iowa, native, has relocated to Portland with his wife, Carolyn, and their three sons, Sam, 10, and Jake and Josh, both 5.