Ressler named new CEO of Aspen Valley Hospital
The Aspen Times
Aspen Valley Hospital’s board of directors on Monday unanimously approved the hiring of Dave Ressler as its chief executive officer.
Ressler, who served as the hospital’s CEO from 2004 to 2013, will rejoin the medical facility Sept. 26. His compensation package includes an annual salary of $402,000, hospital housing and the potential for a performance bonus.
His salary is in the 50th percentile of hospital executive directors, board member David Eisenstat said at the special meeting that was publicly announced Friday. Based on his performance, Ressler could become eligible for a raise that would put in him the 75th percentile of the marketplace, Eisenstat told the board.
Reached Tuesday, Ressler said he learned of the opening in January, when CEO Dan Bonk announced his resignation. At the time, applying for the job wasn’t in his family’s best interests, he said. His son was a junior in high school then, and his daughter had just started college, he said.
Now that his son is a senior in Tucson, Arizona, where he’ll finish out high school, Ressler said he felt the timing was right to apply for the job.
Helping his cause was the search for a CEO that didn’t yield candidates satisfactory to the hospital.
“Frankly, as the process began, people were saying, ‘Let’s get another David Ressler,’” board member Chuck Frias said.
He added: “We had a number of candidates, but many had to decline.” That partly was because the identities of the final three candidates were required under law to be made public. Aspen is a public hospital that is supported in part by a mill levy, and its board of directors is elected by voters in the hospital district.
The hospital’s effort to find a new CEO, led by its search committee and the headhunting firm Witt/Kieffer, suspended the search in early August after Ressler expressed interest in the post in July.
“We were starting to break down the finalists, and frankly there was no one with the capacity and background that Dave Ressler had,” Frias said.
Ressler left Aspen Valley Hospital in 2013 to return to Tucson, where he had previously worked in the health care industry. His newest job was serving as chief strategy officer of Tucson Medical Center starting in May 2013 and becoming its chief operating officer in January 2014. He joined Community Care Alliance, which includes Aspen Valley Hospital among its members, in Grand Junction as CEO in 2015. His recent focus has been on accountable care organizations, which are health care providers that cater to Medicare patients.
“To me, this is the best independent hospital in the country,” Ressler said of the Aspen hospital. “And to come back and work with the board and team of providers was something I couldn’t possibly turn down.”
Ressler said he considers Aspen home.
“We felt very much part of the community” when his family lived here previously, he said. “We lived in town, our kids went to school here, we went to church, and I was with the Rotary and chamber. I think what we realized is when we thought we were going home (Tucson), we had left home. This was an opportunity to come back home.”
Ressler currently resides in Grand Junction, while his wife, a former teacher in the Aspen School District, lives in Tucson with their son.