Are you soon opening a new hospital? Is your organization in the design process?  

Then this episode of High Reliability is for you as we welcome Stephen Terrano.  Stephen is presently Director of Engineering at the Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Vassar Brothers is a member of the Nuvance Health healthcare network. 

In 2021, Vassar Brothers Medical Center completed a $550 million expansion which doubled the number of available rooms. It is a beautiful new Patient Pavilion built on the banks of the Hudson River. New hospital building openings are never smooth, and Steve and I spend a great deal of time in the podcast discussing the opportunities and challenges in opening a new building. 

What’s building with good intention?

“The first concept you have to get in your head (when opening a new building), you have to believe the building was built with all good intention. I don’t think anybody ever built anything where they said “I want to build a building that won’t work.” Nobody does that.

The challenge is, if you aren’t part of the inception, If you aren’t part of the design, you come in with a different paintbrush, and that was me here (Steve began in his role after the building had opened). I ask all sorts of questions, and if they can’t answer questions and they say “because”, that was not an answer for me.

That is what I am spending time on now, The Because List. I went to all those Because‘s because I want to find out the why (behind the Because.) When it breaks we have to make it work. We have a great team here and we are solving The Because List. Because doesn’t do anything for anybody.

Our biggest challenge (as we work through the opening) is to keep the patient safe, the employees safe, and the visitors safe. While you run a brand new building, how do you deal with hiccups?  It is all part of it,  how you respond to the issues. 

I remind people that nobody built this building with the intention of it not working, the building is built with all good intention. The hardest thing is don’t blame anybody. Fix problems, not blame. I have a sign in my office that says “In Engineering we fix the problem, not the blame.”

This is how we move forward. You can’t become defensive, nobody wants to work with somebody who is myopic or defensive.”

Listen to the whole podcast, “Opening new spaces and managing The Because List,” here.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, including one in a new hospital

Did you see our recently distributed opportunity for a Director, Planning, Design, and Construction? The Director, PDC role joins 2 Vice President roles and 3 Director of Facility Management roles. See all job opportunities here.