Survive and Thrive

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Chris Roederer, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Tampa General Hospital

Chris Roederer grew up in Fern Creek, Ky., just outside of Louisville. He comes from a family of seven, including four siblings, his parents and himself. All his family is from the Fern Creek area. He graduated Fern Creek High School, and then attended Western Kentucky University. He graduated there with a bachelor’s in public relations and an emphasis on broadcast with a minor in communications. His wanted to be a broadcaster, so he studied journalism and broadcasting and worked at several radio stations while in college. In addition to his intellectual education, he was also working as a housekeeper by the age of 14 at his mother’s nursing home, where he was in charge of doing floors. He then worked as an orderly there and later at a hospital while attending college.

After graduating college, Roederer tried finding a job in public relations or broadcasting. This was in 1979, when unemployment rates were very high. To make ends meet, he worked with his father at the home store, American Standard, which was hard work. His job was to make sinks, which required the use of an 1800-degree furnace, working all night from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 in the morning. Not only that, but he also continued to work at his mother’s nursing home as an orderly. After a while, however, he decided that he did not want that to be his job for the rest of his life, so he returned to graduate school in 1980 to study organizational communications with an emphasis on human resources.

Roederer went back to Western Kentucky. After studying for one year, he was only four classes short of his degree, but he already had four job offers from several companies, including Vesta Laboratories, Xerox, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Humana. In 1981, and Chris decided he wanted to go into healthcare, so he took the position with Humana, which was a training program to become a human resources administrator. His first job was in Orlando, which was intended to be a one-year training program. After six months, Humana offered him the position of director of human resources at 22 years old. Roederer was offered his first head of human resources (HR) job at a small hospital in Morristown, Tenn., which was his second hospital with Humana. The third hospital he worked at was in St. Petersburg, Fla., only ten months later. After three years, he transferred to a hospital in Louisville, where he worked part time as the director of HR and as an employee relations specialist for the corporate office.

The following year, Humana transferred him to a women’s hospital in Tampa, Fla.. Humana wanted him to look into the employee relations situation and union activity there. After straightening that situation out, Roederer spent three years there as a director, but soon he would have a career decision to make. St. Joseph’s Hospital was planning to buy Tampa Women’s Hospital, so he had to choose to either be unemployed or become the head of human resources at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, which was much larger hospital and the largest for-profit hospital in the country at that time. He worked there for three years until Humana asked him to go to Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, but he did not go there because of the cold weather.

While looking for other opportunities, Roederer received a phone call from a recruiter who asked him to look at a hospital in California. He took the position of vice president of Human Resources at the Eisenhower Memorial Hospital, The Betty Ford Center, the Sinatra Children’s Center and the Annenberg Center. He was the vice president for four years there.

After that assignment, he took a position doing executive compensation work for nonprofit health systems and working with boards. This would allow him time to spend with his daughter, who was growing up in Kentucky. He only had this position for a year and a half, due in part to the travel requirements. His job involved constant traveling, with over 500 flights in a year and a half and almost six days a week in transit. His area was supposed to be the southeastern United States, but he ended up travelling to places such as Oregon, San Francisco, Texas, Los Angeles, New Jersey and North Carolina.

In 1996, one of Roederer’s clients in Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center offered him the position of their first vice president of HR, where he stayed four years. He then received two job offers, one in Miami and the other at the City of Hope Clinical Cancer General in Duarte, Calif.. He was happy with his position at Moffitt but he was intrigued to work at one of the finest cancer centers in the world, so he took the position. He started out as senior vice president of HR. After over six years, his job evolved to include more responsibilities. He became chief corporate services officer, and his duties included HR, six unions, environmental services, dietary services, information technology, facilities, construction, safety, security, grounds, volunteer services and education. This covered nearly all of the support services, except finances, for the 102-building campus.

He wanted to return to Tampa when he noticed his parents were aging, so he asked around at the HR department at Tampa General Hospital (TGH) about opportunities. He already knew Ron Hytoff, the former chief executive officer of TGH, so he accepted the position of senior vice president of HR at TGH. Since then, he has stayed there for the past seven years.

In addition to his professional life, his personal life has been good, as well. He is married to Anita, a homemaker, with two sons, a daughter and their dog named Lily. He is active is his local church and because he wants to give back to the community, he is on the boards of several different organizations, including the Boy’s And Girl’s Club of Tampa, the AfterOurs Urgent Care Centers and is on the selection committee of the Outback Bowl. He is also active in fundraising for several organizations, including TGH.

One of his passions, which he works into his fundraising efforts, is his large collection of rare bourbon. He has a collection of over 120 bottles of the rarest bourbon around. He hosts bourbon tastings at his home, called Taste of Kentucky, and people from all over the world come to marvel at his collection.

Chris Roederer has a busy life and career but he loves reaching out to people. His motto is “survive and thrive.” He has made the Tampa Bay area his home for years now and he loves the area and all it has to offer. He even likes the area enough to want to end his career there.