The Klingelsmith File
- MSL Healthcare Partners Inc., Barrington, Ill., consultant.
- Premier Inc., Charlotte, N.C., senior facilities consultant.
- Athens Regional Medical Center, Athens, Ga., director of facilities management.
- Lee Memorial Health System, Fort Myers, Fla., system director of plant operations.
- ASHE past president.
- Florida Healthcare Engineering Association past president.
- National Fire Protection Association Healthcare Section member.
- American Hospital Association Certification Center past board member.
- FASHE and SASHE designations.
- Certified Healthcare Facility Manager.
- Master of business administration, Nova University, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
- Associate of Applied Science, air conditioning technology, State University of New York, Alfred, N.Y.
Wayne Klingelsmith, FASHE, CHFM, MBA, principal at MSL Healthcare Partners, is this year’s American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) Crystal Eagle Leadership Award recipient. This month, he talks with HFM about his career and years of serving in leadership roles with ASHE as well as in his local chapters.
Why did you decide to switch careers from managing health care facilities to now working as a consultant?
I certainly enjoyed my almost 30-year career as a health care facility manager. While in high school, I worked for my dad, who was a residential and small commercial plumbing contractor, until I went to college for my associate degree in air conditioning technology. Because of that background, I’ve always had a good connection with the technicians and mechanics I’ve worked with and enjoyed troubleshooting the many issues that we faced in the hospital. I loved working with folks in other departments and the feeling that we were all part of a team taking the best care of our patients, visitors and staff. However, as my daily “to-do” list grew while spending the majority of my time going from meeting to meeting in the hospital, an ad for a health care facility consultant caught my attention, and I moved into consulting about 15 years ago.
As a consultant, I’ve worked with health care organizations in many of the same areas that I had responsibility for as a facility manager (without all of the meetings) including justifying and/or assisting in how to “right-size” full-time equivalents, developing policies and procedures, and updating and assisting with annual management plan evaluations. I also help to maintain the statement of conditions, make life safety assessments, and educate and train staff. Another aspect of my role is helping facilities track energy usage by inputting information into the ENERGY STAR® portfolio manager. Regulatory compliance is also top of mind for clients, so I perform mock surveys for The Joint Commission and DNV-GL compliance.
This work has allowed me to feel like I’m part of the team at many different facilities, working on the nitty-gritty of code compliance while helping them be high-reliability organizations and consistently survey-ready.
When did you join ASHE, and what are some of the ways you’ve contributed to the organization?
Although I joined ASHE in 1978, my initial volunteer efforts were as a member of the Florida Healthcare Engineering Association (FHEA), where I chaired the development of the Certified Healthcare Engineer (CHE) program and later as FHEA president.
I became involved with ASHE in the early ’90s serving and chairing numerous committees, including facilities, environmental, APEx, recognition and others. I was elected to the ASHE Board representing Region 4 from 1997-2000 and then as ASHE president-elect, president and immediate past president from 2001-2003. One of the most fulfilling periods was as chairperson of the team developing the initial Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM) exam in 2000. We found it easy to come up with good questions but difficult to find plausible but definitely incorrect answers for the multiple choice CHFM examination.
How has your involvement in ASHE influenced your career?
Early in my career, I found the conferences provided by the FHEA and ASHE critical to learning the business of health care facilities management.
With my involvement on committees and in governance, I continued to learn while also experiencing the satisfaction of helping others grow in our profession. Even after moving into consulting in 2005, I worked with hospital engineers and vendors in Louisiana and East Tennessee to help reestablish ASHE chapters.
My wife and I also built great relationships with other ASHE members over the years, and we’ve vacationed annually with four ASHE couples since 2006. Sadly, we lost one of them, Mike Blackwood of Wisconsin, this past December.
During my tenure as president, ASHE developed a relationship with the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society (CHES). Gordon Burrill, who was CHES president at that time, joined ASHE and has been an active member and speaker for ASHE, as well as the individual who nominated me for this award!
What are some ways you’ve seen the organization evolve over the years?
We initially saw ASHE and related chapters as tools to help members understand health care-related codes and grow in their profession. However, because of Doug Erickson and other industry leaders, we turned our attention to also include representation in the codes and standards development process and now have ASHE members on many National Fire Protection Association committees as well as those of other codes- and standards-making organizations.
In addition, the online member community My ASHE at my.ashe.org has developed into an excellent forum for ASHE members to get questions answered on anything having to do with health care facilities management.
What advice or encouragement would you give those entering the field who would like to be in leadership one day?
First, I would say make sure you get involved in the organizations by attending local and national meetings and conferences. I would drive two or three hours each way to attend a two-hour local chapter meeting.
You should also volunteer to be on a committee. We learn far more on committees than when we simply attend a seminar or conference.
Another step to becoming a leader would be to earn senior (SASHE) status by demonstrating a contribution to our industry through leadership, education or publishing.
My article, “Evaluation of an In-house Design and Construction Program,” earned my senior status in 1988; and the ASHE/Health Facilities Management Series document “Indoor Air Quality: A Guide for Facility Managers,” published in 1995, allowed me to attain fellow (FASHE) status.
It’s also a good idea to get a professional certification. The American Hospital Association Certification Center offers three professional certifications for our field: the CHFM, Certified Healthcare Constructor and Certified Health Care Physical Environment Worker. The latter is for hospital engineering staff and contractors working in the health care environment. I happen to hold CHFM certification #001.
What will be your next career move?
I was very fortunate to be able to join with Sue McLaughlin and Steve Spaanbroek when MSL Healthcare Partners was formed back in 2008. I officially went part-time a few years ago and look forward to full retirement in the near future. My wife and I enjoy traveling, both in our motorhome and on cruise ships. We had two cruises canceled so far this year due to COVID-19 but have two more scheduled for 2021. We hope to set sail for Antarctica and Cape Horn in January and have another planned for Iceland and Norway in June.
How does it feel to win this award?
Wow, it’s humbling! I’ve seen so many I look up to receive this award and don’t feel I deserve it for something I’ve enjoyed doing so much. It will have a place of honor in our home.