This has been a busy and exciting year. It marked our 25th anniversary as an American Hospital Association Personal Membership Group. We have met or exceeded the performance metrics for 2010, including membership retention, sponsorship, conference attendance, program participation and publication sales. We relocated our conference from Nashville, Tenn., to the Washington, D.C., area due to the flooding, without loss of attendance or supplier support. And we launched a new brand and strategic plan.

The board demonstrated leadership and courage in making tough decisions. They worked tirelessly on the new brand development since last fall. The first six months of 2010 was spent consulting with the branding and public relations firm reviewing and analyzing member data, information, and focus group and interview responses. The more we reviewed, talked and analyzed, we went from considering only a logo revision to a brand makeover. While scary and unnerving, the AHE brand has been a resounding success.

We understand change is hard, but the data and information were just too compelling to ignore. The future of the profession quite literally depends on its ability to be visionary, to facilitate growth and change, and to possess the ability to adapt and be nimble. While the core remains the same, the work is about caring for the patient environment on multiple levels.

It's been exciting for us as a board to be part of an organization that shares so much passion for success. If you think about it, the symbol of the previous logo of the phoenix rising above the ashes always will be with us. We are an organization on the move again, regenerating, changing and evolving.

It has been an honor and pleasure to serve you. I would like to say thank you to the team that supported me on this three-year journey; to the members for electing me to the board (how humbling); to the board and staff for absolute faith and trust in my leadership; to my family for understanding when AHE drew attention from them; and most certainly to Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta for their unwavering support during my tenure on the board and most recently as president.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't thank our membership for their outstanding participation and support in the board elections. Even though the election was not yet over at the time of this writing, there was record turnout to the voter website.

As I pass the gavel to Gary Dolan, CHESP, I leave you in good hands. The entire governance team is committed to you and I assure you, the best is yet to come!

Fiona Nemetz, CHESP
Director of Environmental Services, Transport, Safety and Parking
Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta

Sidebar - AHE insight

Valuable resources

AHE, formerly the American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services (ASHES), offers educational materials to assist in professional development and career advancement. They include the following:

• Recommended Practice Series: Integrated Pest Management. In this first in a series of Recommended Practice documents, certified entomologists from Orkin and Western Pest Services teamed with AHE to offer a complete "how to" guide to implementing and maintaining an effective integrated pest management program in a health care facility.

• Contracting: Myths & Realities. This valuable document is now available. This publication will cover everything from outsourcing to management pitfalls. AHE re-released this manual in order to keep environmental services professionals at the top of their game. The reference includes sample surveys, budgets and task lists that will assist in making the best decisions for a health care facility's environmental services department.

For information on purchasing either of these valuable references, go to