Several significant changes in people at various businesses and organizations can have a big impact on their constituents. Most recently, local residents have seen a change coming in its hospital administrator, county administrator/county counselor and its only locally-owned grocery store.
Ransom Memorial Hospital said farewell to Larry Felix, its longtime chief executive officer, upon his retirement. His successor, Matthew Heyn, is expected to begin work July 1. Felix was a big man — literally and figuratively — and put tremendous effort into strengthening the hospital’s offerings through facility upgrades, medical specialty expansion, good community relations and customer experience improvements. Felix was a focused individual with an eye on the bottom line as well as positive patient experiences. He was a good listener, authentic and strategic. His focus will be missed.
Franklin County soon will bid adieu to its longest-serving and most capable county administrator, Lisa Johnson. Johnson also served as county counselor and has been a smart, savvy and steadying influence in a highly visible political role. If anyone has lived in a fishbowl, Johnson would be one. She has provided great continuity in an environment that isn’t easy to do. She is a conscientious public servant who leaves exceptionally big shoes to fill. Johnson still will be in town, just a few blocks away at Ottawa University serving as director of governmental, regulatory and legal affairs. OU is lucky to get her. In a part-time interim dual-role, Don Moler, has been hired to temporarily fill the position following Johnson’s June 30 departure, while county commissioners seek successors for the two jobs.
Meanwhile, a private business owner with his fingers in almost every aspect of the community because of his big heart and unending generosity sold his store and moved on too. Gary Jones, co-owner of Ottawa’s Country Mart, sold his business to Price Chopper. Though Ottawa, eventually, is expected to have a larger grocery store, it likely won’t have the heart and soul of Jones’ operation. Jones was an enthusiastic and cheerful community-builder. He heartily invested in the community word and deed.
These are but a few recent personnel change announcements — departures that are bound to have a ripple effect throughout the community. These people’s collective efforts shouldn’t be taken for granted. Those who seem to give unconditionally are the easiest to take for granted and the most difficult to forget. We are grateful for their service and commitment to the community. Each left their organization better than they found it. It is difficult to ask for more as they move on to new adventures.
— Jeanny Sharp,
editor and publisher