Edward-Elmhurst CEO retiring after 28 years at hospital helm

Pam Davis, the longtime leader who helped transform Edward Hospital in Naperville from a small regional facility to a major medical center, on Thursday announced plans to retire effective June 30, 2017.

Davis, 67, who has spent more than 28 years leading Edward and recently became system CEO of both Edward and Elmhurst Hospital, said in a written statement, "It is difficult to adequately express how wonderful these years have been for me."

Ron Schubel, chairman of the Edward-Elmhurst board, praised Davis for being "a catalyst for so many advancements in health care in this region and beyond."

Davis has been a key player in Edward Hospital's growth in fields of nursing, cardiac care and cancer care, along with its merger with Elmhurst Hospital.

In 2004, Davis and Edward Hospital President & CEO Bill Kottmann received national attention when they helped uncover corruption in state government during the Edward Plainfield Hospital application process that led to the conviction of several political operatives and ultimately the imprisonment of former governor Rod Blagojevich.

She was chosen ABC World News "Person of the Week" for her undercover work with the FBI, and received the Naperville Citizens Appreciate Public Safety Public Service Award for exceptional service to the community "for her courage and integrity in taking a personal stand against corruption."

Stepping up when Davis retires will be Mary Lou Mastro, who has more than 35 years of experience working in hospitals. Mastro, 62, will replace Davis as CEO on July 1, and the two will serve as co-CEOs from Jan. 1 to June 30 to make the transition.

After Davis steps down, she will continue as CEO emeritus through the end of 2017.

Mastro joined Edward in 1988 and has held several operational and management roles. She has served as president of Linden Oaks at Edward and is now president and CEO of Elmhurst Hospital.

Pamela Dunley, meanwhile, will become president and CEO of Elmhurst Hospital effective Jan. 1. Dunley, 60, has served as the chief operating officer/chief nursing officer of Elmhurst for the past 10 years.

Davis joined Edward Hospital in 1988 and helped it grow into half of the Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare system that now employs roughly 8,500 people and has annual revenues near $1.3 billion.

Edward Hospital now is the largest employer in the city of Naperville, said Christine Jeffries, president of the Naperville Development Partnership.

"It's a huge economic engine to the city and it wasn't always. It started off kind of small," Jeffries said. "It was probably one of the greatest institutions that knew how to grow with the city."

Jeffries said Davis' vision has kept the hospital at the forefront of trends such as single-occupancy rooms for patients and comprehensive mental health care.

"When I took this job, the first few years were the most difficult of my career," Davis said in a statement. "I was young and impatient and had lots of ideas. After some settling in, our physicians and staff bought into the vision - to become the best provider in the region."

Co-workers and community partners throughout Davis' career have recognized the rare balance she strikes between being a tough business leader and a caring person at heart.

"Pam's biggest asset is her ability to take calculated risks and succeed where others may shy away," Mastro said. "She is fearless and tenacious and has tremendous integrity."

If Davis thought it was a risk to make Edward the title sponsor of a new marathon when it came to Naperville in 2013, she never let it show. Race Director Dave Sheble said Davis was fully behind what's become the Healthy Driven Naperville Marathon and Half Marathon from the time she heard the idea.

"It was quite an honor to even meet her, given her background, her leadership and what she's been able to accomplish," Sheble said. "It's phenomenal what she has been able to do at Edward and making it the world-class health facility it is."

Her dealings with the Naperville Fire Department all have been positive, too, helping make the hospital a true asset to the community, said Division Chief Andy Dina. He called Davis a "kindhearted, good person" who will "definitely be missed."

Pam Davis plans to retire at the end of June 2017 after a 28-year career as CEO of Edward Hospital including a few years as system CEO of Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare.

Pam Davis: A look back

A look back at some of the accomplishments during the Pam Davis era at Edward Hospital in Naperville and Elmhurst Hospital:

1988: Opens Edward Health & Fitness Center, first medically based fitness center in DuPage County.

1991: Opens first all-private inpatient rooms in Illinois.

1999: Purchases Linden Oaks Hospital.

2000: Opens first pediatric emergency department in DuPage County.

2002: Creates first-of-its-kind Heart Hospital.

2002: Begins Animal-Assisted Therapy program, one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation.

2005: Achieves Magnet Status for Nursing Excellence at Edward Hospital (also in 2010 and 2014).

2005: Opens 40,000-square-foot Edward Cancer Center.

2006: Establishes Plainfield campus.

2009: Develops world-class stroke care through an affiliation with Northwestern Medicine.

2011: Founds Illinois Health Partners accountable care organization with DuPage Medical Group.

2012: Opens first Walk-In Clinic in Jewel-Osco.

2012: Opens first Ronald McDonald Family Room in Illinois.

2013: Oversees successful merger between Edward and Elmhurst hospitals.

2013: Opens 32,000-square-foot Center for Cancer Care on Elmhurst Hospital campus (now the Nancy W. Knowles Cancer Center).

2015: Achieves Magnet Status for Nursing Excellence at Elmhurst Hospital.

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