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For the first time in over three decades, Ringgold County Hospital has come under new leadership.
Effective July 1, Joe Mangiameli took over duties as chief executive officer at RCH following the retirement of long-time CEO Gordon Winkler.
Actually, Winkler’s tenure as RCH administrator is in large part why Mangiameli chose RCH as his first hospital presidency.
“A mentor of mine by the name of Marie Knedler – she was president of a number of different hospitals in Omaha – spoke very highly of Gordon,” he said, when he asked her about a couple different opportunities he had to move into an executive officer position. “I said I was leaning toward Mount Ayr, and she said, ‘I would too. Gordon runs a really phenomenal shop. You’re going to be stepping into some big shoes, but at least everything will be running the right way.’”
Mount Ayr’s rural, small town setting also appealed to Mangiameli, who was born and raised in Elkhorn, NE.
A four-sport athlete in high school, Mangiameli joined the U.S. Army after his graduation in 1986 to earn money to go to college. After two years as a cavalry scout, he left the Army and enrolled in Eastern Kentucky University and earned a degree in business administration.
After receiving his degree and entering the business world, Mangiameli eventually made a decision that indirectly led to his coming to Ringgold County.
“I worked for Enterprise Rent-A-Car for most of that time and selling people things wasn’t my calling,” he said.
So he switched careers entirely and enrolled at Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing, where his grandmother was on the teaching faculty.
Graduating in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Mangiameli served as a cardio, intensive care, and emergency room nurse in the Methodist Health System and Alegent Health System, spending time in a number of different hospitals in the Omaha area.
In 2004, Mangiameli joined the newly-opened Lakeside Hospital on Omaha’s west side. The facility is operated by the CHI Health System, known then as Alegent Health, a network with which Mangiameli has worked for the past 18 years prior to coming to Ringgold County.
Moving through the ranks from charge nurse in the ER, Mangiameli was asked to take on the role of house supervisor at Lakeside, a position for which he was responsible for staffing, bed assignments, and managing the acute operations on a daily basis.
“I got to work with a lot of folks and really, really got to meet everybody,” he said. “I got to work in every department, and I enjoyed that. It was a small foray into hospital administration, but I didn’t have to know very much about budgets beyond budgeting staffing.”
While working full-time at Lakeside, in 2006 Mangiameli also joined the Nebraska National Guard and served as a nurse/nurse educator for one tour of duty in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan.
“9/11,” he said. “I was watching the ongoing war and I felt like I really wanted to deploy and serve.”
Mangiameli’s last position prior to coming to Ringgold County was as vice president of operations for CHI Health Clinic, a division of CHI Health.
CHI Health Clinic is a $2 billion operation with over 1,200 health care providers and 3,500 staff in Nebraska and western Iowa.
“The more I got into leadership, the more I became familiar with budgets, finances, and hospital operations,” he said.
Along with his duties for the CHI Clinic, in 2020 Mangiameli completed his PhD in Human Capital Development.
What attracted Mangiameli to Ringgold County Hospital?
“The staff,” he said without hesitation. “The folks here are engaged and seem truly enthusiastic to be here.”
Another attraction came from an unlikely source.
“The young lady at Casey’s helped sell this one,” he said. “I stopped to get gas, and she commented on my mask and carried on a conversation. She didn’t just ask me for the amount of my order. She actually cared. I thought, ‘I really want to be back in a small town, and I want to be part of a community that is glad to be around each other.’”
Mangiameli sees his main duty as hospital CEO to be a servant leader.
“To serve the staff of the hospital, the patients of the hospital, to be a servant to the community” he said. “I never ate until every soldier in my battalion had eaten. Our jobs are to take care of those we’ve been charged to take care of.”
Mangiameli and his wife Heidi bring two children each to their blended family. Their two youngest are entering their senior years in high school, so Heidi will remain with them in Omaha before joining Mangiameli in Ringgold County following their graduation next year.
Mangiameli looks forward to building relationships in Ringgold County.
“I want to thank the board and the community for the opportunity,” he said. “I’d like to get to know as many folks as I can in the community outside of the hospital. I plan on this being a very long-term role for me. If this is my terminal role, I couldn’t be happier in life. I’m very happy to be in a small community where folks are actually mindful of each other.”