Why is this man smiling? Because he believes he has the best job in the world. Thats Ray Laxton on the steps of the Duke Chapel in Durham, N.C. He runs the clinical engineering programs at world-renowned Duke University Health System as an on-site manager for ServiceMaster. Always seeking new experiences, Laxton has traveled across North America, the Middle East and Russia, bringing technology management innovations to Duke, the place he now calls home.
Are all the techs ServiceMaster employees?
No, we have a blend.
Hows that work for you?
It works fine. My philosophy is that management is the same, regardless of who employs the people. It doesnt matter whether its hospital policy that you follow or ServiceMaster policies, the fundamental management approach shouldnt change. So for us, it doesnt make a big difference if theyre on hospital or on ServiceMaster payroll.
Youve been at Duke since 1994 and theres been a couple of contract renewals, so they must like you.
So far! (laughs)
Thats a good thing. If youre a contract person and the contract is renewed, you know they see some value. That is, I think, a reaffirmation thats positive. Its a little stressful, but it is positive whenever its renewed.
Its one of the challenges that I like about contract business. Youve got to show the value, because they can always go in-house thats always a very realistic option or go with a competitor.
Yet, youve never had any problem hobnobbing with people who work for manufacturers, in-house and other ISOs in North Carolina.
No, not at all. In fact, one of the things I like about the North Carolina Biomedical Association is weve got a good blend of all of those. Even though there are companies that are technically considered competitors, I dont view them that way. Weve shared information with Premier folks, theyve shared it with us, and GE. If someone has a need, youre going to try and help them.
Obviously youve got some confidential stuff, but Ive always taken a very open approach. I put as much information as I felt comfortable with on our Web site: how were set up, what we do, why we do the things we do. Id like to see more people do that. I dont think its a trade secret.
You wrote those pages yourself?
Yeah. (chuckles) I wrote it and kind of support it. Its something I enjoy doing. Im teaching a course at the Durham Arts Council on building a Web page.
You dont have to be a Web page designer to do that?
No. If you can handle macros in spreadsheets, you can do a Web page. Its probably easier. You learn by looking at the source.
Download a few of them
Yeah. Play with it!
Like a transistor cookbook.
Speaking of sharing information, you were asked by the U.S. Information Agency to speak in Jordon about Y2k?
They had seen our Web page, believe it or not.
And you were part of a hospital team that helped the local Durham city government wrestle with Y2k.
Most communities provide non-profit hospitals with a tax-free status, so theyre always looking for value. What are you providing them? That was another way that we could provide some value to the city, and that was great.
Director of Clinical Engineering, Duke University Health System/ServiceMaster, since 1994
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