The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association celebrates the outstanding achievements by members to improve the health care physical environment with its annual member awards. Awardees were recognized during ASHE’s 60th Annual Conference and Technical Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.

The Crystal Eagle Leadership Award, considered ASHE’s lifetime achievement award, was presented to David A. Dagenais, BS, CHSP, FASHE, senior director of plant operations, clinical engineering, emergency management, and safety officer at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H.

Dagenais has been a distinguished leader in the ASHE community for more than 25 years, serving on the ASHE Advisory Board first as Region 1 Representative and, in 2015, as advisory board president. He is also active at the local level with the New England Healthcare Engineers’ Society and was the chapter’s president in 2011. Dagenais has represented ASHE and its members on several code development committees throughout his career, including those for the National Fire Protection Association and the Facilities Guidelines Institute. He is also a highly engaged ASHE faculty member and has presented as an instructor or expert panelist at numerous ASHE education events and conferences.

“Dave is a true asset to the ASHE community. He has been a mentor to countless ASHE members and a fierce advocate for ASHE’s interest in the compliance arena for decades,” said Chad Beebe, AIA, CHFM, ASHE deputy executive director. “He’s a leader in every sense of the word, and the organization is fortunate to count him among its members.”

The ASHE President’s Award, which is given at the discretion of the sitting ASHE president to an individual who goes above and beyond to optimize the health care physical environment, was presented to Dean M. Pufahl, CHFM, CHC, of West Bend, Wis.

Pufahl’s career in facilities management spans more than four decades. He served as director of facilities at health care organizations throughout southeast Wisconsin, including director of plant operations at Elmbrook Memorial Hospital in Brookfield, Wis., and director of enterprise facility service at Froedtert Health West Bend Hospital in West Bend, Wis. He first became involved in ASHE leadership as a member of the Region 6 Conference planning committee and later served as ASHE Advisory Region 6 representative and then as Advisory Board President in 2019. Key accomplishments throughout Pufahl’s tenure with ASHE include championing education and professional development opportunities at the regional level and advocating for greater representation of women in ASHE leadership.

“I’ve personally witnessed Dean’s selfless leadership when doing the right thing wasn’t popular,” said Gordon Howie, MSPM, CHFM, CHC, SASHE, ASHE president. “His vision for equity, diversity and inclusion in the organization goes back nearly a decade. Dean shared his vision, built a team and stepped back to watch it take wing. His down-to-earth and personable approach to leadership has served ASHE well.”

ASHE also presented the Excellence in Health Care Facility Management Award during the opening session at the 2023 Annual Conference. This award, which was reinstated in 2023 after a hiatus in 2022, recognizes exceptional teams who improve patient safety and satisfaction through innovation in facility management.

The 2023 award was presented to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, for completing critical infrastructure upgrades to its H Building facility. The project team demonstrated extraordinary dedication, managerial acumen and technical skill to deliver a complete replacement and upgrade of the facility’s electrical and mechanical systems. Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s commitment to improving the H Building’s resiliency and redundancy provided the impetus for the project, which was completed on time and below budget without any patient or construction safety incidents, even while maintaining critical patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo 139059330 © Mykola Sosiukin |