February 25 was a day of celebration at UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital as they said goodbye to the hospital’s retiring founding president, Dan Robinson, and welcomed the new president, Lonnie Cramer.
Former Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Rod Smith was visiting that morning to bring a little cheer to hospital patients, and Cramer had hardly left his office. He was already hard at work with back-to-back meetings and appointments.
“Tons of resources are getting shared with me from the system and from everyone else,” he said. “So, it’s been great. People have been very pleasant.”
Cramer is stepping into the role of president after Dan Robinson announced his retirement from the position in October 2018. Robinson worked in the healthcare industry for more than 36 years, and served as president of Longs Peak Hospital for its first 18 months of operation.
“We’re certainly going to miss Dan, but Lonnie brings a lot to the table,” said Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth’s Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland and Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. “He’s one of those kinds of guys similar to Dan in that he manages by walking around so people can know him. He’s very personable. He cares about the employees and our top priority is really maintaining the culture that Dan’s built at Longs Peak, and we felt that Lonnie really has the skill set to be successful at doing that.”
Cramer brings more than 20 years of healthcare leadership experience to Longs Peak Hospital. He began his career in healthcare with clinical experience in radiology. Cramer worked in a radiology department in Fort Walton Beach, Florida for over three years and oversaw five outpatient imaging facilities in Louisiana for six years.
He then joined Centura Health Penrose-St. Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs in 2007, and held various roles there until joining UCHealth at Longs Peak. His last position was as Chief Operating Officer at Penrose-St. Francis.
“I think with Lonnie’s experience, and the things that he’s been through in his career, he will have worked through many of the challenges that a new hospital has coming into a community,” said Robinson. “And I think with the way he builds relationships and the way he connects with that information and community members and leaders, that he’ll hit the ground running and continue to figure out what we have to do to make sure that Longs Peak Hospital continually meets the needs of this growing community.”
In 2011, Cramer was a recipient of The Colorado Springs Business Journal’s Rising Star Award and in 2012 he received the Rising Star Award from Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. Over the years, Cramer has sat on several boards and committees, including the Audubon Surgery Center board and has served as the Colorado Springs YMCA Downtown Branch Board Chair for two years.
“I’m dedicated to continuing to drive quality and care for the community,” said Cramer. “I’m very engaged in our local community down in Colorado Springs. So I feel like I’ll continue to do that up here, serving with community boards and community leaders to help drive growth and economic development for Longmont.”
Getting to know the Longmont community and building relationships with the people here is one of Cramer’s top priorities, especially now that he’s a new resident. In fact, the people and community-vibe of Longmont is one of the reasons Cramer chose to take the position at Longs Peak Hospital.
“The community was something that we [Cramer and his wife] felt right at home with,” he said. “The culture, the people, the quality just all spoke to me.”
Cramer also liked the fact that Longs Peak Hospital is a relatively new facility. He had a previous similar experience when he was brought on by Centura to help with the Greenfield build of St. Francis Medical Center, and worked closely with the team there to open the hospital.
“What I’m most excited about is the opportunity,” said Cramer. “The opportunity to grow the care to the community and partnering with physicians locally to provide high quality care. I see nothing but growth and the opportunity to grow that even larger here for the people of Longmont.”
Cramer doesn’t have any immediate long-term plans or goals for Longs Peak. He says he’s still discovering the ins and outs of the hospital, and the challenges and opportunities available. For now, Cramer is focused on listening and learning.
“My grandfather is a wise man and he always told me, ‘Lonnie, God gave you two ears and one mouth. He wants you to listen twice as much as you speak.’ So I’m going to do a lot of listening, a lot of learning, getting to know the people and what they need from me.”
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