Summit Awards [2016]

2017 marks the 17th anniversary of The HealthCare Service Excellence Conference and the prestigious Summit Awards. Over the past 17 years we have awarded 248 Summit Achievers and 528 Pinnacle Achievers (introduced in 2005) to individuals and organizations who represent the very “Best of the Best” in Service Excellence. We would like to thank everyone, past and present, for creating such a rich history of Service Excellence. Without you this Night of Excellence would not be possible.

The HealthCare Service Excellence Summit Awards and Night of Excellence ceremony is a North American-wide recognition program established by the HealthCare Service Excellence Conference. This unique celebration recognizes exceptional Service Excellence by awarding nominees a Pinnacle Achiever award. Pinnacle Achievers in each of the 16 award categories are also eligible to receive the prestigious Summit Award, which recognizes significant achievement and dedication in improving initiatives in the following areas:

• The quality of service to patients/customers.

• The quality of work life for professionals.

• The performance of organizations.

Summit Award Recipients
   2018        2018     2017     2016     ALL    



Pinnacle and Summit Awards Recipients

Pinnacle statusis awarded to the top 3 (or 4) nominees in each category.
Click on the Grey Bar to see the 2016 Summit Award Recipient.

Service Excellence Advisor

A team leader and role model who encourages and supports others to improve

  • Rex Morgan, Adams Memorial Hospital, Decatur, IN
  • Mitch Keller, CHI St Alexius Health Dickinson, Dickinson, ND
  • Jessica Schoeppner, Grand River Health, Rifle, CO
  • Kim Bergkamp, Minneola District Hospital, Minneola, KS
The 2016 Service Excellence Advisor Summit Recipient is…
Rex Morgan

Rex Morgan from Adams Memorial Hospital.


Service Excellence Mentor

A role model with a positive attitude, who assists, motivates and guides SEA’s

  • Deanne Helmintoller, CCR/Woodlands Health & Rehab, Clifton Forge, VA
  • Patty Davisson, Fredonia Regional Hospital, Fredonia, KS
  • Ann Howard, Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Winamac, IN
The 2016 Service Excellence Mentor Summit Recipient is…

Ann Howard

Ann Howard from Pulaski Memorial Hospital.


Exceptional Nurse

Provides outstanding levels of compassion and quality care. Is supportive, a good listener and is always improving

  • Dee Ann Sanders, Beaufort Memorial, Beaufort, SC
  • Susan Stephens, Good Shepherd Health Care System, Hermiston, OR
  • Linda Powers, Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Winamac, IN
  • Julie Nichol, Wilson Medical Center, Neodesha, KS
The 2016 Exceptional Nurse Summit Recipients are…

Dee Ann Sanders

Dee Ann Sanders from Beaufort Memorial

Susan Stephens

Susan Stephens from Good Shepherd Health Care System


Exceptional Employee

Provides exceptional service to both patients/customers and fellow employees

  • LeAnne Evans, Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen, CO
  • Shelly Holzheimer, Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital, Montevideo, MN
  • Bev Ferderer, CHI St Alexius Health Dickinson, Dickinson, ND
  • Kathy Pursley, Dundy County Hospital, Benkelman, NE
The 2016 Exceptional Employee Summit Recipient is…

Shelly Holzheimer

Shelly Holzheimer from Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital

Accepting Award is Leah Lehtola


Empowering Manager

A true leader who encourages individuals to achieve great results

  • Kyle Sprunger, Adams Memorial Hospital, Decatur, IN
  • Jonathan Edwards, Good Shepherd Health Care System, Hermiston, OR
  • Tina Montgomery, Palo Pinto General Hospital, Mineral Wells, TX
  • Heather Odell, Wilson Medical Center, Neodesha, KS
The 2016 Empowering Manager Summit Recipient is…

Heather Odell

Heather Odell from Wilson Medical Center


Customer Focused Physician/Provider

Professional and respectful, with compassion for those they serve

  • Dr. April Burks, CommWell Health, Newton Grove, NC
  • Dr. Rex Allman, Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Winamac, IN
  • L. Nuwan Pilapitiya, MD, San Luis Valley Health, Alamosa, CO
  • Dr. Cameron Murphy, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
The 2016 Customer Focused Physician/Provider is…

Customer Focused Physician/Provider

Dr. Cameron Murphy from Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital

Accepting Award is Marla Hassler


Service Excellence Advisor Team

A team with positive attitude, who combine their frontline enthusiasm and skills for the betterment of all

  • Team Stop It, CHI St Alexius Health Carrington, , Carrington, ND
    Cassie Devlin, Anna Johnson, Alice Ellingson, Emily Gjovik
  • Fierce 4, Minneola District Hospital,, Minneola, KS
    Jodi Miller, Marca Berger, Holly Esfeld, Aracely Diaz
  • The Impressionists, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
    Laurie Markley, Kelly Heikens, Jennifer Carlson, Alana Willis
The 2016 Service Excellence Advisor Team Summit Recipient is…

Fierce 4

Fierce 4 from Minneola District Hospital

Accepting Award is Jodi Miller


DO IT Improvement

Defining dissatisfiers, taking action, creating improvement

  • TALONS, CommWell Health,, Newton Grove, NC
    Karen Smith, Misti Phillips, Melvis Simpson
  • Health Information Management, Harrisburg Medical Center,, Harrisburg, IL
    Rita Ross, Marianne Gibbs, Crystal Warren, Carolyn Barnes, Valerie Henderson, Rachel Rhoades, Brooke Buchanan
  • Rehabilitation Services, Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Winamac, IN
    Will Fox, Brittni Bailey, Maria Ponce, and Department
The 2016 DO IT Improvement Team Summit Recipient is…

Health Information Management

Health Information Management from Harrisburg Medical Center



An innovative group of leaders, working together, to effect improvement

  • HOT.COMM, Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen, CO
    Louie Carder, Dr. Eric Stahl, Jo-Dee Russell, Melanie Crandall, Steve Knowles, Tim Gay, Ginny Dyche
  • Primary Care Collaborative Team Model, CommWell Health, Newton Grove, NC
    Pam Tripp, CEO; Dr. Sherri James Surgers, MD; Dr. Gretchen Inkumsah, DO; Dr. Zoila Baez, DDS; Dr. Terron Yoder, DDS
  • Awards and Recognition, Johnson Regional Medical Center, Clarksville, AR
    Edward Anderson, Shawn Little, Allen Pitts, Jane Tumbleson, Connie Young, Nikki Dorn, Stan Mitchusson, Crissy Nordin
The 2016 OASIS Team Summit Recipient is…


HOT.COMM from Aspen Valley Hospital

Accepting Award is Louie Carder


Super Coach

Provides exceptional leadership, encouragement and guidance

  • Cynthia Correa, Dimmit Regional Hospital, Carrizo Springs, TX
  • Karen Metzger, Dundy County Hospital, Benkelman, NE
  • Whitney Campbell, Johnson Regional Medical Center, Clarksville, AR
The 2016 Super Coach Summit Recipient is…

Super Coach 2016

Karen Metzger from Dundy County Hospital

Accepting Award is Heather Ramsey


Assistant Program Director

Outstanding support for the Program Director while keeping the vision of excellence alive

  • Jessica Williams, CCR/Abingdon Health & Rehab, Abingdon, VA
  • Cindy Scott, CCR/Woodlands Health & Rehab, Clifton Forge, VA
  • Becky Pretzer, CHI St Alexius Health Carrington, Carrington, ND
The 2016 Assistant Program Director Summit Recipient is…

Assistant Program Director

Becky Pretzer CHI St Alexius Health Carrington

Accepting Award is Daryl Crispin


Service Excellence Program Director

A pillar in the organization; leads, motivates, listens, communicates and coaches

  • Brenda Rask, CHI St Alexius Health Carrington, Carrington, ND
  • Megan Moon, Pulaski Memorial Hospital, Winamac, IN
  • Marisa Fricke, San Luis Valley Health, Alamosa, CO
  • Marla Hassler, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
The 2016 Service Excellence Program Director Summit Recipients are…

Marisa Fricke

Marisa Fricke from San Luis Valley Health

Marla Hassler

Marla Hassler from Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital


Service Excellence Council

Dedicated, committed to the vision, ensuring exceptional teamwork with forward momentum

  • Service Excellence Council, CHI St Alexius Health Carrington, , Carrington, ND
    Kendra Beach, Jodi Hovdenes, Tina Jans, Jodi Koenig, Amber Kruse, Jessica Linderman, Becky Pretzer, Brenda Rask, Robin Simonson, Jennifer Whitman, Carol Risovi, RoxAnn Willey
  • Service Excellence Council, Johnson Regional Medical Center, Clarksville, AR
    Dianne McKissack, Lisa Snow, Whitney Campbell, Greg Moser, Sandy Pearson, Tabatha Woodward, Wynette Holland, Nancy Hill
  • Service Excellence Council, San Luis Valley Health, Alamosa, CO
    Konnie Martin, Patti Thompson, Audrey Reich, Marisa Fricke, Marie Henderson, Mary Rice, Jho Cura, Mark Lara, Michelle Gay, Jamie Laufle, Ted Andersen, Carolyn Mortensen, Heather Haefeli, Ernestine Winchester
The 2016 Service Excellence Council Summit Recipient is…

Johnson Regional Medical Center

Service Excellence Council from Johnson Regional Medical Center

Accepting Award is Nancy Hill


Inspiring Administrator

An individual with energy, professionalism, and a commitment to improvement

  • Mark Paulson, Chippewa County Montevideo Hospital, Montevideo, MN
  • James E. Buckner Jr., Dimmit Regional Hospital, Carrizo Springs, TX
  • Harris W. Brooks, Palo Pinto General Hospital, Mineral Wells, TX
The 2016 Inspiring Administrator Summit Recipient is…

Harris Brooks

Harris W. Brooks from Palo Pinto General Hospital


Medical Clinic of Choice

A medical clinic that embodies Service Excellence in the capacity of compassion and education

  • CHI St Alexius Health Dickinson Medical Center Clinic, CHI St Alexius Health Dickinson, Dickinson, ND
  • Quality Healthcare Clinic, Dundy County Hospital, Benkelman, NE
  • Midwest Pain Specialists, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
The 2016 Employee Engagement Summit Recipient is…

Midwest Pain Specialists

Midwest Pain Specialists from Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital

Accepting Award is Kelly Heikens


Hospital Provider of Choice

A market leader for employee retention and patient satisfaction

  • Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen, CO
  • CHI St Alexius Health Carrington, Carrington, ND
  • Harrisburg Medical Center, Harrisburg, IL
  • Wilson Medical Center, Neodesha, KS
The 2016 Hospital Provider of Choice Summit Recipient is…


Aspen Valley Hospital from Aspen, CO


Legacy Award

An individual who embodied the meaning of Service Excellence and left a legacy that is reflected in all the lives they touched.


The 1st Legacy Award recipient is James Buckner, of Dimmit Regional Hospital in Carrizo Springs, TX.

Accepting the award on behalf of Jim is his friend and colleague, Harris Brooks


The 2nd Legacy Award recipient is Carol Sparks, of Pulaski Memorial Hospital in Winamac, IN

Accepting the award on behalf of Carol is her son, Scott



The 2015 Founder's Award

An individual or organization who best demonstrates and lives the meaning of Service Excellence


The Founder's Award recipient is Dennis Shelby, of Wilson Medical Center in Neodesha, KS

  • What is truly remarkable about Dennis is that behind his gentle, kind, and caring caregiving is a dynamic visionary leader who inspires and mobilizes his team to achieve greatness.

  • Dennis wants his team to be the best version of themselves that they can be. His employees aren’t ordinary people – ordinary people don’t work in healthcare - extraordinary people work in healthcare.

  • Dennis has shared: “We count it a privilege to work here – when you lay your head down at night, you feel good about the day. Don’t let what has happened in the past weigh you down – make this day the best that you can, and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.”


Wilson Medical Center experienced incredible growth in the last year, meeting the needs of a neighboring community that lost their primary care services. Their continued focus is collaboration, cooperation, and providing the best care possible.

Harrisburg Medical Center’s dedication Service Excellence is outstanding. They continue to bring excellent service to patients and their commitment never waivers. For their staff, it’s not just a job - it is truly a second family.

CHI St. Alexius Health-Carrington is a rural critical access hospital providing high quality, safe patient care to everyone who walks through the door. They strive to make the hospital experience pleasant, and make patients feel like they’re home.

Aspen Valley Hospital is a community hospital “small enough to care and large enough to heal.” They are defining and creating a culture that expects the extraordinary and supports educating, engaging and empowering frontline staff.

After monitoring a downward trend in patient satisfaction, this clinic made changes to address patient dissatisfiers – not only have the scores improved, the positive results have been sustained. The biggest change is that staff now believe in themselves, work together, and are proud of the difference they make.

This clinic should be commended for their hard work and dedication to patients over this past year. Staff that previously worked as individuals suddenly stood together, in spite of many differences, working together on new processes for the care and well-being of patients.

After 2 years of Service Excellence training, there has been a big change in culture at this facility. Improvements in communication between staff members has given everyone a vested interest in their success. The clinic is growing, evolving and providing excellence to customers and the community.

Harris is always demonstrating the type of behavior he expects from his employees. He listens without judgement, encourages everyone to do their best, and challenges staff to approach problems in a new way – he leads by doing.

Jim established a culture of service in hopes of improving the entire patient experience and improve satisfaction rates. He improved the morale of the hospital by believing in the Service Excellence program and empowering all individuals.

Mark has made significant contributions to the quality of patient care, work life for employees, and overall performance. He is honest, forward thinking, and is unyielding in his commitment to his hospital and the surrounding community.

This council has served as the foundation of the Initiative, a collaboration of many different views and levels of expertise. They are always seeking new ways of improving morale through celebrations and recognition.

This Council has a passion for change, and their goal is to inspire exceptional care. The members have meshed and grown into an interdepartmental team who have the best interests of the organization at heart.

This Council started the year focusing on the frontline. They conducted a survey of all staff asking for project and training suggestions, gaining insight, adding credibility and fostering a positive culture.

Marla is passionate about customer service. Employees see her as the face of Service Excellence; she leads by example, working diligently and putting in long hours for patients and colleagues. She continues to be the voice of frontline staff.

Marisa’s motivation keeps everyone enthusiastic and engaged, and she inspires others with her daily interactions and overall performance. Her ability to coordinate, organize, plan, schedule and implement the program is exceptional!

Despite being unexpectedly thrust into the role of PD, Megan kept up the pace without losing momentum. She has a tremendous positive effect on employee morale, serving as coach, mentor, and cheerleader to all staff members.

Brenda is always looking for ways to improve Service Excellence for patients and staff. She is one of the first people to ask what could be done better, and she never forgets to take care of staff members, making them feel valued and important.

Becky is the backbone of Service Excellence at Carrington. Her tireless effort, perseverance, and support provides encouragement to others. Her kindness, compassion, and dedication inspires and engages everyone she works with.

Cindy has been a Center Program Coordinator for 5 years, and her experience and insight has turned many shy, quiet SEAs into confident, strong leaders. Her expertise reassures staff, patient, and families.

Jessica has been a constant force for the Service Excellence Initiative. She encourages and motivates others, promoting the success of her team over her own achievements. She considers it a privilege to serve patients and colleagues.

Whitney has been an advocate for Service Excellence from day one, always smiling and helping wherever she can. She is passionate about creating positive change, and she models honesty, integrity and positivity in all aspects of her job.

Karen was a key player in implementing Service Excellence at Dundy, and her genuine, caring attitude continues to contribute to the success of the program. Her attentive listening shows SEAs that she can be trusted with any issues that arise.

Cynthia is a highly accountable leader, offering guidance in any project that is presented to her. She has never failed to help someone who needs her. Her organization, diligence, and support inspires employees to higher performance.

This team revamped a struggling program and turned it into a success. They improved morale by recognizing employees who go above and beyond. Their work has shown employees that they are important, appreciated, and noticed.

This team was formed to achieve the cultural and professional aims needed by providers. By fostering team cohesiveness among providers, this team gave those providers a sense of professional support, making them feel valued and engaged.

This team discussed perceptions about hospital communication and evaluated how they could improve inter-departmental and interpersonal communication. They’ve seen that better communication relates better patient care and employee morale.

This team established a model for interdepartmental projects that emphasizes collaboration and patient satisfaction. By breaking down barriers to success, many client dissatisfiers have been eliminated and employee morale has improved.

This team drastically reduced the need to re-bill patients by simplifying the process of charging accounts. Many departments worked together on this project, and the results show how teamwork and communication make a positive impact.

TALONS is a customized interpretation of the PDSA model. It has been adopted organization-wide, and it has given everyone an opportunity to participate in performance improvement in an understandable and meaningful way.

The Impressionists are shining examples of, creativity, positivity, and commitment. They seek out opportunities to improve patient care and customer service. Their workshops were so much fun, some people asked to attend twice!

This group is constantly trying to reach above and beyond for patient satisfaction. Their workshops gave people a new perspective on how to best serve patients and residents with compassion. They still practice what they preach!

This team has shown amazing dedication to Service Excellence and an incredible willingness to go outside their comfort zones. Team Stop It’s energy and enthusiasm has helped improve the morale and culture of their organization.

Dr. Murphy’s abilities, determination, and honesty set him apart from the crowd. Through his efforts, he has brilliantly modeled teachable moments and educational opportunities, and he demonstrates the importance of making a positive impact.

Dr. Pilapitiya is kind, friendly, patient, and approachable – he responds quickly to patient enquiries and participates in many community outreach programs. His meticulous work ensures that every patient feels safe in his care.

Dr. Allman is a phenomenal physician and a true superhero. He refuses to accept mediocrity, and quietly fights to achieve and maintain the highest quality of health care. He treats patients, employees and the community with compassion and dedication.

Dr. Burke lives by the motto “We are always here to serve.” She is kind and professional, and her door is always open. She empowers her colleagues personally and professionally, and makes each patient feel loved.

Heather strives for greatness in herself and her team. She never hesitates to step in and help out, and her dedication and insight are reflected in her many accomplishments. She is a role model for Service Excellence.

Tina always has patient/customer satisfaction in mind. Her positive demeanor encourages employees to do their best and recognize the best in others. Her empowering leadership style has benefitted patients and employees alike.

Jonathan is always setting high goals, promoting high expectations and going the extra mile. His actions frequently extend beyond the call of duty, although he never expects acclaim or recognition for his selfless efforts.

Kyle demonstrates the skills of a seasoned and successful manager. He treats everyone with compassion, respect, and patience. He supports his colleagues with verbal and written encouragement, and he never quits before the job is done.

Kathy leads by example in patient care at Dundy. She is an amazing role model to all who watch her patient interaction and care. If anything is needed for the patient, Kathy will find a way to make it possible.

Bev is available to help everyone, and does it with kindness and a smile. She approaches issues with professionalism and integrity, everyone knows that they can depend on Bev’s integrity and dignity.

Shelly always greets patients and staff with a smile! Her upbeat personality sets the tone for patients, visitors, and staff. Her attitude sets the tone for a pleasant patient experience - she is a day brightener!

LeAnne has helped to create an environment of learning, involvement and ownership. She is truly a team oriented employee, and she has an amazing attitude. Her incredible work ethic makes her an irreplaceable employee.

Julie has been a champion for Service Excellence. A true role model, she is always positive and spreads this throughout the organization. Her empathy, compassion and understanding brings calm to crisis situations.

Linda creates an open rapport with colleagues, embraces change, and develops strategies to meet challenges head on. She continuously shows staff what it means to feel supported, and her impact is felt even when she isn’t there.

Susan has a fire in her that leads her to great things, embracing personal and professional challenges fearlessly. Her co-workers and friends value her opinion and knowledge, and she pours her heart into everything she does.

Dee-Ann has spent most of her adult life caring for others, first as a paramedic and then as a nurse. She always acts in the patient’s best interest, even taking extraordinary measures to ensure their safety. She has consistently demonstrated a spirit of giving and service.

Ann is an amazing mentor to SEAs, in her department and throughout the hospital; she has been an inspiration. She is the role model that everyone needs; her quiet confidence and unshakable positivity make her invaluable.

Patty has a positive outlook and encourages everyone around her to provide excellent service. Her customer centered attitude is contagious and she always strives to be the best. She’s always willing to help wherever she’s needed.

Deanne always has a smile on her face. She makes everyone feel special, and many residents and patients consider her family. She is truly committed, caring, and responsive.

Kim is a true leader and motivates others with her “can do” attitude! She is always looking for a way to make someone smile, and she always goes above and beyond to give the best customer service.

Jessica has inspired a whole new generation of SEAs. She volunteers throughout her community, and she’s an inspiration for all those who think they “can’t” – after overcoming her fear of speaking, she’s the poster child of “Yes, I can!”

Mitch truly believes in the benefits of Service Excellence. He has an exceptional relationship with his co-workers, and his care, dedication, and generosity has created a light hearted atmosphere for patients and colleagues.

Rex has the ability to light up a room – he is kind, humble, genuine, and a friend to all. He treats every patient and customer like family. Rex’s commitment and dedication has a direct impact on the attitude and morale of his colleagues.