PLHC names new CEO


Steve Stark




PLHC names new CEO


By Mike Van Sickle
Union editor

An Atlantic man has been named the new CEO at Palmer Lutheran Health Center (PLHC) in West Union.

On behalf of the PLHC CEO Search Committee, PLHC board member Tobin Britt and Human Resources Director Cheryl Meyer announced Monday that Steve Stark, COO, Cass County Health System, is tentatively scheduled to begin his new duties on Monday, Aug. 19.

Meyer explained that the local CEO Search Committee had met monthly since current CEO Deb Chensvold announced her pending retirement more than a year ago.

“From the get-go, it was not the committee’s intention to replace Deb. She is not replaceable,” said Britt. “The committee’s mindset was to find the next CEO who possessed the know-how and vision to lead us through the significant changes we see coming down the road in healthcare.

“In Steve, we saw an individual who would not only work well with the existing culture at the health center and with the administrative team, but also someone who is community-minded and who will become an active member of the community,” he continued. “He was born in a small town in the Midwest and seems to prefer the rural mindset, which he will bring to the table.”

Steve Stark and his wife, Jennifer, have four children, ranging in age from 2 to 17.

On behalf of PLHC Board President Kent McElvania, Britt added, “The PLHC Board of Directors has been very appreciative of Deb’s support throughout this entire process and the time she has allowed us to find the right candidate for not only the health center, but the entire community.”

Meyer reported that the employment position was first posted in April 2013. After receiving applications from 25 potential candidates, the search committee narrowed the choices to four persons to be interviewed.

The interview process took place between June and July, with Stark being formally offered the position on Wednesday, July 3. He accepted his new position on Thursday, July 11.

Both PLHC officials noted that the search process included input from Chensvold, PLHC board members, PLHC administrative team members, PLHC health providers, Gundersen officials, and community members. 

(Editor’s note: A full interview with Starks and Chensvold will be published at a later date. In addition, a Community Welcome for Stark and a Retirement Celebration in honor of Chensvold’s 40-plus years of service to PLHC will be announced at a later date.)

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