The following article appeared on the Nashville Medical News website in April 2014.


2014 Women to Watch

Suzan Logan

President & Chief Executive Officer | GBA

Sometimes all it takes is a little vision... And a leap of faith.

A senior tax consultant in a large accounting firm, Suzan Logan was ready for a change after the birth of her second child in 1991. Four years earlier, Gene Burton had launched a consulting company providing niche services to the healthcare industry, and he was now in need of a controller.

Relying on Burton’s expertise, Logan said, “I sensed an opportunity to participate in what he hoped to build... A new consulting service that would fill an unmet need in healthcare design and construction. I am proud to have been a part of pioneering the field of healthcare technology consulting; but more importantly, I am thankful that our business contributes to building facilities that focus on healing patients and caring for their families.”

Just as Logan saw possibilities in an untested business model, Burton also must have sensed leadership potential in the young mother with a solid financial background but no experience in healthcare equipment and technology planning. Both were wise to trust their instincts.

Within five years, Burton made Logan CFO, then named her president, and ultimately transitioned her to the top position in advance of his 2006 retirement. “Mr. Burton not only provided me with the opportunity to help shape GBA, he also modeled integrity and excellence as a leader,” Logan said. One of his many lessons, she continued, “is to always let your ‘yes’ mean yes and your ‘no’ mean no.”

Logan said having specialists to plan equipment and IT needs wasn’t even recognized as a ‘real role’ in the design and construction process when they started. Now, it has become an important part of the healthcare project team. Today, GBA has grown to 40 employees from both clinical and design disciplines, bringing unique perspectives to healthcare facility planning.

“Although we are not on the frontlines of patient care, our work can influence how the clinicians are able to provide care,” Logan noted. “If some of their tools — medical equipment and IT systems — are not selected, placed or configured appropriately, it can mean years of less-than-optimal workflow, ultimately impacting patients.”

With facilities built to last decades, GBA’s experts must consider the best ways to meet current technology requirements while factoring in the flexibility to reconfigure as future needs dictate. Logan said one of the toughest aspects of the job is helping clients divine the future of healthcare in order to develop their technology strategy. Internally, the challenge is forecasting workloads to have staff with the right expertise on hand to provide the personalized attention that is a hallmark of GBA.

“I want our employees to enjoy work and life and have confidence their jobs will be here,” she said. “To me, they are not commodities.”

Logan’s strong faith influences her management style and vision for how GBA conducts itself as a corporate citizen. “As a company, we try to work at least two service projects a year,” she said of giving back to the community.

She and her family have also taken a servant’s heart further afield with work in Haiti. Husband Don, a structural engineer by training, entered the ministry full time in 2009 and is the senior pastor at St. Paul Community Church. His educational background has been put to work in the wake of the Haiti earthquake. Both he and Suzan have worked in the communities of Carrefour and Cavaillon, where their church is building an orphanage and primary school.

The couple has two children at Belmont planning to enter the healthcare field. Emily, 24, is pursuing her doctorate of physical therapy. Son Alex, 22, is finishing his undergraduate degree in nursing.

Logan looks to continue growing the profession of medical technology planning and to applying her knowledge and skills to mission work in Haiti and Africa. Although she might not know exactly how she’ll accomplish all her goals, she’s willing to take a leap of faith.