Louis Smith: leading to greatness
- Written by Bruce Olson
Tribune’s Community Leader Series Cutline: Louis Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. Photo by Bruce Olson As chief executive officer of Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital, Louis Smith, is responsible for not only the hospital but also a full range of other healthcare services. “Memorial Hermann Northeast Campus is a matrix organization,” Smith said. He explained that in addition to the hospital, the campus has been greatly expanded. It includes a new Cancer Center, children’s emergency services, heart and vascular care, a stand-alone imaging center, neuroscience program, orthopedics and sports medicine, and centers for physical therapy/rehabilitation, sleep disorder, wellness, wound care, women’s services and sound care. The Convenient Care Center offers coordinated access to many services all in a single location. Smith has overseen this amazing growth and has led Memorial Herman Northeast to become the great medical campus that it is today. “The mission at Memorial Hermann is to advance healthcare and that includes creating entities that specialize in providing that care, not just at the hospital, but in other areas like restorative healthcare and home management,” he said. Smith came to Memorial Hermann Northeast in 2007 as an interim CEO and permanent chief operating officer. He was selected as permanent CEO in 2008. He originally joined the Memorial Hermann Health System in 2003 at The Spiritual Leadership Institute and went on to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital before coming to Northeast. Current projects are about making the changes needed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “ACA is affecting us more on how we handle and report our costs than anything else,” said Smith. Smith chose a healthcare career as a result of a college professor, Dr. Lloyd Roberts, one of his mentors. “It was Dr. Roberts who suggested I go into hospital administration,” he said. “I get great satisfaction from working in healthcare because of the good that it does.” In addition to his hospital responsibilities, Smith is active in the community. He is the 2013 chairman of the Executive Committee of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce. He is currently active on a project to provide healthcare to school children in need and on Project Mammogram to provide mammography screening for women with low incomes. Port Arthur was Smith’s home in early childhood. His father, a Southern Baptist minister, moved his family to Clinton, Miss., while Smith was still young. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi College and earned his master’s degree in healthcare administration from Medical College of Virginia – Virginia Commonwealth University. “I worked in Dalton, Georgia with Hamilton Healthcare System before I came to The Spiritual Leadership Institute and Memorial Hermann Southwest,” he said. Smith’s personal goals are about working with others to make things better. “It can’t be about me,” he said and explained his greatest influences in that regard were his parents and grandparents. He spoke of an incident while growing up. “ When I was in the s eventh grade, Dad had a major scheduling conflict between ministering at a small church revival or a much bigger church’s function. He honored his original commitment to the smaller church even though it was the less influential in the community,” Smith said. He explained he will never forget that lesson about ethical priorities. Smith lives in Kingwood with June, his wife of 26 years. They have two children. “Our daughter, Taylor Grace, is a freshman at Mississippi College. Our son, Graham, is 16 and works here as a Junior Volunteer,” he said. “We have four dogs, two cats and two sugar gliders which are Australian Marsupials.” For recreation Smith enjoys working on old cars. “I love those old classics and have a 63 Ford T Bird, a 63 Chevy Nova Super Sport and a 68 Ford Torino,” he said. Whether it is working to make Memorial Hermann Northeast into a great medical facility, serving his community to make it a better place to live, or just enjoying those great old cars, Louis Smith is a great leader.