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New Cuero hospital CEO has local ties

By Sonny Long
Dec. 11, 2013 at 6:11 a.m.

Gjolberg Skip

MEET IVAR 'SKIP' GJOLBERG (pronounced yole-berg)

• AGE: Turned 50 on Oct. 9

• EDUCATION:

Texas A&M University - Bachelor's of Science in Physical Education-Exercise Technology, 1987;

Texas State University - Bachelor's of Science in Physical Therapy, 1990;

Texas A&M University- Master's of Science in Safety Engineering, 2003

• EXPERIENCE:

Chief Administrative Officer, Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital, Wisconsin;

Assistant Administrator, Hospital Sisters Health System, Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wisc.;

Director of Rehabilitation Services among other positions, St. Joseph Health System, Bryan;

Director of Physical Therapy for Associated Health Focus, Temple.

• AWAY FROM THE JOB:

Board member, Prairie du Chien Economic Development Corp.;

Founder of the Holy Family Parish Men's Group;

Member of the United Cerebral Palsy Chippewa Valley;

President of the Chippewa Falls Kiwanis;

Member of Parish Council, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Eau Claire, Wisc.;

St. Joseph Youth Ministry Leader;

Assistant scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America

• BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW:

Gjolberg was a power lifter at Texas A&M, was invited to take part in Olympic-style weight lifting and competed in the collegiate national championships.

CUERO - We've all heard the saying, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could."

For Ivar "Skip" Gjolberg, the new chief executive officer at Cuero Community Hospital, that couldn't be more true - with a little modification.

His new position is actually a return to Texas for the Virginia native and Texas A&M University graduate.

"We always wanted to come back to Texas. My oldest son is a senior at the University of Dallas, and I have another son who is a sophomore at Texas A&M.

"So the plan was to always come back to Texas."

Throw in the factS that Gjolberg's wife, the former Donna Krupala, is a Cuero native, and her parents still live there, and the position at the hospital was a perfect fit.

His wife and three daughters are living in Wisconsin until they can sell their house there, Gjolberg said.

Gjolberg replaced Daryl Stefka, who retired in October. Stefka had been with the hospital since 1970 and had been administrator since 2004.

Donna Gjolberg is the daughter of former hospital administrator Larry Krupala.

Ranging reporter Sonny Long visited with Gjolberg in his office to learn more about the new hospital administrator.

Q: Other than the family ties to Cuero and Texas, what attracted you to this position?

A: We've got a lot of people who have been here a long time and are invested in the hospital. That's an asset. The community really supports the hospital. The DeWitt Medical Foundation does a remarkable job; they are raising $1.5 million to build a new wellness center. For a community of this size to have a wellness center like that is rare.

Q: What are some areas that you can see might need improvement or an expansion of services?

A: We are experiencing out migration - patients going out of town for things we can do here. Part of that is because we are a small hospital, but we do a lot here that people don't really think about or know about. Our HCAP (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) results are comparable with or better than the hospitals in Victoria. We're doing extremely well on those scores. We need to make sure people are aware of that. I'm trying to get that message out. There's no need to travel. We are a good hospital. We are a solid hospital. We have a great staff.

Q: What are your interests away from the job?

A: Well, since my family isn't here with me yet, I work a lot. We home-school our daughters, so when I do go home, I work with them on Skype. I work out at the wellness center five or six days a week.

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