2015 Executive Administrator Award—Thomas Shepherd, Gwinnett Medical Center

Thomas Shepard

Thomas Shepherd, Gwinnett Medical Center

During his nearly 35 years at Gwinnett Medical Center, Thomas Shepherd has created a trail that has left an impression on the hospital and community alike. That trail has consisted of varied roles and responsibilities, some anticipated others not. But it’s how he has navigated those twists and turns and what he has learned along the way that makes him such a dynamic leader.

Thomas began serving the hospital system as a medical technologist and then as a lab coordinator. From that point, he answered a call to lead, accepting a role as the Joan Glancy Hospital Evening Administrator, working in areas of engineering, medical and nursing staff and security.

After working as Lead Administrator at Joan Glancy, he accepted a position at Gwinnett Medical Center-Lawrenceville as Vice President of Operations. He led the Planning and Development Department and eventually was named the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Gwinnett Medical Center System in 2013.

Thomas is credited with the development of the security department, beginning the patient representative program and the system’s rehabilitation services. In addition, he was instrumental in creating the sports medicine program, which is now one of the largest and most recognized in Georgia.

According to former Gwinnett Medical Center board member Wayne Sikes, two programs come to mind when he thinks about Thomas’ contributions—the North Tower and the Graduate Medical Education program. Opened in 2009, the North Tower nearly doubled hospital capacity in Lawrenceville, allowing it to accommodate more patients. “Thomas played a major role based on his unique understanding of operations including complex utility needs, permitting and state and federal regulations,” said Sikes. “His second-to-none knowledge stemmed from working through the ranks.” Years ago, the hospital board and leadership began pursuit of a Graduate Medical Education program based on the primary care physician shortage in Georgia. As leader of planning, strategy and operations, Thomas took the reins and ran. According to Dr. Mark Darrow, Director of Graduate Medical Education, “Thomas has the ability to crystalize a vision – as such, graduate medical education was fully prepared to move forward governmentally, institutionally and structurally.”