Ask Dr. Allan Romans the definition of a leader, and he will point to Joe Dawson.
Dawson retired recently as administrator of Blount Memorial Hospital. On June 24, employees filed into the hospital auditorium to enjoy refreshments with Dawson and his wife, Sue. At times it was standing room only as folks dropped by to wish the popular administrator well.
Romans, medical director of Blount Memorial’s Emergency Room Department, said Dawson has been a great man to work with for 30 years. “He’s been a true leader. He has taken this hospital to places it wouldn’t have reached. He’s been a leader,” Romans said. “He’s someone you can count on, no matter what. A leader is someone who can take you to places you can’t get to by yourself.”
Chris Wilkes, director of Human Resources, praised Joe Dawson for how he managed the hospital. “Probably the thing that stands out most is employees appreciate his leadership style. He makes sure everyone is involved in making sure we are the best hospital possible to serve the needs of the patients and clients,” Wilkes said. “He was always approachable.”
Vickie Walker said she has worked at the hospital six years. “Since I’ve been here, he’s been a great leader. I worked off site and whenever I would see him, he would always make you feel comfortable,” she said.
Lisa Cook with Management Services Organization at Morganton Square praised Dawson. “He’s been a good administrator,” she said.
Jana Price said Dawson has known her since she born. Her father Jim Gilmore was a director at the hospital and retired in 2007. “My dad worked with him as a department head,” she said. “I’ve always known him to have an open door policy.”
In some cases there are three generations of families employed at the hospital with Joe Dawson and his wife said he has always tried to cultivate a family atmosphere. Sue Dawson said no one loves Blount Memorial Hospital any more than her husband. “Lots of people love it as much, but no one loves it more. There has not been a single day since he’s worked here that it hasn’t been on his mind,” she said.
Sue Dawson said her husband has always tried to do what was best for the patients being served at the hospital and the people working at the hospital. “He’s always cared so much about the people here. Blount Memorial Hospital has always been such a big part of his day-to-day life,” she said. “I think he’ll find there are a lot of things he hasn’t been able to enjoy about life that he will now have time to enjoy.”