He kept his promise.
Now 34, he is the new vice president and chief operating officer at Christus Spohn Hospital in Beeville.
He was CEO at three hospitals prior to taking over the leadership in Beeville around the first of the year.
Tudor reveals where he grew up just by speaking. Only someone from Tennessee can say “I’m a keep-it-simple kind of guy” the way he does.
Like so many who have moved to Beeville, he and his wife, Jenny, and their two—almost three—children have discovered that housing here is scarce.
“We’re lucky to have found temporary housing,” he admitted at a reception in his honor in the hospital’s lobby last Thursday.
He was born and raised an only child in Tennessee, earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg with a double major—political science and business—but focused on a 2004 master’s in health care administration at the same university.
“My father told me,” he recalls, “‘you can do three things that will guarantee you always will have a job. You can go into the food business, because people always have to eat; you can be an undertaker, because people always die, or you can go into the health care business because people always get sick.”
The rest, as the proverbial “they” say, is history.
Tudor credits time spent in an administrative residents program in Laurel, Miss., for teaching him the intricacies of the job.
“I was told I would learn only 5 percent about health care administration,” he says. “The rest I would learn on the job. I didn’t believe that statement at first, but now I concur completely.”
All of the hospitals he has administered are rural.
“I like rural. I don’t like cities. Life is too short to spend it waiting in traffic jams.”
In retrospect, he believes that each place he has left is better than it was when he took over.
“I have been fortunate,” he admits. “In each place I have been surrounded by great associates, great medical staffs and great boards. I still have meaningful relationships with some of the people there.”
The Tudors were living in DeRidder, La., where he was CEO of Beauregard Memorial Hospital.
They were longing to return to South Texas where Jenny would be closer to family.
“Christus Spohn called me about 4:30 one afternoon,” Tudor says. “But I didn’t tell Jenny about it until I got home. When I walked in the door, I just asked, ‘Hey, would you like to go back to South Texas?’
“We had talked a lot about it and decided it was best for us, both from a personal and a professional level.”
In the 50-odd days he has occupied a cramped second-story office with a scenic view of a roof and brick, none of the challenges he has faced have surprised him.
“Rural hospitals face a lot of challenges,” he says. “There’s always the problem of getting and keeping a strong workforce, particularly with the Eagle Ford Shale competition next door. There’s also a national shortage of physicians, and the government keeps expecting us to do more with less.
“But we’re a rural hospital,” he smiles. “We’re experts at it.”
One of the secrets of his success, he says, is the ability to get along with people.
An example of that philosophy?
“I try to visit all the patients every day,” he says, “including those in the emergency room.”
It’s a new focus at the hospital, he says, in patient relationships.
The average tenure of a hospital CEO is less than three years — he adhered to the pattern at his previous hospitals — but he says Beeville is where he wants to stay.
Away from the office, he likes to dove hunt, golf and read.
“I also love to cook,” he says, which is appropriate. His hometown in Tennessee is “Algood,” a suburb of, you guessed it, “Cookville.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.