Roger Allman, who retires this week as CEO of King’s Daughters’ Health,  oversaw expansion of the downtown hospital emergency room, the opening of a sleep center, a convenient care center on the hilltop, the downtown Medical Office Building and – most recently – the opening of the $100 million hospital building on State Road 62.
Roger Allman, who retires this week as CEO of King’s Daughters’ Health, oversaw expansion of the downtown hospital emergency room, the opening of a sleep center, a convenient care center on the hilltop, the downtown Medical Office Building and – most recently – the opening of the $100 million hospital building on State Road 62.
The man who directed Madison's hospital and heathcare organization for the past two decades has only one goal as he prepares for retirement - not to set any more goals.

Roger Allman, 60, will retire June 21, after 20 years as the president and chief executive officer of King's Daughters' Health. Yet, for this goal-oriented leader, his retirement has been planned for years.

"I had already said I'd retire when I was 60," Allman said. He stayed a few months longer than he expected at the request of the hospital's board of directors so that he could oversee the opening of the new KDH on Madison's hilltop.

Now it's time for Allman to achieve a goal he set when he took the top job at the hospital in 1993 - retirement.

"It's kind of an odd feeling," Allman said. "I kind of look at it like a new life."

Allman said he hasn't set goals for retirement, but there are some items on his retirement to-do list.

One of the items includes the first move for Allman and his wife, Carol, in more than 20 years. They plan to relocate to the northern Indiana town of Churubusco to be closer to their parents.

Allman also wants to travel to the three states he's never visited. He expects to use a little of his new-found free time to improve his guitar-playing skills, spend more time riding his motorcycles and become involved in community organizations or groups.

Most of all, he's looking forward to spending more time at home with his family, especially his wife with whom he will celebrate 40 years of marriage this year.



Climbing the career ladder

Allman began his career in healthcare as an orderly in northern Indiana and decided to become a nurse after his father's bout with cancer. After a decade as a nurse, he couldn't see himself in that role for the rest of his life. He wanted, he said, to make more of a personal difference in healthcare.

Allman always thought hospital administrators should see the direct effects of their decisions, yet he never saw his superiors in the 10 years he spent as a nurse.

"I, frankly, was not impressed with the CEOs," he said. "I though, 'Man, I can do better.'"

He and his wife packed up their belongings and moved to Indianapolis where he enrolled in a master's degree program in health administration at the Indiana University Medical Center. The program included a year-long residency.

Allman gained his first experience as a hospital CEO in Paoli. Going into the job, he didn't know that the hospital was bankrupt.

He began work on a Tuesday and had three days to figure out how to pay employees with no money. That Friday, every employee had a check to cash, and all of the checks cleared.

Allman stayed at the Paoli hospital for three years and brought financial stability to the organization. Just when he thought he could relax and enjoy the successes in Paoli, he received a call.

A friend encouraged him to apply for the top job in Madison. He was named the president and chief executive officer at King's Daughters' Hospital on Jan. 4, 1993.

When Allman took over at King's Daughters', he identified areas that needed change such as the hospital's information technology and financial standing. Then, he started to make plans for those changes.

With the goal of service excellence in mind, Allman began to steer local healthcare in the direction that he and the hospital's board desired. The hospital began to improve its technology and integrate physician practices.

He oversaw expansions of the downtown hospital emergency room, a sleep center, a convenient care center on the hilltop, the downtown Medical Office Building and - most recently - the opening of the $100 million hospital building on State Road 62.

He said he is also proud to be able to keep the promise of being a good neighbor with the sale of the former downtown hospital building to Trilogy Health Services of Louisville.

"Somebody kind of described (the new hospital) as an exclamation point at the end of my career," he said, but Allman also knows there's always plenty more to do at a hospital.

Plans for two new buildings, including a new cancer center and ambulance station at the hilltop hospital, are already in the works, he said.

But it'll be up to the hospital's incoming president and CEO Carol Dozier to see those projects to completion.

"I think the future here is very, very bright," Allman said.



Counting down

With less than a week left, Allman prepares for life after serving so many years in the healthcare field.

"People have asked if I'm counting down the days," he said. "And I'm not."

A discussion with his wife put things into perspective a few weeks ago. She told him that he would receive only six more paychecks from the organization.

That's when the idea of retirement became real for him, he said with a smile.

Allman said he's finally ready to move on from the job where average tenure is a little over three years.

"Twenty years is kind of unusual," Allman said. "It's highly unusual today."

Allman told the hospital's board of directors 15 months ago of his plans to retire this year, but they always had a plan of succession in place just in case of an emergency situation.

He doesn't expect issues with the transition.

He said he is confident the organization will continue to move forward.

As he reflects on the years at King's Daughters' Health, Allman knows there are certain aspects of the job he will miss. But he won't miss the weekend hours at the office away from his family.

"You don't miss your job responsibilities," he said. "You miss the people."

He will miss the friends and acquaintances he's met on his walks through the hospital, he said, and he will also miss the community he's been a part of for the last two decades.

"It's been a great organization to work for," he said. "I'm just ready. It just comes a time when you know."