By Jennifer Erb
2016-08-242016-09-01https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
Andy Kovach wasn’t sure what he wanted for a career. He chose Industrial Engineering because he liked the combination of engineering and business. When Andy retired he had an incredible variety of careers that spanned business types (chemical manufacturing and healthcare) and roles (operations management and human resources). He is a living example of all the things you can do with an IE degree.
Andy’s start to college was a challenge. He struggled in his initial math/science classes, but came on strong when he moved into his major and began to see the relevance of his courses.
I never felt that I was working. I was just doing what I enjoyed.
When Andy was in college, one of his professors suggested he write down his career goals. He started his career with DuPont and actually achieved his career goals in less than three years. Andy’s breakthrough at DuPont was automating tasks that had been done by hand. Andy’s knowledge of computer modeling gave him an edge over other engineers. This was the early days of computing.
Andy left DuPont to work for Allied Chemical. Within six months he was a supervisor and within a year, he was a superintendent. This was when Andy’s career took a different direction. He was asked to move into Human Resources. Initially he did labor negotiations, but was quickly given more responsibility. “I moved nine times in twelve years,” Andy says.
Andy eventually moved back to operations heading up new product development. Andy’s degree gave him the flexibility to take on these many different roles.
Andy’s career next moved in a very different direction. He moved into a healthcare career path. Fifteen hospitals in New Jersey decided to merge their operations. Andy was involved in the bringing together these hospital operations. This was one of the biggest healthcare mergers in America’s history.
Over the next 27 years, Andy had a variety of roles in leading the Atlantic Health System, the organization that came together from the merger of the 15 hospitals, when they decided to form a loose affiliation and Andy was brought in to assist in making this system work. Although that system broke apart, 3 of those hospitals completed a full asset merger. During Andy’s career at that system it grew from $600 million to $3 billion. At one point, he had 3,700 people under his part of operations.
Andy is especially proud of bringing Industrial Engineering practices to Atlantic. These included lean operations and six sigma practices. This was earlier than most organizations had begun to adopt these practices.
While Andy is now retired, he stays active by making investments in startup businesses. Andy’s reflection on his career is one that everyone should be able to make: “I never felt that I was working. I was just doing what I enjoyed.”
Andrew is an experienced executive whose career has involved leadership positions in both manufacturing and healthcare. He was Vice President and Chief Administration officer at Atlantic Health prior to his retirement.
He was responsible for all human resource policy for Morristown, Overlook, Chilton and Newton Medical Centers and Goryeb Children’s Hospital. Additionally, he managed safety/security, motor services, occupational health, construction and facility planning, plant engineering, pharmacy, Six Sigma, strategic sourcing, biomedical engineering, laboratory, marketing, public relations, transportation, sports/executive health and orthopedics. He led the organization to multiple prestigious recognitions, including FORTUNE’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” seven consecutive years. The organization was also recognized six consecutive years by AARP as one of the “Best Employers for Workers Over 50.” Additionally, Morristown Medical Center and Newton Medical Center have been named the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey in their respective size categories for consecutive years by Castle Connolly Ltd., one of the nation’s most respected health care research and information companies. In 2014, US News & World Report ranked Morristown Medical Center as one of the top five New York metro area hospitals and one of the best hospitals in the nation for 2014-2015 in Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Orthopedics and Pulmonology. The magazine also ranked Overlook Medical Center among the best regional hospitals in central New Jersey and as a “Best Regional Hospital” for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics and Urology. As the organization grew with mergers of Newton Medical Center and Chilton Medical Center, Mr. Kovach has overseen the seamless integration of 2,500+ employees into Atlantic Health System. Under his guidance, Atlantic Health System developed the world-class Atlantic Sports Health program and forged high-profile partnerships, including becoming the official health care partner of the New York Jets.
Prior to his position at Atlantic Health, he held a number of senior leadership positions with Allied Signal in both operations and human resources.
He earned a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Engineering in 1970 – from West Virginia University.