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After 24 years with Sentara and a 40-year health care career, Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center President Bob Graves has announced his plans to retire in January 2014.
Graves oversaw the design, construction and relocation of Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center in the mid-2000s, an experience he has called a “once in a hospital administrator’s lifetime” achievement.
Since Sentara Williamsburg opened in 2006, Graves has developed programs and expanded clinical services that have garnered national recognition for quality and patient safety.
“Bob’s accomplishments at Sentara are numerous,” said Mary Blunt, corporate vice president. “He has always been committed to elevating the care of patients and his work to improve outcomes has led to national recognition from respected institutions and made Sentara Williamsburg a model for preventing infection in the ICU among so many other accomplishments.”
Prior to his tenure in Williamsburg, Graves was the administrator of Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. While there, he was responsible for the development of Virginia Beach’s only open heart surgery program, as well as the elevation of the Emergency Department to a Level II Trauma Center. Graves was also instrumental in forming and the Krueger Lectureship.
“Bob has always been able to foster teamwork and he recognizes its role in any accomplishment,” added Blunt. “His ability to bring people together around a common goal is evident in his work at Sentara Williamsburg and within his community.”
Born to missionary parents in Brazil, South America, where he lived for 13 years, Graves holds a Masters of Health Administration from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Before coming to Sentara, Graves held administrative positions at Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida.
Graves is a Fellow and past Regent of the American College of Health Executives and in 1997 was named “Health Care Person of the Year” by the Healthcare Administrators of Tidewater. He has served on many civic and professional boards, including the United Way (Board Chair, 2010), Thomas Nelson Community College Foundation (Board Chair, 2012), and the Board of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. He was a member of the CIVIC Leadership Institute (Class of 2003), and is an active member of the Rotary Club of Williamsburg, and a member of the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church. In 2012, Graves participated in Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars, an annual benefit for Literacy for Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Williamsburg Area.
Sentara leadership and Graves’ staff describe him as a leader with integrity and loyalty. Often found dining in the Sentara Williamsburg Greensprings Café surrounded by his managers and staff, Graves believes in fostering personal relationships among employees. He insists on accountability, but is seen as a compassionate, mission-focused leader. This balance of firm-but-fair management has resulted in employee satisfaction scores that place Sentara Williamsburg among the top 10 percent of companies in the nation.
In retirement, Graves plans to spend more time with his family, indulge in more sailing and travel, and have more time for community activities.