Comprising 11 members, including two physicians, the board’s background includes expertise in education, business, health care and community development.
Three members of Wellmont’s current board of directors and two from Mountain States’ current board will reprise their roles with Ballad Health, in addition to both health system CEOs, Alan Levine and Bart Hove.
The merged system’s members were approved unanimously by both hospital boards earlier this week.
“The members were chosen using best practices for selection of health system boards, based on needed competencies for the governing body, including experience in the areas of governance, administration, business and strategy,” a joint press release stated.
Eight of Ballad Health’s future board of directors are Tennessee residents and three live in Virginia.
The appointees and committee assignments include:
• Alan Levine, executive chair/president— With more than 25 years experience in hospital operations, Levine is the executive chairman-elect and president-elect of Ballad Health, and will serve as the senior officer of the organization.
• David Lester, vice chair/lead independent director— Lester, who now serves on Wellmont’s board of directors, began his career with Dent K. Burk Associates, a certified public accounting firm in Bristol, Virginia. He worked there for five years before serving as a controller for United Supply Co., Cody Equipment and Flat Gap Mining.
• Bart Hove, chief executive officer— Hove, who has served as president and CEO of Wellmont, was the recipient of the Tennessee Hospital Association’s meritorious service award in 2009 and is a longtime fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
• Keith Wilson, Governance Committee chair— Wilson served as a leader in the newspaper industry for more than 40 years, most recently retiring as publisher of the Kingsport Times-News and president of Northeast Tennessee Media Group. He currently serves on Wellmont’s board of directors.
• Gary Peacock, Finance Committee chair— Peacock has served as chair of the Smyth County Community Hospital board of directors since 2003.
• David May, M.D., Quality Committee chair— A Mountain States board of directors member, May is the past president of Vigilance Anesthesia Solutions, P.C., and is a practicing anesthesiologist, covering anesthesia needs for Sycamore Shoals Hospital and Indian Path Medical Center.
• Doug Springer, M.D., Community Benefit/Population Health Committee Chair— Springer, who serves on Wellmont’s board of directors, recently retired as a gastroenterologist with Gastroenterology Associates, which has locations in Big Stone Gap and Abingdon, Virginia, and Kingsport and Bristol, Tennessee.
• Barbara Allen, Workforce Committee chair— The Bristol native has been operations/general manager of Stowaway Storage, a family-owned regional storage warehouse company in Johnson City since 1994. Allen is the immediate past chair of the board of directors of Mountain States Health Alliance, and currently serves on the board.
• David Golden, Audit/Compliance Committee chair— Golden is senior vice president, chief legal and sustainability officer and corporate secretary for Eastman Chemical Company.
• Scott Niswonger, Executive Compensation Committee chair— Lead benefactor of Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Niswonger founded two transportation companies, which were the first to be taken public in Greene County’s 233-year history. Niswonger currently serves as executive chairman of Landair Transport Inc.
• Brian Noland, ex-officio voting member— Noland became the ninth president of East Tennessee State University in January 2012 after serving for six years as chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education System.
According to the press release, board members-elect will replace the joint board task force, a transition group identified in 2015 to serve as a liaison entity to the boards of Mountain States and Wellmont during the merger’s planning process.
The current Wellmont and Mountain States boards will continue governing their respective hospital systems until the merger officially closes, expected in early 2018.
Until the merger closes, the board members-elect will focus on the preparatory work needed to establish governance, including policy development and strategic planning for Ballad Health’s future, the press release stated.
Controlling 19 hospitals and about 71 percent of inpatient services in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, the Mountain States and Wellmont merger garnered plenty of skepticism, especially from the Federal Trade Commission, over the elimination of competition in the region.
After plenty of back and forth, Mountain States and Wellmont both gained approval to merge from the commissioners of the Tennessee Department of Health the Virginia Department of Health earlier this year. Both state legislators had to amend laws to receive protection from federal antitrust scrutiny.
Ballad Health has committed to spending $450 million over 10 years on population health initiatives, research efforts and addiction recovery.
The following is a news release from Ballad Health partners Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System:
Eleven regional leaders with expertise in business, healthcare, education and community development have been selected to serve on the inaugural Ballad Health board of directors when the new health system officially launches in early 2018.
The members were approved unanimously by the boards of directors of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System this week. The members were chosen using best practices for selection of health system boards, based on needed competencies for the governing body, including experience in the areas of governance, administration, business and strategy. Eight are Tennessee residents and three are Virginia residents, and the group includes two physicians.
The board will officially assume its role with fiduciary responsibility for Ballad Health when the merger closes in early 2018, while the boards of Wellmont and Mountain States will continue governing each individual system until the closing. During this interim period, the board members-elect will replace the joint board task force, a transitional group identified in 2015 to serve as a liaison entity to the Mountain States and Wellmont boards during the merger planning process. Between now and the closing of the merger, the board members-elect will focus on the preparatory work needed to establish governance, including policy development and development of strategic plans for the future of Ballad Health.
“We are grateful for the hard work done by the members of the joint board task force, especially the chairs of the Wellmont and Mountain States Boards – Roger Leonard, Bob Feathers and Barbara Allen – who spent an enormous amount of time, without any compensation, leading our boards through this process,” said Alan Levine, who will serve as executive chairman of the new board as well as president of Ballad Health. “The transition to our new governance is an important step both health systems contemplated when the agreement was reached to merge, and both health systems have been committed to following proven best practices in establishing local governance.”
In addition to announcing the members of the board, today’s announcement includes the appointments of the lead independent director of Ballad Health, as well as chairs of the initial standing committees of the board.
The appointees and their committee assignments include:
Alan Levine, Executive Chair/President
David Lester, Vice Chair/Lead Independent Director
Bart Hove, Chief Executive Officer
Keith Wilson, Governance Committee Chair
Gary Peacock, Finance Committee Chair
David May, M.D., Quality Committee Chair
Doug Springer, M.D., Community Benefit/Population Health Committee Chair
Barbara Allen, Workforce Committee Chair
David Golden, Audit/Compliance Committee Chair
Scott Niswonger, Executive Compensation Committee Chair
Brian Noland, Ex-Officio Voting Member
“Wellmont and Mountain States are excellent health care systems, and our communities owe a debt of gratitude to all who have served on the boards and in management over the years and who have gotten our health systems to the level of quality they currently provide,” said David Lester, who will serve as lead independent director. “As we move forward, our role as a board is to ensure we establish a Ballad Health culture, and that we support the execution of this merger and integration of this system focused on accomplishing its mission. I’m committed to helping accomplish this goal.”
“We are grateful to all the members of the board of Mountain States and Wellmont for their ongoing work and commitment to the potential of this merger,” said Bart Hove, president and chief executive officer of Wellmont. “Much work lies ahead as we operationalize the merger, and management is committed to working with this exceptional board as we tackle the challenges ahead.”
Below is a background summary of each new board member:
Alan Levine is executive chairman-elect and president-elect of Ballad Health, and will serve as the senior office of the organization. With more than 25 years of hospital operations experience, Alan has served as CEO of hospitals and health systems from the rural north Florida town of Perry to the fifth-largest public not-for-profit health system in the nation.
Alan served on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s cabinet as the secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals and as Governor Jindal’s senior health policy advisor. He also served as the deputy chief of staff and the senior health policy advisor to Florida Governor Jeb Bush prior to his appointment by Governor Bush to serve as the secretary of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, an agency responsible for administering a $17 billion budget.
Alan currently serves on the board of the State Collaboration on Reforming Education of Tennessee (SCORE). He also currently serves on the board of governors of the State University System of Florida, the governing body of Florida’s 12 state universities, where he has served as chairman of audit and compliance. He serves as chair of Florida’s Higher Education Coordinating Council, the state’s policy setting body for K-12, community colleges, state universities and private colleges and universities. Prior to his service on the board of governors and the Higher Education Coordinating Council, Alan served on the board of trustees of the University of Florida, Florida’s flagship research university.
Alan was named by Modern Healthcare Magazine as one of 30 people in America who will have a powerful impact on healthcare in the next 30 years, and was also named an “Up and Comer” in Health Care.
Alan lives in Johnson City, Tenn., with his wife, Laura – a public health nurse. The couple has two adult children, Terry and Katy.
Bart Hove is the CEO-designee of Ballad Health. He was the recipient of the Tennessee Hospital Association’s meritorious service award in 2009 and is a longtime fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
He is a member of the Hospital Alliance of Tennessee board of directors and the Tennessee Hospital Association board of directors, where he has also served on the association’s finance and awards committees. He was also board president of Bristol Surgery Center and Sapling Grove Surgery Center and a board member of The Rehabilitation Hospital of Southwest Virginia and Renaissance Surgery Center.
Bart has also been steeped in community affairs. He has been a member of the board for the Bristol Tennessee/Virginia Chamber of Commerce; the City of Bristol, Tennessee, strategic planning committee; and the advisory boards of King University and Northeast State Community College. He is a past president of the United Way of Bristol and is a Paul Harris Fellow with the Rotary Club.
With nearly 40 years of healthcare leadership experience, Bart has served Wellmont Health System for 17 years, first as president of Bristol Regional Medical Center and later as the Chief Executive Officer of the system. Previously, he served as CEO of Delta Regional Medical Center in Greenville, Mississippi; president and CEO of Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky; CEO of Crestwood Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama; and administrator of Beaches Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.
Bart received a bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and a master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Bart lives in Kingsport, Tenn., is married to Marsha, and is blessed with children and grandchildren in many areas of the Southeastern U.S.
Bristol native Barbara Allen has been operations/general manager of Stowaway Storage, a family-owned regional storage warehouse company based in in Johnson City, Tenn., since 1994. Barbara is the immediate past chair of the board of directors of Mountain States Health Alliance, and currently serves on the board.
She graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting in 1983, and served as a systems engineer and communications marketing specialist with IBM in Kingsport until 1994.
Barbara was fundraising chair during the building of the Ronald McDonald House and served on the organization’s board of directors from its inception until 1997. She also chaired the board of directors at Appalachian Christian Camp. In addition to serving on the board of Mountain States Health Alliance, Barbara has served on various subsidiary boards and committees, including the quality committee, audit and compliance committee, finance committee, social responsibility committee, and service on the board of an insurance company. In 2002 she received Milligan College’s Leader in Christian Service Award and in 2006 was the recipient of East Tennessee State University College of Business and Technology’s Horizon Award.
Barbara is a member of First Christian Church, and she and her husband, Charles, have two sons, Chip and Wes.
David A. Golden is senior vice president, chief legal and sustainability officer, and corporate secretary for Eastman Chemical Company. Golden has responsibility for Eastman’s legal, sustainability, corporate HSES, and global public affairs and policy departments, which has personnel in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He also has overall responsibility for Eastman’s ethics and corporate compliance program. Immediately prior to this position, he was vice president, associate general counsel, and corporate secretary with overall responsibility for Eastman’s legal department.
Golden is a native of Albany, Georgia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, also from Brigham Young University, graduating magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, and serving on the management committee of the BYU Law Review. He completed the advanced management program at Harvard Business School in 2012.
Golden joined Eastman in 1995 as an attorney and has held positions of increasing responsibility, including serving as the company’s director of internal audit from 2005 to 2007 and vice president and assistant general counsel in charge of the company’s commercial and international law groups from 2007 to 2010. Golden assumed his current role in January 2013. Prior to joining Eastman, he worked in the Atlanta office of the law firm of Hunton & Williams.
Golden serves as president of the Eastman Foundation and is deeply involved in community and civic affairs, leading Eastman’s global corporate and charitable partnership initiatives. He is a member of the American Corporate Counsel Association and the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals. He serves on the Tennessee Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments as well as the Tennessee Trial Court Vacancy Commission. Golden also serves as vice chair of the inaugural board of trustees of East Tennessee State University, the advisory council for Western Governors University – Tennessee and the Niswonger Foundation board.
Golden and his wife, Jennifer, reside in Kingsport, Tennessee, and they have six children.
David Lester has been a key member of the Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee business community for 40 years. Lester began his career with Dent K. Burk Associates, a certified public accounting firm in Bristol, Virginia. He worked there for five years before serving as a controller for United Supply Co., Cody Equipment and Flat Gap Mining.
In 1981, David began his service with the Nicewonder Group in Bristol, Virginia, as chief financial officer. He was a shareholder and officer in a variety of the company’s entities, including Short Mountain Trucking, Short Mountain Silica and Northstar Leasing prior to their recent sale. He is a managing member of Old Dominion Clay and a previous co-managing member of The Virginian Golf Club. He was a shareholder of the Nicewonder Coal Group of companies before they were sold.
David serves on the board of directors for Wellmont Health System and was chairman of the organization’s strategic options committee. He was a board of trustees member at Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia, from 2003-2011, serving as chairman of the investment committee and a member of the executive committee.
He is a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting.
David and his wife, Peggy, reside in Bristol, Virginia.
David May, M.D.
David May, M.D. is immediate past president of Vigilance Anesthesia Solutions, P.C., and is a practicing anesthesiologist, covering anesthesia needs for Sycamore Shoals Hospital and Indian Path Medical Center. He is also immediate past president of the medical staff at Sycamore Shoals Hospital in Elizabethton, Tenn., and has served on the Mountain States board of directors as chairman of both the quality and credentials committees.
Dr. May also is a member of Holston Air Holdings, LLC, and the managing member of Endeavor Properties, both in Elizabethton. He received his undergraduate degree at East Tennessee State University and earned his medical degree from University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine in Memphis, where he also completed a residency in anesthesiology.
Dr. May is board certified in anesthesia and a member of the Tennessee Medical Association, American Medical Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, International Anesthesia Research Society and the Carter County Medical Association.
In 2011, Dr. May received the Servant’s Heart Award from Mountain States Health Alliance, an honor given to those who most demonstrate selfless leadership and passion for the community.
Scott Niswonger a graduate from Purdue University with a degree in aviation technology and was awarded a Doctorate of Technology in 2004. In addition, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Tusculum College in 1986 and later was honored with a Doctorate of Human Letters in 2006.
After graduation from Purdue University, Scott moved to Greeneville, Tennessee, as the corporate pilot for the president of The Magnavox Company. In 1973, he started a cargo airline, General Aviation, Inc. After selling General Aviation, he became the vice president of North American Operations for Flying Tiger Lines – a military contractor and global cargo airline. He later co-founded a second transportation company, Landair Services, with an initial investment of $2,000; and in 1990 formed Forward Air Corporation. Those companies today have annual sales of over $1 billion. He founded the first two companies to ever be taken public in Greene County’s 233 year history. Scott currently serves as executive chairman of Landair Transport, Inc., and chairman emeritus of Forward Air Corporation (NYSE:FWRD). He is a member of the executive committee and board of directors of First Horizon National Corporation (NYSE: FHN), the parent of First Tennessee Bank, a $40 billion financial services company. He is the chairman of East Tennessee State University board of trustees and a 30 year trustee of Tusculum College. At Purdue University, he is a member of the president’s executive council, dean’s council for Purdue University Polytechnic Institute and chairman of Purdue Aviation.
He is especially proud of The Niswonger Educational Foundation, established in 2001 to create opportunities for individual and regional growth through educational programs, scholarships, and other charitable activities. This educational operating foundation currently has 20 scholars in universities across America and 67 alumni. The foundation has an annual program budget of more than $3 million and has invested more than $53 million in our region.
Niswonger is the lead benefactor for the Niswonger Children’s Hospital, which is home to a St. Jude Affiliate Clinic as well as the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children Pediatric Orthopaedic Clinic.
Dr. Brian Noland
Dr. Brian Noland became the ninth president of East Tennessee State University in January 2012 after serving for six years as chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education System.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public policy studies, both from West Virginia University. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Under Dr. Noland’s leadership, ETSU has moved into an era of construction that, in a compressed five-year window, may very well serve as the largest amount of projects and dollars spent on projects in the history of the institution. These projects include the construction of a performing arts center, a new football stadium and the creation of an interprofessional center for the health sciences. Renovations to the D.P. Culp University Center and Lamb Hall are also in the works.
Dr. Noland has also guided long-term visioning processes at the university as well as the exploration of a new budget model for the institution and the establishment of a new ETSU brand.
In 2017, Dr. Noland was elected to the board of directors for the American Council on Education, which is the premier coordinating body for all higher education institutions in the United States and is represented by approximately 1,800 college and university presidents and the executives of related associations. He represents the state of Tennessee on the American Association of State Colleges and University’s Council of State Representatives; serves on the board of the American Council for Education; is a board member of the Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce as well as Launch Tennessee, a state-funded, nonprofit organization that works to grow new businesses in the state; and is a member of the Washington County Economic Development Council’s Industrial Development Board.
Dr. Noland also is an Institute of Higher Education fellow at the University of Georgia.
He is married to Donna Fox Noland, of Greeneville, Tennessee. The couple has one son, Jackson.
Gary Peacock has served as chair of the Smyth County Community Hospital board of directors since 2003. He was elected to the board in 1994 and since that time also has served as vice chair and chair of the performance improvement committee.
Gary and his wife, Marilyn, own and operate The Glass Peacock in Abingdon, Virginia, and The Wood Peacock in Marion, Virginia. He has been an active member of the Smyth County Chamber of Commerce and has led various educational initiatives in the region. He advocated for and contributed to efforts to bring a comprehensive wellness center to Smyth County to serve this underserved region, and has supported the development of expanded health education programs in concert with Emory and Henry College.
Gary retired as senior vice president of operations for Royal Mouldings (previously Marley Mouldings) where he supervised approximately 700 employees and enjoyed a 41-year career with the company.
He attended Oregon State University with a major in education and a minor in arts and architecture.
Dr. Doug Springer
Dr. Doug Springer recently retired as a gastroenterologist with Gastroenterology Associates, which has practice locations in Big Stone Gap and Abingdon, Virginia, and Kingsport and Bristol, Tennessee. He has had medical staff privileges at Holston Valley Medical Center and serves on the board of directors of Wellmont Health System.
Dr. Springer has been active in professional organizations, holding leadership positions with the Sullivan County Medical Society, the American College of Gastroenterology, and the Tennessee Medical Association. He served as the president of the Tennessee Medical Association from 2014-2015.
Dr. Springer is a graduate of the University of Toronto and received his medical training at the University of Calgary. He has earned fellowship in the American College of Physicians and the American College of Gastroenterology and has served as a clinical professor of medicine at ETSU College of Medicine.
Keith Wilson has served as a leader in the newspaper industry for more than 40 years, most recently retiring as publisher of the Kingsport Times-News and president of Northeast Tennessee Media Group. Keith’s career in news began immediately after his graduation from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He has worked on the business side throughout his career, including positions such as general manager, business manager and circulation director at newspapers in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
He was named publisher of the Times-News in 1993, and in 2011 was promoted to his additional role as president, overseeing Sandusky Corporation’s newspapers in the region. As president of Northeast Tennessee Media Group, Keith oversaw the Johnson City Press, The Erwin Record, the Herald and Tribune in Jonesborough and The Tomahawk in Mountain City.
Keith serves on the board of directors of Wellmont Health System, has served as president of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, chairman of Kingsport Tomorrow and chairman of Leadership Kingsport. He has served in multiple governance roles, including vice chair of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission; chair of Networks, Sullivan County Economic Development Partnership; chair of Northeast State College Foundation; secretary of the Kingsport Economic Development Board; chair of Kingsport’s Funfest; chair of Leadership Kingsport; president of the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association; and board member of the Tennessee Press Association. He currently serves as a representative from Scott County on the Mountain Empire Community College Advisory Board.
Keith is married to Pam Cox and the couple lives in Scott County, Virginia. They have three children: Carolyn Wilson, Douglas Wilson, and Jessica Osborne.