After 44 years with the Avera Health system, President and CEO John Porter is retiring. His tenure spanned decades of growth, including the joining of the Benedictine and Presentation health systems into Avera Health in 2000.
John Porter has a few major milestones to celebrate. After a more than four-decade career with Avera, this next year sees his 70th birthday and his 50th wedding anniversary. After reflecting with his wife, Porter says that's why now seems like the perfect time to move on.
"As we've talked about things in the last couple years," he says, "it's becoming obvious to us that either we're going to be here and literally die in the saddle or it's time for us maybe to move on into the next stage of our life."
Porter says Avera has seen tremendous growth over the years. The system has expanded from traditional hospitals to include clinics, retirement homes, hospice care, fitness centers and more.
"Avera health is by far the largest healthcare provider certainly in our market, certainly in South Dakota," says Porter. "We're probably a little over 17 thousand employees and approaching a thousand physicians and physician extenders."
Porter says he'll work with the Sisters of the Avera System Members in choosing an external search firm to find his sucessor. Once that process has gone underway, he intends to let the search committee do its work. He says he has no interest in returning to Avera in some other capacity--besides stopping in for the occasional cup of coffee.
What is he most looking forward to in retirement?
"The right answer, of course, according to my wife, is spending time with the kids and the grandkids. I still am known to occassionally hop on a Harley motorcycle and go for a ride. I absolutely love fly fishing in the Black Hills."
Porter plans to remain in his current position until December 2018, or until his successor is chosen.