Holland Hospital announces the retirement of one of Michigan's longest-serving hospital CEOs, Dale M. Sowders, CEO & vice chair board of directors, and celebrates the vast contributions that he made to the health of the Lakeshore communities over his 22-year tenure at the hospital.
Sowders' retirement is effective January 30, 2024; however, he will continue serving as vice chair board of directors through 2024. This announcement follows an outlining of the organization’s succession plan, which began in April 2022. During his tenure, Sowders guided Holland Hospital's transformation from a highly regarded community hospital to a regional health care leader, serving West Michigan's lakeshore with nationally recognized quality, exceptional patient satisfaction and superior financial performance.
Since he began his career with Holland Hospital in 2002, Sowders has remained committed to cultivating a strong workplace culture that reflects the organization's mission and provides both clinical excellence and compassionate care.
Celebrating Sowders' Legacy
Holland Hospital's Accomplishments During Sowders' Tenure
Throughout Holland Hospital's 105-year history, our mission of continually improving the health of the communities we serve in the spirit of hope, compassion, respect and dignity has remained strong thanks to the contributions and talents of many people, including the dedicated leadership of long-time leader Dale M. Sowders.
In 1999, Sowders joined the organization, then Holland Community Hospital, and three years later, in February 2002, he took over as President and CEO upon the retirement of his predecessor Judeth Newham. Through these changes, his commitment remained true to continuing and strengthening the hospital's long-standing commitment to patient-centered care.
Sowders' achievements while at Holland Hospital are vast, however, key highlights include:
Rebranding the organization as Holland Hospital in 2005, removing “community” from its name, communicating that the hospital does not fall into the community hospital category, an industry term for small, local hospitals that offer limited services and refer all serious medical needs to larger institutions.
Overseeing the completion of the largest expansion in its history in 2007, adding 90,000 square feet and renovating another 46,000 square feet as part of a $45.7 million project, which included an expanded Emergency Department and new Intensive Care Unit, Special Care Nursery and Cardiac Rehab facility among other updates.
Overseeing the addition of a new Behavioral Health inpatient care unit to better serve growing needs, providing the latest design and technology for effective therapy treatment, security and comfort.
Expanding relationships by launching the Holland Hospital Medical Group (initially branded Lakeshore Health Partners) beginning with just one practice. Since then, we have attracted many new providers to the area and our medical group now includes 130 providers and 300 staff covering primary care and a wide range of specialties.
Growing the organization's footprint throughout the region. In 2010, Holland Hospital Medical Building opened in Zeeland and now provides Primary Care, Walk-In Care, Lab, Radiology and more.
Opening the Spine & Orthopedic Unit in 2013, with 23,400 square feet added to the second floor along Michigan Avenue, providing the latest in design, treatment technology and patient amenities.
Guiding the expansion of cardiology services to serve lakeshore area residents including the development of a new heart and vascular center at the main campus, providing convenient access to the area's expert cardiologists for preventative, ongoing and emergency care.
Leading Holland Hospital's 100th Anniversary in 2017 with a community-wide celebration. That same year the organization was recognized as one of America's 50 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades and the hospital's Cardiac Catheterization Lab opened with advanced lifesaving treatment of heart blockages.
Guiding the organization through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic with a massive community engagement campaign to inform, protect and treat area residents.
2023 & Beyond
Throughout his 22-year tenure, Sowders developed numerous new partnerships to bring care close to home across the lakeshore, including a long-term partnership between Holland PHO and agilon health, a joint venture with Shoreline Orthopaedics, and Strategic Alliance with University of Michigan Health as a partnership that will expand the organization's commitment to ensure exceptional care for lakeshore communities well into the future.