Spotlight Story

Ken McGuire Manages a Healthy Career

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Ken McGuire MBA 04 spent the first 15 years of his career in commercial lending, working up the ranks to national sales manager of small business lending for Wachovia Bank. Shortly after leaving Wachovia following the 2008 financial meltdown, he was named chief financial officer for Horizon West Healthcare—at the time, the largest privately held healthcare provider in the Sacramento region, with $250 million in revenue, 27 facilities and more than 3,000 employees.McGuire’s charge: to engineer and architect a complete turnaround of the enterprise.Within five months, he was promoted to president and CEO. 

In early 2011 the company was sold, and McGuire created Innovations Health Systems. Today he is president and CEO of the company, which invests in and manages several healthcare-related, wholly owned subsidiaries. In 2012 the company opened Innovations Health Staffing. In January 2013 it opened Innovations Health Devices, a durable medical equipment company, and in April it launched Kinova USA, a provider of robotic assistive devices. Coming up this fall: “we will begin the development of Innovations Health Commons, a community of direct care facilities,” says McGuire.

What are you passionate about in your work?

I am passionate about providing dynamic solutions to our ever-changing healthcare environment by offering necessary services to underserved populations in a more efficient, effective and efficacious manner.

Where is your career headed?

I have already achieved my initial career objectives and am now focused on building a company that is admired by its customers, competitors and society at large. In addition, I had the opportunity to teach at the Graduate School of Management last spring, and I relished the chance to share my practical business experience.

How has your UC Davis MBA experience helped shape your success?

My MBA has helped me open many doors, but is chiefly responsible for creating my two largest career moves. First, it demonstrated to Wachovia that I was ready to jump from the western regional sales manager of Bank of the West, to national sales manager at Wachovia. Second, it is one of the primary reasons I was trusted to successfully manage a career change from banking to healthcare. In addition, mentioning my having an MBA from the Graduate School of Management always garners me a high level of respect and admiration.

What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating?

Being hired as the CFO and promoted to CEO in just five months in a field where I had no experience and for a company with $250 million in revenue and more than 3,000 employees. The subsequent turnaround I achieved—which included top-grading numerous leadership positions—drastically improved both financial and operational statics, and rebranded the company. In two years we went from losing $4 million per year to making more than $6 million per year with 83,000 fewer patient days. As a result, the owner was able to sell the company for a very generous multiple, given its poor historic financial performance.

Your favorite GSM memory?

Watching the nervous ticks and awkward body language that other students displayed while making presentations about topics for the first time in their career—and in which they were not experts in the field.

How do you support and participate in the GSM now?

Aside from teaching the Turnaround Management class last spring, I have guest lectured, participated in various recruitment and networking forums, and mentored numerous UC Davis MBA students.

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