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Get to Know Derek Goebel

Get to Know Derek Goebel

Derek Goebel, Altru’s director of finance and supply chain, has been named to Prairie Business’ ‘40 Under 40’ list for 2021. Here’s a chance to get to know a bit more about Derek.

Why did you choose to work in healthcare?
I’m originally from Grand Forks, born at United Hospital. My entire immediate family lives here too. Great healthcare for our community means great healthcare for my family. That’s what I think about every day and that’s what keeps me in the industry and in the community.

What is your educational background and career history?
I started out in retail, like many people do, and found myself in leadership in that industry. I then moved over to wholesale and distribution/logistics before landing in healthcare with Altru. I’ve been with Altru for 11 years and have served on various teams: planning, performance improvement, operations and finance. I have a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in business administration. I’m also scheduled to graduate with a second bachelor’s degree in accounting this December.

What’s the best thing about your job?
I support the people that take care of patients. When I can help an operational leader or a member of the front-line care teams improve their work with a simpler process that allows them to focus attention on the patient and not the challenges of healthcare finance, I’ve done my job.

What has been the best day/moment of your career so far?
In 2014 I was fortunate to lead a project committee to open Altru Specialty Center to provide services for rehab and surgical patients. I feel so lucky to have had a chance to work with a such a broadly talented group of people. As challenging as that work was, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

What or who do you feel has had the biggest impact on your career so far?
I’m a veteran and served 13 years, including two mobilizations: one in Iraq and one in the U.S. Both events took me away from home for more than a year. While the separation from what was familiar and safe was difficult, the experience taught me resilience, the importance of working as a team, and how critical it is to trust in others to accomplish the mission.

How does working at Altru support your lifestyle?
Altru has allowed me to start in one department and move throughout the organization as the needs of the organization changed and my interests evolved. There aren’t many places where one can work in four different divisions without leaving one’s hometown. I’m grateful for that.

What excites you most about Altru’s future?
I’m excited to see new faces on our teams and interest from people who have worked in other industries. This year I’ve been lucky to also work with a group of interns who have helped us remember how important it is to open the door to the next group of graduates to grow our teams.

How do you measure success?
While I’m a finance guy and I watch the operating margin very closely, healthcare leadership means being aware of not just margin, but also the outcome for our patients and how we support our caregivers internally. If I can help our current team members find their next great role at Altru and continue to see positive outcomes for our patients while balancing the ‘bottom line,’ I see success.

What are your hobbies outside of work?
I’m married and have been for six years to Rachel, who is an analyst with the ND Department of Health. We have one daughter, Grace, who will be 2 years old in January. We have a dog and a cat too. While that takes most of the open time I have, I also enjoy bowhunting in the fall and fishing in the summer.

If you had an extra hour every day, what would you spend it doing?
I’d spend more time outside, probably in the yard with my family and the dog.