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Hartman, Hill ready to spread Seton Healthcare's message

Austin Business Journal


The Austin Business Journal (12/03/2004)
by Giselle Greenwood

The Seton Healthcare Network has recruited two Central Texas heavyweights - Gerald Hill and Greg Hartman - to help spread its message to the public.

After a 13-year run at Texas State University-San Marcos, Hill is joining Austin-based Seton as senior vice president of advocacy and communications.

Also joining Seton is Hartman, who will be senior vice president of marketing and planning.

Hartman began that job Nov. 29. Hartman was a managing director of Austin-based public affairs powerhouse Public Strategies Inc. and once headed its Austin office.

Hill, vice president for university advancement at Texas State, and Hartman take over the role vacated by Mark Hazelwood, who has joined Dallas-based banking company PlainsCapital Corp.

The position had been vacant since September.

Both men will report to Charles Barnett, CEO of Seton Healthcare Network. Barnett says that the nonprofit health care system reviewed the position after Hazelwood left and decided to split the duties into two separate jobs because of the amount of and complexity of the work, such as communications, government relations, physician relations, marketing, planning and customer service.

"We expect Gerald and Greg will enable us to be more efficient and effective," Barnett says.

Hartman says he always had thought he would retire with Public Strategies.

But when he was approached about the Seton position, he says he couldn't pass it up.

"When I heard Gerald was also joining, that sealed the deal," Hartman says. "He is just so well-respected and so committed to the Seton mission."

Jack Martin, founder and chairman of Public Strategies, says: "I think it's a great opportunity for Greg. We're all very proud of him. He'll do a wonderful job for Seton and it's a huge addition for them. He's been a friend of mine for over 20 years, and I can't think of a better person to do the job."

Hartman's position at Public Strategies hasn't been filled. The firm typically promotes from within, Martin says.

Barnett says he and Pat Hayes, Seton's executive vice president and chief operating officer, initially approached Hill to see whether he could recommend someone for the position.

Hill, a former member of Seton's advisory board, thought the job sounded exciting.

"I love my university, and we've had some great success," says Hill, who starts working at Seton on Dec. 27. "But my past experience in governmental affairs and dealing with issues in the healthcare industry makes this a perfect fit for me."

Denise Trauth, president of Texas State, says the move is a good fit for Hill, whom she calls one of the school's "most gifted alumni."

"We will miss him very much. But we understand that this is a wonderful opportunity for him with Seton," Trauth says. "And, while we will miss him, we are happy he will be staying in the region and working for better health care in this area.

Before he joined Texas State, Hill was vice chancellor for governmental relations at the Austin-based University of Texas System, where he worked with the system's medical institutions.

He was also a Texas state representative from 1977 to 1984.

At Texas State, Hill has coordinated with Seton regarding the Round Rock Higher Education Center, which will offer medical training programs. In his new role at Seton, Hill will work with legislators on behalf of Seton to discuss policy issues related to health care and will oversee media and public relations.

"I was born in Seton, my grandkids were born in Seton ... so I have a personal stake and interest there," Hill says. "[This position] is a natural extension of things I've done throughout my career."

Barnett says Hill will be in constant contact with community leaders, stakeholders and legislators.

"He's a marvelous leader in this community," Barnett says. "He has the kind of commitment and values that make him a great fit for Seton."