The Importance of Caring: My Journey into Health Care – Jim Frauendorfer

By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital  – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, February 2019

Jim Frauendorfer didn’t plan on having a career in health care. He’d spent almost three decades in manufacturing before taking on his current position as director of Plant Operations at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH).

Frauendorfer has been in this position since July 2007.

“I was given the opportunity to take this position and I haven’t regretted it one day in the last 11 and half years,” Frauendorfer said. “It’s been the most gratifying job I’ve ever had.”

In his position, Frauendorfer has varied responsibilities. On a typical day, he might meet with vendors for hospital improvement projects, gather quotes for hospital equipment, meet with contractors, assist with landscaping of the grounds and deal with maintenance issues in hospital facilities or offices. He also oversees a dozen maintenance staff members and manages the hospital’s security contractors.

“There’s never a dull moment,” he said. “Every day is kind of different. It’s a matter of keeping the hospital running efficiently and creating an inviting appearance.”

Recently, Frauendorfer has also been overseeing CCH’s upcoming $35-million renovation project that will primarily impact the Surgical Services, Maternal Child Health and Radiology departments.

Though construction is not expected to start on the project until spring, there is still a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done with the project’s architecture firm, TSP, Inc. and the project’s construction manager, JE Dunn Construction. For example, Frauendorfer has been meeting with the project’s architects to provide feedback on the project and ensure CCH gets everything it wants out of the renovation.

This is not the first large project Frauendorfer has worked on at CCH. He has also overseen work on an emergency department expansion in 2012, as well as the construction of the Columbus Wellness Center and CCH Child Care Center in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

“I’ve been a part of all these projects and it’s just exciting for me to be able to see them from start to finish. I’m proud of what we do for the community, because it’s all needed,” Frauendorfer said.

Though Frauendorfer hadn’t planned on a career in health care, he has always been driven to give help when it’s needed.

“I have always kind of been that way, if someone needs something, I’m always willing to help out,” he said.

Frauendorfer had initially started out in manufacturing because of this desire to fix things – something he learned to do growing up on a farm.

“On the farm, I always did whatever I needed to do – fixed buildings, worked on machines – whatever it took to keep things performing well,” he said. Frauendorfer drew on this experience in his 27 years at a manufacturing plant – where he spent most of his years in the maintenance department. Over the years, he also took additional college classes in electrical work, plumbing and the programming of CNC machines.

“What I learned between college and the on-the-job training at the manufacturing company led me to this position,” Frauendorfer said.

Frauendorfer initially became interested in health care in 2002 when his father was having health problems. Frauendorfer spent much of his time in hospitals with his father and that’s when he noticed how much hospital staff got to influence people’s lives through their work.

He wanted to do the same – so when his friend told him about an open position at CCH years later, Frauendorfer applied.

That was the director of Plant Operations position Frauendorfer has happily served in since.

Though Frauendorfer doesn’t provide direct patient care, he and his team keep CCH’s facility, grounds and equipment in good shape so the hospital’s health care providers are able to provide the best possible care.

“It’s very rewarding, because you know you’re helping people,” Frauendorfer said. “We take pride in what we do. All the CCH staff are like that. Whether you are in radiology, nursing, respiratory or administration we all have the same mission – to do a good job. The people here are the best.”

To learn more about Frauendorfer or how CCH provides high quality health care in cutting edge facilities, visit www.columbushosp.org.