Dean Pufahl, CHFM

2018 President-Elect

Dean Pufahl Director of Facilities Services
Froedtert – St. Joseph’s Hospital
West Bend, WI





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Dean has more than 35 years of experience in healthcare. He started his career as a maintenance mechanic then trained as a stationary engineer and still holds his third class stationary engineers license. Over the past 30 years Dean has been promoted from Maintenance Supervisor to Director of Facility Services, managing multiple service departments in both hospitals and clinics. He currently oversees the facility operations of two community hospitals, sixteen clinics and two ambulatory surgery sites, with a combined area greater than 1.4 million square feet.

In the recent past, Dean has been the safety officer and managed plant operations, security, clinical engineering, construction services, environmental services/linen and food and nutritional services.  He has also chaired the hospital’s Environment of Care Safety Committee, Emergency Management Committee, Patient Safety and Quality Committee and the health system’s Sustainability Committees.  

Dean has been a member of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and the Wisconsin Healthcare Engineering Association for almost twenty years and earned his CHFM in 2001, and just recently, his CHC.  He served for five years on the WHEA State Board and as WHEA President in 2012. He has represented Region 6 on the ASHE Board of Directors since 2014, Co-chaired the ASHE Education Committee and Chaired the Member Value Committee. Dean has also served on several ASHE committees and task forces and the ASHE Region 6 Conference Committee for the past several years. Dean has recently been asked to serve on the AHA Certification Board: representing the CHFM program.

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1. The ASHE strategic plan identifies that the ASHE membership has become increasingly diverse and focuses on driving value to across all segments of the membership.  What do you see as some of the common challenges facing the entire membership? What can ASHE do to ensure that their needs are being met?

First and foremost I believe that it is important to listen to the membership. ASHE’s 2016 Member Survey goes a long way to capture our Professional and Associate member’s concerns and identifies their challenges and gaps in our programs and services.

Utilizing ASHE’s strategic imperatives and the Member Survey as guidance, the ASHE Board of Directors has been working through the ASHE Committee process to create and execute action plans to address the member’s concerns.  

The Member Survey has also identified many areas where ASHE has had proven success in bringing value to the membership by meeting the specific needs of multiple membership groups.

I am a strong advocate for this cycle of Member Survey, strategic planning and then rapidly addressing the opportunities. This is by far an industry best practice and continuing this process will ensure that ASHE is actively engaged in listening to our members and has a strong understanding of their challenges.  I believe this process is the best strategy for identifying and meeting the concerns of ALL of our members.

2. Using the ASHE strategic plan as a guide, what would you like to accomplish during your term as president?

Member Engagement is not exactly on the top of everyone’s mind but is important for us as a Society to address if we want to continue our success as an organization.  Attracting new, younger, members is the goal of every organization today and we will be competing against all other organizations for the millennial generation.

The global economy is moving beyond the technology based economy to an experience based economy.  We are seeing this change every day in healthcare where we hear our patients no longer commenting on the specific surgery they had or the temperature of the room but the “experience of the stay” or their “overall experience of the Physician office visit.” This is also being seen in our design and construction of new facilities, where the focus on the patient experience has become a key driver. ASHE has mastered the technology based economy and has attracted the members that were driven by the need for technology. The new challenge is to define and create “The ASHE EXPERIENCE”.  

Millennials are drawn to work places and organizations that offer an enhanced experience, the feeling that they are part of a team, where growth and mentoring occur and where they will be engaged with other members in a collegial environment.  I believe ASHE is well positioned to offer this experience. It will take focus and commitment from those in leadership to be open to this change and (of course) the new experiences.  

If elected I would work to establish the foundational changes to allow this culture to develop and grow into the ASHE Experience, ushering in the Millennial Generation and a more engaged membership.

3. What initiatives will you spearhead to help members achieve their personal and professional goals?

My passion has always been around increasing the Value that ASHE brings to the members.  If it were possible, I would like to see us accomplish all the items identified on the Strategic Plan but understanding there are limits on time, money and resources, we must be selective and my focus would be on enhancing Member Value.  

As each member of ASHE has their own definition of value based on their individual circumstances, ASHE must continue to expand their variety of programs and services to meet the demands of the diverse membership.  

To date ASHE has been very successful in delivering value to the members through their delivery of updated codes and standards, education and professional development programs and by supplying the tools needed for facility managers to complete their day-to-day work.  With that said ASHE is nearing capacity and if we want to continue to grow and offer expanded services ASHE needs to expand its resources.  

One way to meet this challenge is to strengthen the relationship between ASHE, the local Chapters and the membership. Reinforcing this triad would enable us as a Society to accomplish significantly more than any one of us could accomplish independently.  Focusing ASHE’s strength on national issues, the local Chapters attention on local and regional issues and having an engaged membership would increase our capacity.  This collaboration would maximize our potential to address more items identified on the Strategic Plan thus providing additional value to the members.

4. Please provide information on your professional background, as well as your personal interests.

I started my healthcare career more than 35 years ago as a second shift maintenance mechanic at an 80 bed hospital in southeastern Wisconsin.  When the economy took a downturn in the early 80’s, I trained as a stationary engineer and still hold a third class stationary engineers license.  

Over the past 30 years I have been promoted multiple times from Maintenance Supervisor to Manager, then Director of Plant Operations with my current role as Director of Facility Services leading multiple service departments in both hospitals and clinics.  I currently oversee the facility operations of two community hospitals, sixteen clinics, two ambulatory surgery sites and a free standing emergency department with a combined area greater than 1.4 million square feet.

During my career I have managed Plant Operations, Security and Safety, Clinical Engineering, Construction, Environmental Services/Linen, Food & Nutritional Services and been the Safety Officer for 10 years.  I have also chaired the hospital’s Environment of Care Safety Committee, Emergency Management, Patient Safety and Quality Committee and the health system’s Sustainability Committee.  

My first introduction to ASHE was through my local WHEA Chapter in the early 90’s.  At the time it just wasn’t the right fit.  I had a young family; I was busy doing all the “fun” things in life.  It wasn’t long after being promoted that I realized these two organizations had a so much to offer.  I attended a few meetings and educational programs and was quickly hooked.  The networking and the openness of the members to share information and their extreme willingness to assist other members and their competitors was humbling.

ASHE and the local chapter became the conduit for the information that allowed me to grow and develop the skills needed to succeed in my career.  I took advantage of the opportunities presented to me and attended numerous conferences.  I felt so strongly about the quality of the education I was receiving at these events that when my employer could not afford to send me, I paid out of my own pocket to attend.  In 2001 I earned my CHFM and just this year earned my CHC.  If ASHE was a sports team I would be one of its biggest fans!   

As my children grew up and moved out of the house, then back in and again back out… my time freed up and I realized I wanted to get more engaged with WHEA and ASHE.  I served on the WHEA State Board for five years and as President in 2012.  I was nominated and became the ASHE Region 6 Emerging Leader in 2011 and was elected to the ASHE Board of Directors for Region 6 in 2013.

During the past 15 years I served on several ASHE task forces and committees. While on the ASHE Board, I Co-chaired the Education Committee, Chaired the Member Value Committee and served for nine years on the ASHE Region 6 Conference Committee.  Last year I was asked to serve on the AHA Certification Board: representing the CHFM program.    

When I am not working I enjoy spending time with family, hunting, fishing (when the fish are biting and the mosquitoes aren’t), watching sports on TV and camping with my wife (and best friend) Barb.  The big event for us this year, in April our daughter Chris and son-in-law Joe gave birth to twins!  As a new grandpa and a twin myself this is very cool!

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Personal Letter

Dear ASHE Member,

It is a true honor to be nominated as a candidate for the ASHE President-Elect position and a privilege to have an opportunity to serve you on the ASHE Board for the next three years.

I have worked in healthcare for more than thirty-five years.  I started my career as a maintenance mechanic in an 80 bed hospital and trained as a stationary engineer, then progressed through the roles of maintenance supervisor, plant operations manager and served as the safety officer and facility director.  In my current role, I manage facility operations for two community hospitals and more than two dozen off-campus clinics and ambulatory care sites with a combined area of more than 1.4 million square feet.   

Like many of you my career has transitioned to meet the many challenges that affected healthcare over the past three decades.  Through these changes I have had the great pleasure to lead and learn from other support service departments; including environmental services, food and nutrition services, clinical engineering, safety and security and construction services.  Those experiences along with my service on the ASHE, Wisconsin Healthcare Engineers Association and other organization boards has prepared me for the role of ASHE President-Elect and has given me a unique perspective on leadership, what it means to serve and what it will take to meet ASHE’s current and future challenges.

The passion we have for our work, trade, career or profession has drawn us to ASHE. Our needs and challenges are as diverse as our membership, so ASHE’s vision for the future must be both expansive and inclusive. Building off the three strategic imperative, the strategic plan and your concerns identified in the membership survey, the ASHE Board will set the direction and goals for the future of the organization and determine how best to meet your needs.  To achieve these goals ASHE will need leadership that is creative, adapts easily to change, and is equally focused on the concerns and challenges of the membership as with the changes in healthcare.

My passion has always been around member value with focus on the programs, services and benefits ASHE delivers to its membership.  If I do have the good fortune of being elected to serve as your next President-Elect, I will continue to build on the great successes of ASHE, by addressing your concerns and continuing efforts to increase the value of an ASHE membership to all members.

Thank you for considering me as a candidate to represent and serve you as the next ASHE President-Elect.


Dean Pufahl, CHFM, CHC
Director Facility Services

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