Case Studies

Thomas Lemieux – Grady Health 

Building the future of hospital facilities 

At Grady Health, Thomas Lemieux embodies the spirit of dedication and excellence as the director of facilities development. In this role, he contributes to the organization’s mission and serves as a driving force behind its success. Grady Health stands as a beacon of hope for many, being one of the largest safety net hospitals in the nation and the sole level 1 trauma center in Atlanta.  

With over four years of experience at Atlanta-based Grady Health System, Lemieux brings a depth of knowledge and expertise to his position. As the overseer of capital planning, concept development, project management and project implementation, he plays a vital role in shaping the future of healthcare infrastructure at Grady Health.  

Lemieux’s commitment to excellence and unwavering dedication to the organization’s mission make him an indispensable asset in ensuring the delivery of quality care to the community. 

“Building healthcare facilities goes beyond bricks and mortar; it’s about constructing a foundation of hope and healing for our community’s well-being,” Lemieux says. 

Leading change in healthcare 

Upon joining Grady Health, Lemieux faced a significant challenge when rebuilding and renovating one-third of the organization’s patient rooms following a devastating flood that caused extensive damage. With 260 beds immediately taken out of service due to major flooding and waterborne damage and roughly 700,000 square feet of space affected by the loss of normal power and HVAC.

Lemieux and his team made a massive effort to restore critical infrastructure and gut and rebuild these critical patient care areas.  During the planning for the rebuilding effort, Lemieux seized an opportunity to rebuild these areas with a more thoughtful and contemporary design, and the result was a concept that enhanced patient care and provided a patient-focused and modern clinical space. 

“Despite the daunting task, we emerged from the rebuild with updated and more functional spaces, positioning the organization for improved patient care and patient experience,” he says.  

In recent endeavors, Lemieux has focused on upgrading Grady Health’s imaging and diagnostics equipment, replacing outdated systems to meet current standards. By installing 27 major pieces of equipment within a year, Grady Health now boasts some of the highest imaging volumes in the state, catering to the patient’s needs in the area and reducing wait times for these critical diagnostic services. 

Lemieux and his team are undertaking a nine-story renovation project to add eight new patient units and 182 beds.  This is one of the largest interior renovations in an active hospital in the country.  This project, when completed, will address the increased demand for healthcare services following the closure of nearby hospitals. Despite the challenges posed by such extensive projects, Grady Health’s average daily census has already seen a significant increase, indicating the positive impact of these developments on the community. 

With a track record of successfully managing large-scale projects, Lemieux has played an important role in Grady Health’s recent profitability, contributing to its ability to fulfill its mission as a safety net hospital. As Grady Health continues to focus on enhancing patient satisfaction and quality of care, Lemieux remains dedicated to driving innovation and excellence in healthcare facilities development. 

“I believe my leadership and expertise in facilities development have been instrumental in shaping Grady Health’s infrastructure and ensuring its ability to meet our community’s evolving needs,” he explains.   

A key milestone along this journey was allowing Grady to reopen beds to its current licensed capacity—a long-term or stretch goal is to restore bed capacity to its built capacity of 1,250 beds, Lemieux says.  

Leading with purpose 

As the leader of Grady Health’s facilities development team, Lemieux embodies effective leadership. He oversees projects and empowers his team to innovate, collaborate and deliver results that positively impact people’s lives. 

Like many industries, recruiting and retaining top talent has challenged Lemieux and his team. However, they are committed to finding creative solutions to ensure they have the best talent to drive their projects forward. 

In addition to staffing challenges, navigating the aging infrastructure of Grady Health, which dates back to the 1950s, has been one of Lemieux’s other big challenges. Despite this, he finds fulfillment in the organization’s mission-driven work, particularly in critical areas like trauma, stroke, burn, cancer, and behavioral health. 

Throughout his career, Lemieux has evolved as a leader by recognizing the importance of understanding the business side of healthcare. He understands that even small improvements in operational efficiency can significantly impact patient care and organizational success. 

Lemieux remains dedicated to driving positive change and ensuring that Grady Health continues to provide exceptional care to those who need it most. 

“Empowering teams to innovate and deliver impactful results is key to driving positive change. By fostering a culture of collaboration and creativity, we can unlock the full potential of our collective talents, leading to transformative outcomes that benefit both our organization and the communities we serve,” Lemieux says.  

From family tradition to professional passion 

Lemieux’s career trajectory reflects a deep-rooted passion for construction and facilities development, inspired by his family’s legacy and engineering background. With a degree in civil engineering from Louisiana State University and a graduate certificate in project management from Washington University in St. Louis, Lemieux embarked on a journey that led him through various project management roles. 

Since the early 2000s, Lemieux has contributed his expertise to organizations such as Anheuser-Busch, Parkland Hospital, Loyola University Health System, and Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. His experience in diverse project management roles honed his skills and gave him invaluable insights into facilities development. 

In October 2019, Lemieux brought his wealth of knowledge and experience to Grady Health, where he assumed the role of director of facilities development. Here, he demonstrates astute leadership and strategic decision-making, driving the organization’s development initiatives forward. 

Through his tenure at Grady, Lemieux has faced numerous challenges, from rebuilding after a devastating interior flood and navigating an aging infrastructure to the numerous times he responded to capacity needs for the hospital. His unwavering dedication and willingness to make sacrifices have driven positive change and shaped the organization’s future.   

“The greatest reward for sacrifice is not what you receive in return, but how you can grow from the journey,” he reflects.  

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. IV 2024 Edition here.

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