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Louis Smith picked to lead Northeast Georgia Medical Center
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A hospital executive from Texas has been named president of Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Louis G. Smith Jr. was tapped to replace Brad Nurkin, who resigned in January 2014. He had held the post since August 2012.

Smith, who most recently served as CEO of Memorial Hermann Northeast Campus in Houston, will start the new post at the hospital’s Gainesville campus on March 2.

“During our exhaustive, nationwide search for candidates and thorough interview process, it became evident that Louis has demonstrated core values that align closely with those of our health system,” said Carol Burrell, president and CEO of the Northeast Georgia Health System.

She said those values included “respectful compassion, deep interdependence, responsible stewardship and passion for excellence.”

“His extensive health care experience spans decades, and his involvement in civic groups ... speak to his commitment to community,” Burrell said.

Smith has more than 21 years of health care experience, including the stint in Houston, where he has worked since 2008.

“I feel blessed to have the opportunity not only to join a nationally respected and awarded organization like NGMC, but also to join a giving and active community like Gainesville,” he said.

Before the CEO post, he served in senior leadership roles at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital and Memorial Hermann’s Spiritual Leadership Institute.

In May, Smith received Memorial Hermann’s highest honor, the Dan S. Wilford Spirit Award, which recognized his “integrity, spirituality and compassion for patients, family members, employees and volunteers.”

Before moving to Texas, he served as vice president of Hamilton Health Care System in Dalton.

“I look forward to continuing NGMC’s legacy of excellent patient care while working with every member of the team to continually improve the patient experience,” Smith said.

He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi College and a master’s degree in health administration from Medical College of Virginia-Virginia Commonwealth University.

He and his wife, June, have two children.

The search for a president began soon after Nurkin left, citing personal reasons.

Hospital officials hired Wheless Partners, a national executive search firm with an Atlanta office, to help in the search.

Wheless Partners “specializes in health care and has deep experience in hospital and health system (executive) searches,” hospital spokeswoman Melissa Tymchuk said.

Instead of naming an interim president, Burrell and other senior leaders have been overseeing daily operations, she has said.

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