When Cheryl Cartmille, purchasing manager, was job hunting years ago, she wanted to join a family-friendly workplace where she could excel professionally in the materials management field and personally as a single parent. Previously, she had worked for and relocated with a global company, but when she began raising a child, Cheryl reevaluated her priorities.
“The mission and culture of Akron Children’s aligned with my personal beliefs,” Cheryl said. “I feel blessed to have worked at Children’s where the pillars of character, such as trustworthiness and caring, were emphasized, along with the importance of treating all children as if they’re our own. Raising a daughter gave me great respect and empathy for parents. Working for an organization that engaged employees in this mission was important to me.”
On Jan. 29, Cheryl ends her 21-year career at Children’s. Her retirement plans include enjoying her new puppy, walking, exercising, renovating her home and, when COVID-19 lifts, dining out and attending Ohio State University sporting events and concerts with her daughter and friends.
What brought you to Children’s?
I worked for a food service distributor. Children’s was a customer and I met with the food service and purchasing staff, including Sue Monsell, Elaine White, Bev Gaylord, and Herb Hershberger. They knew my work experience included materials management and purchasing roles. Bev called before retiring to tell me her purchasing manager job was posted. I submitted my resume and Herb, formerly materials management director, hired me.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
Yes, although as the hospital evolved, so did my role, enabling me to grow while contributing to Children’s mission. For instance, when the pandemic started, we needed to purchase real-time thermal temperature monitoring systems quickly. These are used at various entrances in our hospitals and urgent, primary and specialty care locations and create another layer of safety for our patients and staff.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
My contributions have recently involved Children’s addition and expansion projects. In purchasing, we order every location’s furniture, fixtures and equipment. This includes obtaining vendor quotes, placing purchase orders and following up to ensure on-time deliveries. During the Considine building project, which added 230,00 square feet to the existing building and relocated most of the hospital’s ambulatory and subspecialty practices, we did a phased move-in so patient care wasn’t disrupted. Working with architects, project managers and different departments, my team ordered everything requested, helping to ensure each department opened on time.
After completing that project, we opened 4 regional health centers: Mansfield, North Canton, Boston Heights and Portage. Each location differed in size and needs. What made me the happiest was hearing Children’s leadership talk about the community’s excitement. In fact, at the Mansfield Regional Health open house, a line of people wrapped around the building waiting for the doors to open.
How has Akron Children’s changed since you started here?
We’ve made tremendous advances in technology, beginning with the Epic rollout and, most recently, INFOR implementation. Our previous materials management information system was outdated, requiring us to manipulate data manually to manage purchasing processes. With INFOR, the automation and integration has streamlined our processes.
What gave you the most satisfaction at work?
Assisting other employees and trying to make their job easier, especially when they needed supplies or equipment that were critical for patient care or time sensitive to procure a significant cost savings. People often don’t know who can assist them, but when they explain and we’re able to help, they’re grateful. I’ve found these partnerships special and rewarding.
What’s your most memorable moment at Akron Children’s?
It gave me pleasure to include my daughter in some of Children’s special events, such as Hope Lights the Way and the “Have a Heart, Do Your Part” Radiothon with me. It’s made me proud to include her!
With so many little children here, did someone or something especially touch your heart?
I’ve volunteered at the radiothon many times and enjoy hearing the touching stories our patients and families share during the event. I remember one story about a young boy who was run over by the family’s SUV as it backed out. He was life-flighted to Children’s. As his mom told their story, I watched that boy behave like every child his age. It reinforced the special things that are done here.
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
Participate in and volunteer at one of Children’s many events. They’re fun and a great way to help the community, meet other employees and make new friends.