One of the region’s key figures in expanding the reach of Florida Hospital is calling it a career.
Senior Executive Officer Ken Bradley of the South/West market in metro Orlando will retire Feb. 1, after 32-and-a-half years of work at Florida Hospital.
The Winter Park resident helped several key moves take place that grew the organization, including the acquisitions of hospitals in Kissimmee and Winter Park. He played a major role in the development of Florida Hospital Celebration Health and oversaw the operations of Winter Park Memorial Hospital for 16 years. It was at the Winter Park hospital that he championed several community health initiatives, including projects such as the Center for Health & Wellbeing — a 80,000-square-foot-facility under construction near Winter Park Memorial.
The center’s wellness area will include a “Nutrition Theater” where activities such as cooking demonstrations will occur, along with an outdoor garden. A Peggy & Philip B. Crosby Wellness Center will make up the fitness component, which will feature a modern fitness floor, multipurpose fitness rooms and pools. Finally, a medical component will include sports medicine and rehabilitation, a retail pharmacy, and physician offices.
Although the construction of new facilities is rewarding, Bradley said what he’ll remember the most are the people.
“I think the thing that probably means the most to me are the people I’ve worked with, in some cases have coached and some cases have been part of promotions and other cases watch them do really, really great things,” Bradley said. “They did that because of their own talents and their own skills. I don’t take any personal credit, but I take personal pleasure in that.”
Despite overseeing so much as an executive, Bradley said he will look back over the past three decades and see numerous individual instances during which a life was saved in the hospital or where a person received the care they required.
“You just know what people will do for other people and how they give of themselves,” Bradley said.
Bradley first started working for Florida Hospital in the Human Recourses Department, where he spent eight years. From there, he worked his way up to chief operating officer of Florida Hospital Kissimmee, followed by chief operating officer of Florida Hospital Celebration Health and then chief executive officer of Florida Hospital Kissimmee. He then spent 16 years as the chief executive officer of Winter Park Memorial Hospital before coming into his current role.
The long tenure at the organization very much mirrored his father, Don, and his grandfather, Edgar, who both worked at Florida Hospital over several decades.
“My grandfather started working at Florida Hospital in 1922, so between my grandfather, my father and I, this will be our 95th year of continuous employment in three generations at Florida Hospital,” Bradley said. “I can’t not think about their experience as I think about my experience.”
Bradley also served as the mayor of Winter Park from 2009 to 2015 and is recognized for building a large reserve fund for the city through careful saving.
“One thing I learned, both as mayor and obviously quite a while ago as hospital executive, is you have to have a lot of help,” he said. “There’s probably 200 patients at Celebration as we speak. I’m not at every bedside — I can’t be. … My goal has always been as a leader to give people broad parameters and then get out of their way.”
Bradley said he isn’t sure what exactly he will pursue during his retirement. However, he plans to visit several relatives — and perhaps see a couple golf tournaments.
“I live life without any regrets, but I realize life is very short,” Bradley said. “While I think I have tried to focus on the things that are important, I want to continue to do that.
“I’ve got some visits I need to make,” he said.