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Beacon Archive

December 2002
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Thomases join Presidential Business Commission

On October 29th Texas Congressman Tom DeLay announced that Bill and Eula Thomas have been appointed to serve as Michigan delegates on the new Business Advisory Council, with Eula named as Honorary Chairman. This elite group of leading business and professional people will provide important input, DeLay said. “You know what it's like to run a business, meet a payroll, and worry about cash flow. This Council will be the voice of common sense, which has been lacking in Washington for far too long.”

The Thomases were nominated because of their success with a company Eula founded in the late 80s, the Critical Care Nursing Agency. As the Director of the critical care division for the St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky after receiving her BSN, Eula learned much about management during her long shifts–typically 10 to 12 hours, but some lasting as long as 36. She made a commitment to her profession which resulted in her being called in, anytime during the day or night, by several different hospitals that knew she couldn't say no. Her inability to be in two places at once led her to enlist a few friends to be on call more often, and this soon resulted in her forming a professional staffing agency.

There were plenty of other agencies doing this–as her company expanded, they sometimes took on numerous competitors in a given city–but none had the experience or professionalism of Eula's; many were little more than glorified Kelly Girl services. Since Eula was frequently on assignment, her husband Bill was drawn into the burgeoning business. To insure its success they sold his plane and put first and second mortgages on their cars and home.

Right from the onset they decided to do it right. Eula had always had a way with other nurses, and they gravitated towards her agency–because she paid well, offered them choices in placement, and avoided the problems frequently caused by frustration and arrogance. She had assisted many departments in obtaining the certificate of needs required for expansion; the doctors were grateful, and asked for her help whenever possible. She and Bill did their own market research, advertising, sales, testing, and training, developing procedures and guidelines based on her hands-on experience that were so well done the state auditors frequently copied them. They placed people in their specialties, be it ICU, X-ray, OR, or cath lab. Soon they were staffing entire departments. They knew how vital it was that their people performed well, and took their responsibility for guaranteeing this with the utmost seriousness.

They began to provide help to hospitals, doctors, and home-bound patients at every level, from nurses to directors of nursing. As time went on they added ward clerks, accountants (their up-to-the-minute records were the envy of their clients), and computer technicians, eventually spinning off a second company to staff these non-medical positions. Hospitals began to outsource through them because of their thorough attention to detail, and their employees grew from eleven to a hundred to two thousand, producing a weekly payroll in 8 states of over $4,000,000. Since they paid their people every week but couldn't collect until 90 to 120 days had passed, they founded a bank to have access to short-term financing. During her career Eula was a long-term Advanced Cardiac Life Support instructor, developed her hospital's first crisis intervention group, created a policy and procedure manual for each specialty that met state and federal regulations, designed manuals for fire and safety, and set up a system to constantly update the credentials of each health care worker she managed, which was so good her company was never found deficient in anything in any state during the frequent audits. When she needed letters of support from doctors in Lexington’s 5 hospitals, she got 30 in one afternoon.

Her accomplishments are really far too numerous to list, but it's no surprise that she and Bill have been enlisted to help the President improve our country. We are indeed fortunate that they live on Beaver Island, and are willing to help us by sharing their expertise.

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