BY JACLYN ROSE –
Thirty years ago, Tim Bowen was born at Mena Regional Health System (MRHS) in Mena, where he lived for several years before moving to South Polk County. “Mom taught at Vandervoort when I was in elementary school and Dad was a postmaster. When I was in the 4th grade we moved to Glenwood where he accepted a job. I graduated from Glenwood High School in 2002 and went on to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Central Arkansas in 2006.”
After graduation, Bowen moved back to Mena and began working as a Nuclear Medicine Tech. “From day one my intention was to work in hospital administration, as I began working at MRHS, I approached the current CEO and laid out my career path and goals and offered to help him in any way. After my clinical duties I would assist him with special projects,” explained Bowen. “During this time I was also attending John Brown University at night working on my MBA.” Bowen would work during the day and drive to the University for classes at night. “It was a long couple years with very late nights,” said Bowen with a smile.
Upon completing his MBA and at the suggestion of the hospital’s CEO, Bowen worked in an administrative internship at Cooper Clinic in Fort Smith for almost a year to gain experience and exposure. In 2009, Bowen was hired as assistant CEO of MRHS, “I spent a couple years mentoring and working under the current CEO at that time. I worked in all areas of administration from quality to operations to recruitment and was given lots of needed experience. This was a great lead into my next opportunity: being hired as CEO in 2011,” explained Bowen. Involved in all areas of the hospital, Bowen loves the ability to meet with patients and staff on a daily basis. The small size of MRHS allows him to be directly involved with what is going on.
Bowen met his wife, Natalie, in High School and the couple married in 2005. “Natalie and I were high school sweethearts; we began dating when I was 16 and will be married for 10 years next year. She has been extremely supportive the whole way through. There were times during my education that we didn’t see each other much but she has always been there to support me,” said Bowen. In late 2009 the couple added their son, Brody, to their family. “Being a parent is the most rewarding and challenging job I’ve ever had. I know it’s cliché but you forget what you did in your free time before you had kids. We were bored without Brody, we are not bored now. He is a ball of energy,” Bowen said with a laugh.
Besides his family time and his work with MRHS, Bowen also serves Polk County as a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board; he is also very involved in the Arkansas Hospital Administration where he serves as a board member representing the Arkansas River Valley. He also serves on the board of the American College of Healthcare Executives. A few years ago, Bowen was named one of Arkansas’s Top 20 in their 20s and was the Administrator of the Year in 2012 by the Hospital Association.
“Coming back to Polk County was an easy decision,” explained Bowen. “I love the outdoors and the hunting and fishing. I have experienced life in a big city and I needed to get back to a small town. It is such an honor to have the opportunity to serve in the administration of the hospital you were born in, with the people you grew up with, next to the physicians you went to as a child. I have an unbelievable pride in the doctors and the staff at MRHS. When you are working in a small town you know that your patients are also your friends, your neighbors, the people you go to church with, you know chances are you will run into them at Wal-Mart. It is rewarding being in the healthcare field in general, but even more so knowing that the people you care for are your friends and family.”