Farewell to an Ace in the Hole

This month, we at Optimé lost a beloved colleague and friend, Paul Dunn, who was taken from us quite unexpectedly at the all-too-young age of 51. We will go on because that’s the way things work, but we will not forget Paul, and in not forgetting, perhaps we can grasp among ourselves what makes us different.

I came to Optimé less than a year ago for a particular reason – Ed Hisscock. I had known Ed since his days at Appleseed Healthcare Resources, and I knew that Appleseed was cut from a different cloth than the other consulting firms I had encountered over the years. It was about making things better – helping people maximize their abilities and improving the healthcare supply chain.

When I arrived, I discovered that the Appleseed approach had transferred itself to Optimé. My new work environment was filled with people who understand that the new world of healthcare requires the collaboration of highly skilled practitioners empowered by technology.

Paul Dunn was an integral member of the Optimé team. He was a hard worker who was always concerned with the little details that Blue Sky guys like me don’t even know exist. Our last interaction involved shipping some key materials to the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management meeting in San Diego. He sent me an e-mail on a Sunday saying he had some concerns. We talked on Monday and resolved the issue. He shipped the items to me that very day.

Two days later, Paul was gone.

Two months ago, I wrote an article about “Aces in the Hole” – people who quietly do their jobs in a way that makes it possible for the enterprise to thrive. I was grateful to receive a few responses from readers, who told me that they took it to heart and went into their “shop” and thanked their aces. Paul Dunn was just such an ace.

So the next time you find yourself wrapped up in some techno-babble article about the scientific management approach to the healthcare supply chain, remember this: It’s the guys like Paul Dunn, who will never receive national recognition, who do the hard work that turns Blue Sky into the Real Deal. Chances are that whoever’s name appears as the author of an article, whoever stands in front of a couple of hundred people at the major national meeting espousing “the answers” is there because of the hard work of the competent folks such as Paul.

So once more, I urge you to go out into the real world of your shop, look your “Pauls” in the eye and tell them that not only do you appreciate their work, you appreciate them as people and that you are happy to have them in your work family.

Farewell, Paul. We’ll miss you every day.

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