“I’ve really been impressed with Yadkin County since I’ve been here,” said Soule.
No stranger to the beauty of the Carolinas and the hospitality of the people, Soule has been managing health care facilities in the region for several years now.
“I have been around North Carolina for a long time,” he said. “Since 2004, I have been doing interim assignments in hospitals and nursing homes in North and South Carolina.”
Working previously as CEO of hospitals and nursing homes in cities across the state, including Greensboro and Lenoir, before most recently serving as interim CEO at Stokes-Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Danbury from March to September of this year, Soule has devoted his entire career to improving local health care facilities. He especially enjoys the unique challenges of bettering health care from an administrative standpoint.
“I think most everyone who goes into health care does it because they are interested in helping people,” said Soule. “I got into it because I wanted to be in some kind of working position where I was doing some good in the community. It’s challenging.”
Among the biggest challenges a hospital administrator faces on a daily basis, according to Soule, is managing hospital finances including insurance costs, employee payroll and Medicare and Medicaid expenses, all while trying to provide patients with the best possible treatment.
“Sometimes you set out not knowing the reality of it all,” said Soule. “Insurance service can cause stress with paying bills and paying insurance for employees...(and) Medicaid and Medicare can become more complex than meets the eye of the public.”
Soule, however, said that an extensive financial background is one quality he brings to the table. He is looking forward to adding new things to Yadkin County's current health care infrastructure, like a new hospital. His employers are looking at property, he added, and would like to undertake that as soon as possible.
“There are a number of hoops to jump through and state approvals,” he explained. “Right now financing is an issue, so my job is to make the financial foundation of the hospital stable again so that they can proceed looking for the financing that will be necessary for a new hospital which would be $10 million to $15 million in expenditures.”
Soule is indeed familiar with expanding health care facilities in rural counties. In his 31-year tenure as president and CEO of Caldwell Memorial Hospital Inc., a 110-bed community hospital in Lenoir, Soule oversaw an expansion in gross revenue from $3 million to $118 million. The hospital's medical staff also grew from 24 to 65 active members, plus an additional new 18 consulting MDs.
There he also directed several major expansions and renovations, including the construction of an ambulatory surgery center, a breast health center, a diabetes health center, a community wellness center, a pain clinic, a rehabilitation center, a cancer center and a hospitalist program.
It was also during Soule's time in Lenoir that he also earned his MHA in 1973 in hospital administration at Duke University in Durham. Soule holds an MA degree public administration from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D., and a BA in political science from Brown University in Providence, R.I.
A career of hospital administration is not the only way that Soule has served many communities. Soule also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966-1971, where he was a captain and navigator of a B-52 aircraft in Vietnam. During his time in the military, he was also stationed in Texas, California, Mississippi, South East Asia and North Dakota.
In his time away from the office, Soule loves hiking, reading, golf, wine and his wife, Sue. They have been married for 43 years and have two married sons, Matt and Ben, with four grandchildren.