William Day came to St. Barnabas in 1967 as a consultant to help the system make decisions about the future of the financially troubled institution. A tiny health care provider at the time, St. Barnabas had just 41 employees and 63 residents.
The Episcopal brothers who had managed St. Barnabas had nearly disbanded, and the health care industry was on the cusp of comprehensive change, much of it precipitated by the enactment of Medicare, the federally funded health care program for senior citizens. St. Barnabas hadn't changed much since it was founded in 1900, and it was struggling to make ends meet.
It had had only two administrators during its 67-year history, and its founder, Gouverneur Hance, had presided for 54 of them. In 1974, the board asked Day to come on as president and CEO.
It was an unusual move for someone who had spent much of his career in communications and public relations and consulting higher education institutions.
"I was the man who came to dinner," Day says. "I never had any intention of staying."
Thirty-five years later, Day says he's still enthusiastic about the job.
Says Day: "I still have the fire in the belly."