Collegre prez joins VGM

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group didn't mess around when it came to hiring its first-ever president of VGM Education.

In October, the member service organization introduced the HME world to Greg Schmitz, who previously served as president at nearby Hawkeye Community College. In addition to that administrative experience, Schmitz, who has a Ph.D in higher education, began his career as a certified public accountant and has worked in the manufacturing and transportation industries.

"For us, everything we do in the HME space, as good as we've done, we want to do better," said Jim Phillips, VGM's COO. "This furthers our commitment to help providers be the best they can be."

In his new position Smith has a couple of mandates: One, improve the quality and scope of VGM's educational offerings; and two, look for new markets where the member service organization may be able to provide education.

"We are like our members in a lot of ways," Phillips said. "We always have to keep our eyes open. What other opportunities are there out there for us?"

Schmitz is new to the job and still learning, but, he said, his first "commitment is to serve those in our industry." In part, that means being proactive by providing HME providers education for today and for the future.

"What do they want to do in the next three to five years?" he said. "Are they going to grow their business? Are they going to maintain it? Are they going into new industries? Let's look at the employee base. What can we do that meets their training needs and can gear them up to be part of the organization's future?"

Schmitz said he's also "big on partnerships" and will explore working with community colleges and eventually maybe even four-year colleges.