Jim Burger, vice president Facilities

Facilities: Connection Is Key to Smooth Operations

Before falling asleep at night, many people might do a quick inventory—did I lock the back door? Did I turn off the kitchen light? Imagine what Jim Burger’s thought process must be. The vice president of Facilities at Cincinnati Children’s is responsible for 20 locations that measure 6 million square feet (over 2,400 square miles). And it only continues to grow.

Burger, who has been with the medical center for 35 years, doesn’t sweat it though. As he reflects on how his career has flourished—he started out working third shift as a technician in Building Maintenance—he is grateful to still be part of and now leading his 870-member team.

Facilities, Protective Services, Parking and Transportation, Environmental Services and Grounds all report up to Burger. Together they ensure that Cincinnati Children’s is running smoothly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can continue to deliver on our vision to be the leader in improving child health.

Staying Connected

With so many teams and responsibilities stretched over such a wide space, staying connected is the key to success. Every morning, Facilities leadership meets to discuss what happened in the last 24 hours across all departments. This fosters a cross-functional and communicative team. In addition, they host a daily operations brief at the start of each shift. In these briefs, managers discuss what happened during the previous shift and what their employees can expect in the coming hours.

“Ultimately, I could not meet the daily challenges and still plan for the future without my management team and staff. The team always steps up to the challenge and goes above and beyond when needed to keep patients, visitors and staff safe—every day,” Burger said.

Acknowledged for Excellence

Facilities’ role extends beyond the physical environment of the medical center. One of their main priorities is to maintain compliance with regulatory agencies that set the standard for the Environment of Care within hospital settings.

Cincinnati Children’s has earned several best practice awards from the Joint Commission during their triennial onsite surveys.

During those visits, our firewalls, designed to restrict the movement of fire in a building, are inspected. This inspection is routine, as penetrations in firewalls are common, easy to find, and pose a great risk to the medical center. In the last three Joint Commission surveys, not a single firewall penetration has been found. The Joint Commission surveyor commented that this is unheard of in the hospital industry.

Burger attributes Facilities’ high rankings to his directors, managers and staff. They are constantly monitoring and evaluating all of our buildings to guarantee proper compliance.

Looking Forward

Burger and his teams are eagerly awaiting the opening of the Critical Care Building this coming November. Working with Messer and Plant Engineering, Facilities has already begun training for new staff operations and preparing for the additional equipment and square footage.

The Scope of Facilities 

Our Facilities department covers a wide range of disciplines and services to make certain that the functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of Cincinnati Children’s exceeds the expectations of our patients, families, employees and regulatory agencies. Below are just a few responsibilities Facilities handles every day:

  • Building maintenance. Surveying and understanding how each space within our buildings is arranged and the special features that protect patients, visitors and staff.
  • Equipment checks. Inspecting and testing all equipment that is used to support patient care or operate our buildings and spaces. This includes all utilities that require electricity, water and gas.
  • Compliance. Ensuring that our operations, processes and equipment are in line with regulatory agencies guidelines such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Environment of Care. Promoting a safe, functional and supportive environment within the medical center so that quality and safety are preserved.

Burger has a passion for giving back to his staff. Early in his career, his managers encouraged him to further his education and showed him where his career path might lead if he did. With the help of Cincinnati Children’s tuition reimbursement program and great mentors, he went back to school and received his management degree in Leadership Development and Technology from Northern Kentucky University. He encourages all his staff to advance their education.

He cites our latest Career Pathways initiative as a key factor in helping his teams gain a better understanding of the overall job structure at Cincinnati Children's, where their job fits into that structure, and requirements for jobs and promotions that might interest them.

Said Burger, “From real-world experience, I know what it takes to make it in this department, and I’m committed to helping our staff reach their career goals.”

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