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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

James Nelson

SVP, Finance & Strategic Development

Fort HealthCare, Inc

Location: Janesville, WI

Industry: Healthcare

If James Nelson could give his younger self some advice, it would be to always be curious. “Continue to learn and grow in your skills and knowledge,” he said. This has been his quest since he began his career in finance and has led to a successful 25-year career with Fort HealthCare, a mid-sized rural hospital and health system with a mission to improve the health and well-being of the community.

What Nelson continues to learn is that the community’s expectations of the healthcare industry is to continue improving the quality of care. And, this is what ignites his passion as the Senior Vice President of Finance and Strategic Development.

“When your job is to ‘improve the health and wellbeing of your community,’ it’s pretty easy to get up and go to work every day,” said Nelson. “Working for a mission-driven organization and the individuals who share that mission is almost a self-perpetuating passion.

While emulating the values of the organization, Nelson said following the impacts of COVID on the healthcare system, the industry is somewhere between stabilization and the new normal. “Despite economic chaos caused by COVID, we are able to maintain a healthy A- S&P bond rating with a stable outlook in a negative outlook industry,” he said.

Nelson credits these advancements and the company’s commitment to be persistent, in leading the way in proactive medicine in the community. His vision for Fort HealthCare is to strive to keep people healthy and avoid acute illness where possible while maintaining relationships with local employers and the community to keep the community’s health in the forefront of conversations.

“Jim has been instrumental in leading the strategic direction for the past 25 years,” said his colleagues. In fact, he has helped Fort HealthCare obtain accolades such as being named a Top Place to Work by the Journal Sentinel and the Top Rural and Community Hospital. As the CFO at Fort Healthcare, Nelson has helped the organization grow from $49 million in Net Revenues in 1998 to $131 million in 2022.

Personally, Nelson has earned recognition for his service on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment committee as well as the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

The healthcare industry is his passion and he continuously volunteers his time to build awareness. “Jim has had particular interest in investing in youth in the area to help them achieve benefits of assisting others within their community and throughout the world,” said his colleagues.

For his leadership, strategic direction and support of wellness, Nelson has been named a Titan.

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What is your secret superpower?

I derive my superpowers from my family and my coworkers. They inspire me to want to do more for them and our community.


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