“We had other very good candidates, but we had an excellent candidate in-house. And that was Dr. Eastburg,” said Tom Rosenbach, chairman of Pine Rest’s board of directors. “He has run a number of different areas of the hospital. He’s very well respected by our partners at the other hospitals. So we talked it through, and the more opinions we got, the more his name kept coming up.”
Eastburg, originally from California, has been involved in clinical and administrative duties with Pine Rest since 1990. He has treated patients in a number of inpatient and outpatient settings. Eastburg has served as director for a number of Pine Rest programs, including its psychological consultation center, its professional practice group, the Pine Rest Family Institute, and Healthy Marriages Grand Rapids. He has also overseen the organization’s mission effectiveness and new program development. In addition to those duties at Pine Rest, Eastburg is director of psycho-oncology at the Lacks Cancer Center at Saint Mary’s Health Care.
“I am just extremely honored to serve in this way, and flattered that I was asked,” he said.
Eastburg will take a leave of absence from his current position in order to fulfill his roles as interim CEO and chair of the organization’s executive council, a group of eight senior leaders from Pine Rest’s various programs.
“The executive council is a terrific team. And that’s one of the reasons why I agreed to step up, is that I know that there’s a great team of highly skilled people. And I have the same type of team that’s working with me in my other areas. So I’m confident that they’ll do well.”
Eastburg’s interim position will likely last through the summer. He did not rule out the potential of becoming the organization’s permanent CEO, but it is not chief among his priorities.
“My interest right now is that I’ve agreed to serve as the interim CEO. That’s as far as I can see. That’s enough to worry about now,” he said. “I plan to go back to my other responsibilities.”
Rosenbach said that the search is beginning for a long-term replacement. The details of the search process will be discussed at the March 15 board meeting. In the meantime, Rosenbach said that Pine Rest has already determined the qualities and experience they will require of their new CEO.
“We’re looking for someone that we can plug into the system, so to speak,” said Rosenbach. “We’re not looking for someone who comes in to bring their own staff. We’re looking for somebody that can come in and lead the people that are here — whom we’re very happy with.”
In addition to input from the board and the staff, Holwerda has had some say in the search.
“It’s been interesting, because typically when someone in a senior position makes the decision to leave, they’re out,” he said. “But I have been fairly active in the process to date, with the interim (CEO choice) and with some ideas relative to moving ahead on the longer term search.”
After 23 years with Pine Rest, Holwerda has a vested interest.
“I’ve been here long enough and I’m so invested in the organization that I want to see the transition go probably as smoothly as Tom or the board members would like, because I have such a tremendous passion for what Pine Rest does,” said Holwerda. “I want to see Pine Rest be as successful tomorrow as they have been today or yesterday.”