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Alumni_Magazine_Spring2017

4 To say Brian Frislie’s career has changed dramatically from when he attended Northwest Iowa Vocational School (later known as Northwest Iowa Community College) would be an understatement. A 1980 graduate of NIVS’s bricklaying program has turned into a well-renowned expert in the management of environmental services at large metropolitan hospitals, and even has him sitting in meetings with the former president of the United States of America to discuss the Ebola outbreak of 2014. Brian Frislie grew up in Canton, SD. He attended NIVS out of necessity to learn a skill. The economy was weak in the 1980’s, and he was encouraged to pursue an employable skill. He attended NIVS from 1979–1980 where he earned a degree in Bricklaying/Masonry. After Brian graduated, the economy was struggling, and employment in bricklaying was difficult even for the experienced bricklayer. A friend encouraged him to join him at the New Jersey shore, where he tried his hand at commercial fishing. After a few months of working in the fishing industry, Brian learned that fishing trips that lasted for weeks at a time on the Atlantic Ocean weren’t just dangerous, they also weren’t financially lucrative. Returning to New Jersey, Brian began working as a house painter for a local company in Avalon, NJ. After a summer of painting houses, an opportunity became available to work at Burdett Tomlin Memorial Hospital for Service Master cleaning patient rooms, operating rooms, and public areas. The job soon grew into a management position, with Brian managing twenty associates and understanding the importance of high level disinfection and the impact it has on patient outcomes. Environmental Services functions in a hospital goes far beyond cleaning. It also includes being part of the hospital team in combating hospital acquired infection, and improving patient satisfaction. It requires precision and fast responsiveness and absolutely must work cohesively with the rest of the hospital staff to be effective. Brian continued to move up in the career, working at five different health care facilities in New Jersey, Ohio and Georgia over the course of the next 26 years. Each job change was to a larger facility with more responsibilities, including linen management and patient transport functions. By 2011, Brian secured a position with Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA, as the Director of Environmental Services. He was now responsible for overseeing 150 employees and the sanitary practices of a 585 patient bed acute care hospital. If the name Emory University Hospital sounds familiar, it frequently made national news in 2014. It was the location of the first hospital to receive an Ebola patient in the United States. And working in Environmental Services, the proper handling, treatment and disposal of Ebola waste was imperative to stop the spread of this highly contagious, deadly illness. “I went to work just like any other day and was instructed that I had an urgent meeting in a few minutes. I went to the meeting and was informed that we had 72 hours to prepare for the first Ebola patient,” says Brian. “Having trained with the Emory University Hospitals Special Communicable Disease Unit in cooperation with the Emory University Bio Safety Department, Center for Disease Control and the Department of Defense, we were prepared.” UNIQUE PATH TO SUCCESS SAVES LIVES Brian Frislie Class of ’80 Business Manager NOVO Health Services Ebola Containment Consultant


Alumni_Magazine_Spring2017
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