Robert L. Harman, thought to be the country's longest-tenured chief executive officer at the same hospital, retired in December from Grant Memorial Hospital in Petersburg, W.Va. He was appointed administrator of the hospital in January 1965. Chief Operating Officer Mary Beth Barr, who has been at GMH for 20 years, succeeds Harman as CEO.
A native of Petersburg, Harman received a master's degree in health care administration from George Washington University in 1965 and served as an administrator resident at Prince George's Hospital in Cheverly, Md. He lives on a 500-acre cattle and poultry farm.
During his tenure, Grant Memorial undertook two expansions, and now has 61 beds.
Harman was chairman of the West Virginia Hospital Association from 1978 to 1980 and again in 1997. He served stints on the board of the American Hospital Association and on the AHA regional policy board. He was a member of the original panel of hospital executives convened by the AHA in the 1970s to consider the issues of small and rural hospitals. He served two terms on the Governing Council of the Section of Small and Rural Hospitals and was chairman in 1989. He also was a member of several AHA advisory committees.
He received many awards over the years, including the AHA's board of trustees award and Outstanding Community Partner Award from the West Virginia Rural Health Education Partnership. In 2004, then-Gov. Bob Wise honored him as a "Distinguished West Virginian."