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2017 Visionary Leader Award Winner


Al Manshum, AIA

Senior Vice President of Operations Integration
Advocate Health Care, Downers Grove, Ill.

During the course of Al’s swift elevation though the leadership ranks at Advocate Health, he’s brought his commitment and passion for environmental stewardship with him, and is considered a leader for pushing sustainability to the forefront at Advocate within the sector. Back in the early 2000s, Al worked as an architect on the Advocate Lutheran General Bed Tower project, and along with Mary Larsen, Advocate’s Sustainability Manager, was instrumental in Advocate’s inaugural LEED pursuit, helping to design the first LEED Gold hospital in the Midwest. After joining Advocate to lead the system’s Design & Construction team, Al worked to embed a commitment to green building into all aspects of Design & Construction. Under his leadership, Advocate has built 4 LEED-certified buildings with 3 additional building projects currently registered and pending LEED certification.

In addition, during Al's tenure, Advocate has developed an internal sustainable building tool– called the Healthy Spaces Roadmap – that ensures sustainable building design and operations for all the smaller projects throughout Advocate where LEED registration isn’t applicable, including ambulatory sites and hospital-based renovations. Advocate finished the Healthy Spaces certification process on two ambulatory buildings in 2016 and is currently piloting their first hospital renovation-based roadmap.

A well-known story at Advocate demonstrating Al’s commitment to safe and healthy environments involves a conversation he had with one of the hospital presidents a number of years ago. Just after Advocate decided to standardize rubber flooring for most flooring needs on new projects (moving away from all vinyl-based flooring), Al had a design walk-through for one of Advocate’s larger building projects that included a new cancer center. At the time, the president of the hospital had a preference for faux-wood, vinyl flooring that had been previously used in the hospital, and was resistant to moving toward the new rubber flooring. Hearing the resistance, Al quietly leaned over sometime during the walk-through and whispered to the president, “Can you do me a favor? When you go home tonight, google vinyl and cancer, and let me know what you think.” The president took his advice, and subsequently, Advocate no longer specs vinyl flooring.

Now, as the Senior Vice President of Operations Integration and Optimization, Al provides leadership to Supply Chain, Design & Construction, Food & Nutrition, Environmental Services, Facilities, Clinical Engineering, Operations Integration & Project Management, and Sustainability. From this position, Al can help provide direction and accountability in each of these critical areas as Advocate continues their mission to embed sustainability in all aspects of their organization. Most recently, Al’s been leading an effort to create a new dashboard tool for all of Support Operations throughout Advocate, to: 1) track data for key result area metrics, 2) create transparency on action plans to improve results, and 3) drive innovation through sharing of best practices from site-to-site. Of course, Al has included sustainability in this effort, and Advocate has begun to build out sustainability-based metrics for a new sustainability dashboard. The dashboard will 1) elevate key sustainability metrics and data , 2) allow for easy access to sustainability goals and results, and 3) feed these goals to other Support Operations divisions which allow for personal accountability and for directors and divisions to act on these goals by including sustainability in their daily work.

Advocate is excited to begin this journey and is grateful to Al for his vision and leadership in bringing sustainability into the fabric of work at Advocate. The strength of Advocate as a leader in sustainability in the health care sector – a system that has received a System for Change award from Practice Greenhealth for 10 consecutive years – certainly has its roots in the visionary leadership of Al Manshum.

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