Through our Monthly Spotlight Series, we are taking the time to highlight the staff at KidsCare Home Health. We hope you gain inspiration and valuable advice from these successful individuals and their stories. This month we were excited to interview Erik Baker, President of KidsCare Home Health.
Where did you grow-up and what is special about your hometown?
I was born in Des Moines, Iowa but spent most of my life in Decatur, Illinois. The Soybean Capital of the World! Also, the original home of the best NFL franchise of all time, the Chicago Bears!
Where did you go to school for college?
I went to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. I received two B.S. degrees while there, one in Accounting and one in Information Systems Technology.
What did you do prior to coming to KidsCare?
I came to KidsCare right out of college but also had spent 8 years in the Illinois Army National Guard. During my time in the Army I spent several years on various deployments throughout the United States and world. The longest was a 13 month tour in Baghdad from 2006 to 2007. The military also took me to Kuwait, Germany, Ireland, Hungary, and Bulgaria. I also spent 2 months of 2005 in New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina relief.
How long have you been with KidsCare and how has your role changed since you’ve been here?
I started at KidsCare 10 years ago to do Accounts Payable. I graduated college during the great recession and I could not find a job in Illinois. All of my siblings already lived in Texas so I decided to come down and ended up coming on at KidsCare Home Health to work on a few special projects on just a temporary basis. After working here for 6 months, I started turning down interviews for accounting firms to stay at KidsCare! From there I moved up into the Assistant Executive Director role. In 2013, I moved up into the role of VP of Finance and IT. And in 2019, I moved up into the role of President. So, I have been on a 10 year temporary job assignment with KidsCare!
What do the day-to-day responsibilities of your role as President look like?
My overall responsibilities at KidsCare Home Health are to make sure there is a sound strategy in place to expand our services into new communities throughout the US, that existing service areas are functioning at their highest level and try to foresee (as best as I possibly can) any changes in our environment that might affect our overall ability to function as a company; and then make adjustments to reduce the overall impact those environmental changes might have on the company. That could be budget or policy changes in state governments, changing policies or contracts with insurance carriers and MCOs, changing needs for our employees, or a pandemic, etc. This is ALWAYS done while keeping the overall vision, mission and core values (Commitment, Accountability, Results and Ethics C.A.R.E.) of KidsCare Home Health that were put in the place by the owners of the company (Cortney and Jason) when it was created.
What is your favorite part about your current position as President for KidsCare?
The people. I love being in a team-oriented environment. Our overall goal here at KidsCare is to make an impact on the community by giving exceptional care to children and give them a chance to follow their dreams. Getting to work with the best clinicians, employees and leadership in the Pediatric Home Health industry to make that happen is by far my favorite part.
When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time?
Golfing, watching sports, and working on random projects that I decide to do at my house. Pretty much anything that keeps me busy.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
As previously stated, I love being in a team-oriented environment. Therefore, being able to accomplish big things within that team gives me a great feeling of achievement. I feel there are too many to mention during my time at KidsCare and in the military! However, I would say right now my greatest achievement has been to help KidsCare Home Health grow from only being in Texas at the end of 2017 to being in Colorado, Idaho and Oregon by the end of 2020!
What is the best advice you’ve received for your career?
GIVE respect to GET respect.
What gets you most excited about KidsCare’s future?
As I mentioned above, one of my goals is to keep growing KidsCare into other communities throughout the United States. To see that growth and our core values of C.A.R.E being implemented into more and more communities keeps me excited.