One to Watch: John Deardorff

Photo by Scott Holstein
One to Watch: John Deardorff

Maybe it’s his mild manner; perhaps it’s his down-to-earth nature, or the ease that comes with experience. Whatever the case, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center’s new chief executive officer, John Deardorff, is the epitome of calm, which is what you need when you are in the middle of trauma — or at least working toward a trauma-center designation.

The 257-bed acute care facility, which was founded in 1974, welcomed Deardorff this past June. Since then, he has been handling the challenges of leading one of the largest employers in the area.

“We are working on a lot of strategic planning internally,” Deardorff says. “The opportunity we have is to further enhance our services so people will continue to choose to keep their health-care provider local.”

Originally from York, Pa., the 39-year-old Deardorff brings solid experience to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center as the former CEO of both Lake City Medical Center and West Marion Community Hospital in Central Florida.

Does he have any health-care advice?

“I don’t want to prescribe choices to anyone,” he says. “It’s a personal responsibility to take care of yourself. We have an excellent resource in the medical center, and we’re fortunate in that respect.”

After living in Destin for several months, Deardorff says it’s clear why his staff chooses to live and work on the Emerald Coast.

“It’s hard to beat this location,” he says. “This is a great community, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

When he isn’t spending time with his wife, Karen, and daughters Kacie, 7, and Katelyn, 2, you’ll find this laid-back leader relaxing on the golf course. — Zandra Wolfgram