Hospital Marketing Chief Relishes New Challenge

Photo by CR Chambers

by Rick Langenberg:




Eric Riggle’s new role as the director of marketing and public relations for the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital and Surgery Center (PPRH) represents a long-awaited homecoming and a “win-win” arrangement. For Riggle and his family, it means returning to the state where he grew up and learned to love. And for PPRH, it means having a first-rate marketing leader with decades of experience with national companies, including much experience in the health care field, take control of their promotional ropes. “It is a wonderful opportunity,” said Riggle, who joined the PPRH team about a month ago. “I am really glad to be back in Colorado.” Since arriving, he admits his plate has been filled with getting acquainted with the impressive list of services, programs and innovative technology available at PPRH, which will soon celebrate its sixth year in business.

At the same time, Riggle has hit the ground running in learning about Teller County and the community. Riggle is certainly no newcomer in the marketing and public relations arena. A graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, he handled media relations and financial communications for the Adolph Coors Company in Golden, Colorado, now known as Miller/Coors. In addition, he worked for the Coco-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia, overseeing media and public relations, and served as director of marketing services for a major regional health system in Albany, Georgia. But the veteran marketing chief says he is enthralled about having a chance to return to Colorado, where he grew up. And as someone who enjoys skiing, hiking, golf and spending time with his family, he says it’s a great fit. Riggle, who grew up in the Arvada area, has been away from Colorado since 1985. The PPRH marketing director has already made arrangements to relocate to the area from Georgia. As for his new role with PPRH, Riggle is bullishly optimistic about the regional hospital and surgery center.

PPRH, which opened in the fall of 2007 following a 10-year campaign for a 24-hour hospital, currently abounds with a wide range of amenities including diagnostic imaging, a first-rate emergency department, inpatient care services, outpatient infusion and injections, outpatient medical care and rehabilitation, a special care unit, family medicine, stroke and surgical services, transition care, pulmonary testing, and a state-of-the-art pharmacy, just to name a few of its attributes. This is an absolutely fantastic facility. From a customer service standpoint, we are second to none. I am very impressed with the innovative technology and quality of our specialists and staff,” explained the marketing director.

In the most recent staff awards made by the board chairman of the current operator, IASIS Healthcare, Sarah Holck, an, Emergency Department RN, was especially recognized for assisting earthquake victims in Haiti and battling serious problems associated with infection and disease. She also played a big role locally in helping the Teller County Animal Control facility during the fires of last summer. Its head surgeon, Dr. Richard Malyszek, meanwhile, has served on the front-lines in helping wounded soldiers in Iraq. It is this extra commitment that makes PPRH a special place, notes Riggle. In fact, he plans to stress the point of why go down the hill, when it comes to having a checkup, getting a mammogram or having an x-ray. “This is the community’s hospital. We have everything you need right here without the hassles of dealing with a big hospital,” said Riggle. In addition, he mentions the additional benefits of having a family physician center, right down the road. “It is a win-win for people in the community and for the hospital and surgery center,” said Riggle, when describing PPRH amenities. As an added benefit, the hospital comes equipped with 15-overnight rooms, featuring great views of Pikes Peak, and has outstanding emergency room facilities.

However, Riggle admits that marketing the vast array of PPRH services definitely poses a few challenges with a population base, featuring more than 50 percent of the people who work in Colorado Springs. But Riggle cites the PPRH convenience, diversity of services and quality experience as great attributes and big selling points. “When it comes to quality, we would get a score of 10 (out of a list from one to 10),” related Riggle. In forthcoming months, the PPRH marketing director wants to highlight many of the programs that the center offers. For example, its Senior Circle program has become a major success. This program, available to people 55 and over for an extremely low membership rate, offers health screenings and services, educational seminars, support groups, cafeteria discounts, VIP assistance and other benefits. It’s no secret that Teller County is considered a prime spot for seniors to retire or semi-retire, or become self-employed, according to housing studies and demographic reports. As a result, more PPRH programs will try to cater to this older, baby boomer generation. In addition, the overall success of the hospital, now dubbed as one of the biggest economic engines of the area, is another story that Riggle plans to promote more. PPRH was started and constructed without a single cent of taxpayer money. Out of the many dream projects attempted in Teller County area by civic leaders, the PPRH center still ranks as one of the unprecedented stand-outs.