Fast Start: Business of health care energizes Seagate’s Coyle

Pennsylvania native takes pride in work at group purchasing firm

Fast Start: Business of health care energizes Seagate’s Coyle

Pennsylvania native takes pride in work at group purchasing firm

One thing is certain: health care is complex.

For John Coyle, that is precisely why he continues to work in the industry.

“It’s just a fascinating world,” he says. “I definitely want to stay in it career-wise; I see a lot of tremendous opportunity for a lot of growth. The sky’s the limit.”

Coyle, 37, a native of Lancaster, Pa., was recently promoted to vice president of health care for Seagate Alliance LLC—a national group purchasing organization, or GPO. He now leads a team of seven people.

“You’re always interviewing for that next position,” Coyle says. “So that’s why I took the initiative, went above and beyond in my old role to do more leadership things. I wanted to move up in the organization.”

Seagate Alliance employs 26 people with 25 of those staffers based here. It started as a nonprofit trade association for 16 Rochester-area hospitals and their affiliated health systems in 1947 and became nationally focused in the ’90s.

RRHA Joint Ventures Corp. is a complementary organization of Seagate Alliance that focuses on regional contracts. It began in 1982 as a GPO providing goods and services not available through the large national GPOs, as well as custom contracting, officials said. It focused on New York until 2004 when it expanded to other states such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Through RRHA Joint Ventures, Seagate Alliance is able to connect with regional businesses and health care organizations.

Seagate Alliance use volume buying to help its members save money on health care costs, ranging from toilet paper to lab equipment.

Today members of Seagate Alliance are based in 28 states and benefit from over 3,000 GPO contracts. Members include nursing homes, hospitals, colleges and universities and local businesses.

Local members of the organization include the Rochester Regional Healthcare Association which is comprised of 17 hospitals and eight affiliates in a nine-county region, and Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates, which engages in hospital advocacy on the state and federal levels, according to officials.

As a kid, health care was always there for Coyle.

“My sister was a nurse, my mom worked in long-term care, so I was around nursing homes a lot,” Coyle says. “You end up volunteering there, going to meet people. I was always drawn to health care.”

He attended Finger Lakes Community College before transferring to Roberts Wesleyan College to finish a bachelor’s degree in organizational management.

In 2009 after he graduated, he began an entry level job working in health care sales at Mark IV Construction Co. Inc. before starting a job in marketing communications for St. Ann’s Community.

He found success despite the economic headwinds facing the country at the time.

“I took a job at St. Ann’s Community,” Coyle says. “It was housing, which was tough right after the economic (recession), but I was very successful selling their apartments. I had to get my hands dirty and really come up with some fresh new ideas to promote our name.”

Despite a tight budget, he helped bring about choices for residents, something a lot of senior living communities were not doing at the time, Coyle said.

The Rochester market is “saturated, so it was a challenge to really differentiate ourselves,” he says. “We did a lot of really great things. We were updating our kitchens— really giving the residents a lot of choice. Instead of just saying ‘here’s your apartment,’ we were customizing the apartment.”

While he enjoyed his role at St. Ann’s, he wanted to develop his skills in operations. He left health care to work for Shawndra Products Inc. in purchasing and manufacturing.

“It is very complex, but I didn’t just want to be the sales guy,” Coyle says. “I knew at St. Ann’s I was so important at (bringing in revenue) that they were never going to take me out of that role. I had to venture out to do it.”

After nearly two years he was referred by a former colleague to an account management position at Seagate Alliance.

“I read the job description and I just fell in love with it right away,” Coyle says. “This job was both doing supply chain for our members but selling our service.”

He began working for Seagate in 2013. He quickly moved up the ranks, becoming director of continuum of care last year.

“Obviously health care is changing and evolving,” Coyle says. “The biggest health care challenges are for our members, which actually creates a lot more engagement for supply chain experts who do purchasing, so they’re really leaning on us a lot.

“We’re getting our members together to leverage that scale. We’re going to drive costs in the supply chain and reduce it,” he adds.

Two months ago he became vice president of health care, a role that allows him to be part of the decision making process and hear what members truly need from the organization.

“Once I found it, I knew this is what I want to do,” Coyle says. “I’m in board rooms in all of our member organizations, meeting with the CEOs and CFOs and really trying to find what their pain points are— what they want from our organization. You’re always listening.”

Coyle honed his customer service skills when he was in account management. He focused on things he could control: swift communication and follow-through.

“When I was in account management I strove for excellence and wanted to respond to phone calls, emails within an hour—I may not have an answer, but I’m on it, and people were so impressed by that,” he says. “It’s not a difficult thing, but people don’t think about it.”

When he began working in leadership roles with Seagate, he realized he had found his path.

“It kind of clicked and I saw that my focus now needs to be on building this team, doing what I did to be successful,” Coyle says.

Coyle is working toward earning a master’s in health care management from Roberts Wesleyan College. He balances time in the office with family life and a love for running. He and his wife Anna have four children: Austin, Avery, Aubrey, and Ayden, all under 9 years.

Coyle has always had a strong sense of where he wanted his career to go. He took jobs that he could find enjoyment in, he said.

“It was very rare that I took a job that I didn’t enjoy. So as long as I enjoyed the job it didn’t feel like work,” Coyle says.

Seagate Alliance serves both Rochester and the country but its roots remain here. The organization continues to be part of the local scene.

“We are a national GPO with local beginnings,” Coyle says. “I think people are really impressed when they hear stories about how companies start in this region and then really drive outside of our borders. We were really before our time with that and have really evolved since that.”

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