Ritchie Houge, Class of '83, Fills Executive Director Position at Cookeville Regional Medical Center
Original Article - Herald Citizen - May 1, 2012
Ritchie Houge is finding it a little easier to navigate the campus of Cookeville Regional Medical Center these days.
Just three weeks ago, he was chosen to fill the position of executive director at The Foundation at CRMC. That position was left open after the former executive director retired last December.
"I found out about this job completely by accident," Houge said.
It all started when he was reading an online newsletter about fund development and noticed a featured job posting.
"I clicked on that and up popped the CRMC Foundation," he said.
The more he read about the job, the more he wanted to apply. Even if it meant he and his wife would have to Tennessee and leave behind family and friends.
"A week or so before I left my job my wife said she was tired of the cold (weather)," Houge said with a laugh.
Houge has spent the majority of his life living and working in Michigan, North Dakota and Kansas.
He graduated from the University of North Dakota's College of Human Resource Development with a B.S. degree in criminal justice and then earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of North Dakota's School of Law.
After graduation, he served as an attorney for a law firm in Minot, North Dakota working in areas of credit collection, bankruptcy, domestic relations, estate planning and taxation.
After a short time of practicing law, Houge found his calling.
He began working for his alma mater -- the Bishop Ryan High School. There, he was able to use his knowledge of estate planning and trusts to use in fund development.
"So, I spent seven years working for that school's foundation," he said.
From there, Houge went on to work for St. Joseph Hospital in Concordia, Kan., Oakgrove Lutheran High School in Fargo, N.D., and, most recently, he served as the Vice President of Philanthropic Services at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.
For the past 28 years, Houge has made a career out of fund development but says there's still a lot to learn in his new role at The Foundation at CRMC.
"There is a tremendous amount to learn ... I'm learning as fast as I can," he said. "I'm going to be taking some time to understand the role CRMC plays, how people perceive it and how the culture of philanthropy in Cookeville sits. My goal would be to elevate philanthropy to another level.
"There's nothing to say this isn't a great place to live and work."