Bill Duquette in his office at Homestead Hospital.

Bill Duquette in his office at Homestead Hospital.

There are people who enter into a profession or take a position with a

goal of moving ever higher into the organization. Others develop the idea later and begin to posture themselves for advancement. William M. (Bill) Duquette doesn’t fit either of those categories.

He came to Homestead Hospital in March 1991 as the Laboratory Manager with no special thought to the future other than to be expert and

professional in his field and be involved in the community. As the hospital grew and expanded, and individuals shifted around, he was asked to add on

responsibilities and take on new roles. Working as the performance

improvement coordinator aligned well with his commitment to continuing improvements for quality care. Becoming the Vice President of Operations wasn’t something he’d foreseen. Even less about becoming the Chief Executive Officer for the hospital. There had been a series of assistant administrators for a period of time; none of whom remained for long and as he stepped forward, he didn’t plan for twenty-one years to slip past.

The struggle of post-Hurricane Andrew recovery and the subsequent “building boom,” economic downturn and subsequent current building boom were among major changes that happened during his tenure. Even though the original 10-bed hospital founded by Dr. James Archer Smith had been replaced by a much larger facility named in his honor, that, too, could not keep pace with the expanding population. Initial thoughts were to acquire nearby property and add to the existing structure.

In view of what was needed and more importantly, continuing advances in computer and medical technology, the most cost-effective solution was to build an entirely new hospital; one which would no doubt have amazed Dr. Smith had he still been alive.

“It was my first time to be involved in the planning and design of an entirely new hospital,” Duquette said. “It was an exciting experience.”

The end result of the multi-year, complex effort was the 2007 opening of the $135 million 142-bed hospital that has steadily added capability while

simultaneously receiving nation-wide recognition for quality and safety.

Duquette’s commitment to quality of life within the community has been equally strong. Whether at a fundraiser for non-profits, an appearance at a City event, attending a Homestead Main Street festival, or enjoying a performance at the Seminole Theatre, he and Gladis, his wife of almost forty years, have been an integral part of Homestead and the surrounding communities. His father, who was career Air Force, retired in Miami, and in going to elementary through high school in Palmetto Bay, Duquette forged lasting ties to what is referred to as Deep South Dade.

He’s served, or is still serving, on the Homestead/South Dade Red Cross Council, the Greater Miami and the Key Chapter of the American Red Cross, the South Dade Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Correct care Recovery Solutions, AGAPE, the NOVA University Advisory Council, Kendall Campus, the Board of the Three Virtues Organization and he is a longtime Rotarian.

Few, if any, were surprised to hear he’s been selected to be the new CEO for South Miami Hospital.

The 435-bed facility is indeed larger and they have numerous, leading edge capabilities such as open-heart surgery and neurosurgery. Duquette’s successor at Homestead Hospital has not yet been selected.

What does he want people to think of first about Homestead Hospital? “I want

everyone to know the quality of care and the great work that’s done

in support of the community.”

Despite the fact his work will now take him further up the road, the Duquette’s have no immediate plans for relocation and will continue to be involved in many of the same activities as in the past.

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