Kathleen Bechtel, MSN, RN

Vice President of Patient Care Services, Chief Nursing Officer

Kathy Bechtel, MSN, RN, joined Froedtert Hospital’s senior management team as Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) in fall of 2009. She also serves as vice president of Patient Care Services. In these roles, she leads responsibilities for both the inpatient and outpatient nursing practice of more than 2,000 nurses. She sets strategy and oversees service, quality, growth and finance within nursing and works in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin physicians.

Kathy came well-prepared to take on the challenges of nursing excellence here, including ensuring that Froedtert Hospital maintains its status as a Magnet hospital, an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center for strength and quality of nursing. She spent 19 years at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, a 427 bed tertiary acute care teaching center with a Level I trauma center and a nationally verified burn center.

Kathy began her career at Regions Hospital as the trauma nurse coordinator and subsequently held leadership positions in the trauma program, burn rehabilitation, care management, nursing practice, nursing education, endoscopy and oncology. She also served as Director of Nursing Critical Care and Progressive Care.

Kathy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Science degree in Nursing, with a leadership and management focus, from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has received multiple nursing awards, has held numerous clinical certifications and presented or taught courses on clinical and management topics to local, state and national audiences. She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and was a former member of Minnesota Organization of Leaders in Nursing. 


Elizabeth Behrens, MS, RN

Vice President of Quality, Patient Safety & Performance Improvement

Elizabeth Behrens MS, RN has joined Froedtert Hospital as vice president for Quality, Patient Safety and Performance Improvement. In her role, Liz will work closely with the senior leadership team to improve quality and patient safety hospital-wide. Liz will also provide oversight for Patient Relations, Spiritual Care and Infection Prevention, as well as guidance for all hospital regulatory requirements.

Liz has more than 20 years of experience in quality leadership positions and has led many successful interdisciplinary initiatives in population health, advanced care planning, case management across the continuum, patient safety training and infection prevention.

Prior to joining Froedtert Hospital in February 2015, she held the corporate position of vice president of Quality and Performance Improvement for 10 years at NorthShore University Health System in Evanston, Illinois. In that role, Liz was responsible for the quality and performance oversight of the health care enterprise comprised of four hospitals and a 2000 member physician group including a multispecialty group practice with more than 75 locations.

Before her experience at NorthShore, Liz spent five years as the vice president of Quality and Performance Measurement at Rockford Health System in Rockford, Illinois. Liz has also taught at the University of Chicago President’s Lecture Series and at the Northwestern University Graduate Studies program in healthcare quality and patient safety. She is an ICU nurse by background with an advanced nursing degree as a clinical nurse specialist. Liz received her bachelor's and master’s degrees in Nursing from Northern Illinois University.


Gary Colpaert

Vice President of Clinical and Support Services

Gary J. Colpaert is vice president for Clinical and Support Services. In this role, Gary has executive responsibility for the Eye Institute, Respiratory Therapy, Transport Services, Food Service, Security and Safety, and Environmental Services on the Froedtert Hospital campus.

Gary joined Froedtert Hospital in February 2000 as administrative director of the Eye Institute. The Eye Institute was a good orientation to Froedtert & MCW health network as it is a joint management role and a busy environment with more than 50,000 clinical visits, 2,400 surgeries and research labs located within the building.

Gary was later appointed vice president of Perioperative Services in February of 2005 and transitioned to his current role.

Prior to joining Froedtert Hospital, his career included serving as executive vice president for the BloodCenter of Southeastern Wisconsin and vice president of clinical and support services for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Gary has a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. in business from the University of Minnesota. 


Eric L. Conley

Executive Vice President, Froedtert Health
President, Froedtert Hospital

Eric L. Conley was appointed president of Froedtert Hospital and executive vice president of Froedtert Health on July 1, 2020. He is responsible for the overall functions of the hospital; leading the execution of performance with respect to strategic priorities and plans in the areas of service, quality, staff development, growth and finance; coordinating operational performance among system entities; and oversight of ambulatory services in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Eric joined the health system in July 2018 as senior vice president and COO for Froedtert Hospital. As COO, Eric had an immediate impact and several key successes, including completing the planning and approval process for the system-wide capacity command center; implementing a system-wide security governance committee; leading a turnover reduction effort that successfully lowered first year turnover in key support areas from over 90 percent to less than 30 percent; and implementing the Value Based Care (VBC) acute care team.

Eric has significant experience in leading academic medical center and health system operations. Prior to joining Froedtert Health, Eric served as vice president of service lines and surgical services for KentuckyOne Health, and vice president of operations for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the 854-bed academic medical center and primary teaching hospital for Northwestern University.

Eric earned his master’s in health care administration from The Ohio State University. He has supported his communities through leadership in organizations such as the YMCA, chambers of commerce and nonprofit arts and social services organizations and as a member of the National Association of Health Service Executives (NAHSE).


John Ernst

Vice President of Operations

John Ernst joined Froedtert Hospital as vice president of Operations on Oct. 28, 2019. John has executive responsibility for Perioperative and Surgical Services, Pre-Admission Testing, Anesthesiology, the Emergency Department, Trauma Center and the Observation Unit.

John has served in leadership roles at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago for more than 17 years. There he served as manager for patient access, diagnostic testing, cardiovascular services, musculoskeletal services and outpatient oncology services, as well as director of operations. Most recently, he served as vice president of service lines at KentuckyOne Health, and as an independent consultant.

He received a Master’s of Healthcare Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. He also has a green belt certification in Six Sigma.


Michael Stadler, MD, FACS

Chief Medical Officer, Froedtert Hospital
Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs; Associate Professor, Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, The Medical College of Wisconsin

Michael Stadler, MD, was named Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Froedtert Hospital effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Stadler served as interim CMO from September 2019 until July 1, 2020. In addition to his CMO role, Dr. Stadler serves as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and MCW Associate Professor of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences.

Dr. Stadler joined Froedtert & MCW in July 2012 after completing his fellowship in Head and Neck Oncology/Microvascular Reconstruction at Washington University in St. Louis. He served as Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at MCW from 2012 to 2018, when he was promoted to Associate Professor. He has led the Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology and Reconstruction since 2016 and served as Associate CMO of Froedtert Hospital and MCP from 2018-2019.

Dr. Stadler has been committed to enhancing the quality and safety of patient care throughout his career. He completed MCW’s Faculty Scholars in Quality and Patient Safety program in 2013 before serving from 2013-2015 as the Patient Safety Quality Officer in Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences. From 2017 to early 2020, he served as an inpatient Medical Director at Froedtert Hospital. He also was the Medical Director of Administration from 2017-2018. Dr. Stadler will continue his clinical practice with a focus on the surgical management of upper aerodigestive tract malignancies and advanced head and neck skin cancers.

Dr. Stadler completed his Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree and Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Richelle Webb Dixon

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Froedtert Hospital

Richelle Webb Dixon joined Froedtert Hospital as senior vice president and chief operating officer on May 12, 2020. She is responsible for the planning, development and oversight of the day-to-day operations of Froedtert Hospital, leading new operational initiatives; establishing best practices, operational standardization and optimization; and integrating health system initiatives. Richelle also has oversight of Women’s Health services, Respiratory Therapy and GI services at Froedtert Hospital.

As COO, Richelle leads efforts around financial and operational efficiencies, promotes a culture of accountability and continued process improvement, and sustains and builds Froedtert Hospital’s standing as a preeminent academic medical center. Her direct reports are John Ernst, vice president of operations; Gary Colpaert, vice president of clinical support services; and Bethany LoPresti, executive director of Behavioral Health.

Richelle joins Froedtert Hospital with significant experience in leading health system operations. Most recently, Richelle served as system vice president for CommonSpirit Health in Denver, Colo., where she led strategies to enhance integration and transformation performance in a health system that spans 21 states. Prior to working for CommonSpirit Health, she served in executive leadership roles responsible for strategic planning, operations, ambulatory services and advocacy. Among her achievements are expanding access and increasing consumer engagement, realizing operational efficiencies that resulted in significant savings, and implementing efforts that resulted in increased productivity and efficiency.

Richelle earned her master's of Health Services Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Michigan. She has supported her communities through leadership in organizations such as the YMCA and served as national president of the National Association of Health Services Executives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of minority health care leaders and elevating health care quality and equity.

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