Staff writer

Scott Bullock remembers having many sleepless nights in 2004 when discussions about a proposal to build a regional hospital in Augusta became most contentious.

Many people supported the idea of merging the MaineGeneral Health hospitals in Waterville and Augusta; others did not, and they were quite vocal about it.

“I never took it personally,” recalls Bullock, who was then MaineGeneral’s chief executive officer. “To me, it just reflected how passionate people feel about their local hospital.”

Through it all, Bullock persevered; and several years later, the hospital is under construction in north Augusta and is scheduled to open Nov. 9.

“You try to do your job; you try to do what you think is best,” Bullock said recently. “I really feel it was absolutely the best thing I could do for Waterville and Augusta. I think that hospital is going to serve the entire region. It’s right off the highway. It’s very up-to-date. It’s going to be one the greatest assets of the region for years to come.”

For his accomplishments at MaineGeneral, as well as his leadership, creativity, resourcefulness and service in other areas of the community, Bullock, 61, is being awarded the 2012 Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Community Service Award.

He will receive it April 11 at the chamber’s 50th annual awards dinner at Waterville Elks Club.

“Scott has led MaineGeneral for the last 22 years, providing the leadership and cultivating a vision for cancer care and overall health care in the Augusta-Waterville Micropolitan,” said Kimberly N. Lindlof, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer. “As the region’s largest employer, he has made a concerted effort to spread its services and resources in order to maximize a positive economic impact throughout the area.”

Bullock has given generously of his time by serving on many boards or empowering his colleagues to do so, according to Lindlof.

“He was instrumental in founding and funding several of those organizations. We are grateful for his numerous contributions.”

On Jan. 1, Bullock stepped down as chief executive officer of MaineGeneral Health. His longtime colleague Chuck Hays now holds that position and also is president and CEO of MaineGeneral Medical Center, which is under MaineGeneral’s umbrella.

Bullock’s new position allows him to spend more time with his family, but he also will assist Hays on an as-needed basis and use his skills in government relations and other matters.

Robert M. Marden has served on MaineGeneral’s Board of Directors since 1997, the last three as chairman. Marden said Bullock displayed a great deal of sensitivity and thoughtfulness during the discussions about building a regional hospital, although it wasn’t always an easy time for a leader in Bullock’s position.

He always tried to do his best on behalf of MaineGeneral and the community and was respectful to his employees, according to Marden.

“That is certainly a strong suit of his, being able to treat all people respectfully and with great care and concern,” Marden said. “It has been a pleasure to observe that firsthand.”

It is important for people to remember not only Bullock’s hospital work but also his involvement in state, local and regional projects, according to Marden. Bullock was involved in helping the YMCA and Waterville Area Boys & Girls Club move under one roof at the Alfond Youth Center when he was chairman of the Boys Club. He also is a former United Way of Mid-Maine campaign chairman, chairman of the Waterville Regional Arts & Community Center and Central Maine Growth Council boards of directors, and a member of Waterville Development Corp., Waterville Rotary Club and Waterville Opera House Association.

Bullock has served on the Board of Directors for the Maine Hospital Association and was chairman in 2001, and has served on the TD Banknorth State Advisory Board and the board of Medical Mutual Insurance Company of Maine.

Hired as president and chief executive officer of what was then the Mid-Maine Medical Center in 1991, Bullock led the merger of Mid-Maine Health Systems and Kennebec Health System to form MaineGeneral Health/MaineGeneral Medical Center on July 1, 1997. The merger formed the state’s third-largest health system, according to information from MaineGeneral.

The health system employs 4,000 people and generates more than $400 million in revenue annually. MaineGeneral includes a 287-bed acute care hospital on three campuses, three nursing facilities with 269 long-term-care beds, physician practices, a home care company and a retirement community.

Bullock helped develop the $44 million Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, which opened in 2007; and he led MaineGeneral though the planning, funding and building of the $312 million, 640,000-square-foot regional hospital, as well as a planned $10 million renovation of the Thayer Campus in Waterville scheduled to start in January 2014.

Ken Viens remembers hiring Bullock when Viens was chairman of the Mid-Maine Medical Center board in 1991.

Viens said he saw in Bullock a person “who could lead you beyond your comfort zone.”

“He’s someone who is interested in ‘getting it done’ rather than getting recognition for it,” Viens said. “I’m delighted he’s getting this (chamber) award.”

Viens, senior account executive for Kennebec Savings Bank’s Kennebec Wealth Management, said Bullock has never disappointed him, and he has never regretted hiring him.

From his hospital work to his economic development efforts and service at the local and state levels, Bullock has been a solid citizen, according to Viens.

“I wish we had more people like Scott in the community,” he said.

Bullock said the key is realizing that accomplishments are always the result of a collective effort by many people and not something you do on your own.

“It’s really a team effort,” he said.

Bullock, a native of Bryn Mawr, Pa., grew up in Hingham, Mass., and earned bachelor and master’s degrees from Duke University. He also holds an honorary doctorate from University of Maine at Augusta.

He and his wife, Trish, have been married 42 years.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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