AnneMarie Witecki parlayed a graduate fellowship with Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock into a critical role with the organization’s multimillion-dollar expansion to Northwest Arkansas.
Witecki’s resume has the unique experience of project planning a greenfield hospital — from the idea phase through research, approval, design, construction and operational stages.
A Washington native, Witecki earned economics and philosophy degrees from Trinity (Texas) University in 2013 and a master’s in healthcare administration from Trinity in 2015. As part of the master’s coursework, Witecki moved to Little Rock in January 2015 to complete a graduate fellowship with Arkansas Children’s. The healthcare organization was gearing up for an August announcement that year to build a 225,000-square-foot pediatric hospital campus in Springdale.
“I remember telling [CEO Marcy Doderer] I wanted to be part of that,” Witecki recalled.
Doderer obliged. As an intern, Witecki helped create the Springdale project’s PowerPoint to present to the Arkansas Children’s board for approval. Doderer and Trisha Montague, the hospital’s initial chief administrator, eventually hired Witecki after her fellowship was completed as a senior project director to help oversee construction and operations.
She worked out of construction trailers, helped pick out doorknobs for the hospital and dozens of other tasks that led up to the hospital opening in February 2018 as the region’s first children’s hospital and emergency department.
“It’s been amazing to be part of it,” said Witecki, who moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2016.
After falling in love with the region through the planning process, Witecki decided to stay on with the hospital to become one of the facility’s operations leaders. She has six direct reports who oversee about 50 employees.
“My job is to remove barriers so that other people can do the important work of taking care of kids,” she said.
Most recently, Witecki led the set-up of the drive-thru COVID-19 testing center at the Springdale hospital. She overcame numerous challenges of supply shortages, staffing challenges, and rapidly changing rules and regulations.
Witecki is a Junior League of Northwest Arkansas member and Peace at Home Family Shelter volunteer.