“Studer is a lifelong businessman, entrepreneur, and student of leadership. He not only
teaches it, he has done it—and still leads businesses today. In 2000 he founded the Studer
Group. The Studer Group focus is on improving education and healthcare. From a small start-up
it grew to 250 employees and received the Malcolm Baldrige award in 2010. Studer Group was
acquired by Huron Healthcare in 2015 and Quint left in March of 2016.
During his time with Studer Group his travels led him to many communities. It was apparent to
him some were much more vibrant than others. Quint went about learning why. With this
knowledge he started putting tools and techniques in to helping Pensacola, Florida where
Studer Group is located. In 2014, Quint founded a not for profit, Studer Community Institute. It
focuses on Early Brain Growth, Leadership Skill Building, Civic Engagement and
Entrepreneurship and it focused on improving the quality of life in his hometown.
Studer is now sharing his learning with communities throughout the country. In addition, he
published the book, Building a Vibrant Community. Quint has a great love for teaching his
insights in books and has authored nine of them.
His first title, BusinessWeek bestseller Hardwiring Excellence, is one of the most read leadership
books ever written for healthcare. More than 1 million copies are in circulation. His latest
book, The Busy Leader’s Handbook, was published by Wiley and reached number 5 on the Wall
Street Journal’s best seller list this past October. This book is a desk reference and pocket guide
for anyone in a leadership position. It’s also a blueprint and training resource for creating
effective leaders at every level.”
What inspired you or led you to your current career/owning your business?
All my companies are being supported by a company that I had before, which is Studer Group. I tell people I got lucky. I hit an oil well, and it was good enough to support a lot of crazy things that I’ve done since then. I think what inspired me though, when I was in healthcare, was that I truly felt I could make an impact. I was in Chicago and I started doing some things that improved the employee’s lives and patients’ lives. I wondered if it would be scalable outside Chicago. I came down to Pensacola, at Baptist Hospital, I was president, and it worked again. So, other hospitals asked me if I could do the same for them. I left a secure job as president of Baptist Hospital, to go completely on my own. I had $15,000 booked the day I left Baptist.
It was a true arousal of the heart that I could make a difference. But, I think it comes from the power of constructive thinking. When your heart is aroused, you can make a difference if you follow it. That’s what inspired me to do that.
The other businesses, what inspired both of us, was we were in Pensacola, and I’m traveling all over the country, wondering “how come our city isn’t as cool as the other ones?” We do have the white beaches and the Blue Angels-which is all really cool stuff-but, why are we losing population? Why aren’t young people staying? I came across a study that talked about why some cities thrive and some don’t. I started seeing what certain cities are doing, that we weren’t. So, my wife and I traveled around and saw things and thought, “Wouldn’t this be cool in Pensacola?” So, we started putting those cool things in Pensacola too. Every place needs a cool coffee shop, or a bookstore, a candy store, etc. Then, we just started doing those things. Our whole goal was to make life here better.
The question I get the most though- “Why did you do this in Pensacola?” I said, well, “Because, I’m living here. If I was living in Mobile, I would have done it in Mobile.
Who is the most interesting person/business owner you’ve met here in Pensacola? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Pensacola?
I think one of the people that I really enjoy, and they’ve always been a good mentor, is Mort O’Sullivan. He was on the board when I was president of Baptist Hospital. We sort of clicked early-on. He asked, “Can we do for communities what we do for hospitals?”, I said I don’t know, it would be hard. But then, we got really involved and he was very instrumental in the Community Maritime Park. Then, when I started Studer Group, he was always my financial oversight. So, even though he wasn’t our finance person, every month he would look over everything with the Studer family companies, and he still works with us. It’s been since 1996. I think he’s a very fascinating character.
I also think McGuire Martin is great too. With what he did with McGuire’s. He just called me today, to ask me for a wee bit of advice. I’m always so fascinated, you see these successful people and think they’d be the last person to call you. However, they’re the first person to call you. I think that’s part of what makes them so successful.
I think the other person that I always thought was so interesting-who unfortunately has passed- is Gwen Applequest. She was the first female head of the Chamber of Commerce. Everywhere Gwen and I went-because we hung out a lot together- I hired her to represent me and go places, but she would always ask me to go with her. I told her I think we’re kinda defeating the concept. I’d go with her to the NAACP yearly dinner. When I was sitting there, people would line up to thank Gwen for something. You could go to lunch somewhere and people would line up to thank her for something she had done for them. Even when she quit selling real estate -I hired her at the Studer Group in ’80- people would call her begging her to sell their home. She was such a marvelous and caring person. With Community Maritime Park, she’d call me every night she saw something on the news about it, and she’d get mad because they were talking bad about it. She was such an extremely independent woman. She was such a bright woman. She dealt with so many obstacles, but she was so amazing.
What advice would you give a crowd of people? (Or someone starting their own business?)
Pick something you love, because every business is hard and there’s a chance you can fail. If you don’t love it, you’ll quit. If you do love it though, you’ll go through the tough times, because owning a business is tough times.
Where do you see yourself (and your career/business) in 5 or 10 years?
Well hopefully my health sticks out, I would truly like to take what we’re doing with early brain development and take it nationally. If you look at what we are doing in Pensacola, we are the pilot for the University of Chicago in our early brain work in the hospitals. Do you know that there is a simulator in Florida paying $2.5 million to do what we did and only paid $50,000 for, because we were their pilot.
When a child is born in any of our four hospitals – Santa Rosa Medical Center, West Florida, Sacred Heart, or Baptist- before the mom leaves the hospital, they are given a tutorial on how to build her baby’s brain. 85% of the child’s brain’s potential for brain growth/learning is their first three years. If you get them before they leave the hospital, you’ve got a captured mom, and I think that makes a difference. We’ve done 13,000 mom’s so far. We’ve noticed that the mom’s understanding on how to help grow their baby’s learning, goes from a 7 to a 9 after the tutorial. If we’re going to make the economy better, we need to focus on our youth. You have to look at Kindergarten readiness.
Almost every hospital in the country does stuff that I’ve invented. I’d love to get where this early brain development changes from it being optional, to be mandatory. It’s like every hospital has to perform a hearing test- you legally can’t take your baby out of the hospital without one. Before a mom leaves, you have to explain how to do certain things with a baby. This includes how to bathe and feed. We have not ever in the past sat down and discussed how to build the most important organ-the brain. I would love to have an influence where that would become a standard in healthcare.
What is your favorite restaurant in Pensacola, and what do you love there? (What is your favorite dish, and where do you get it?)
I’m such an eating at home type person, that’s difficult. I don’t think my wife and I have a favorite. I think that I’m out in the public so much, that I go kind of shy and don’t go out to restaurants much.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
I would go to Yellowstone Park, because I’ve never been there. I love watching all those shows- Animal Planet and stuff like that- and I’ve always wanted to go. I’ve never had the chance to see all of those places. When I travel, it’s going to a hotel to give a speech. It’s always conference centers and convention centers, never anywhere like that.
What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
I have lots of favorite movies. It really depends on what day you ask me. My favorite movie this week is Ferris Beuler’s Day Off. It’s just a classic movie. Another movie that made an impact on me was Field of Dreams. I just thought that was great. I went two nights in a row to see that movie.
Forest Gump was another one that I had to go a second time. When I was introduced to Winston Groom, who wrote Forest Gump, he told me I explained the movie better than he wrote the movie. It’s a person with special needs that has special skills, it’s a person who is highly intelligent learning from someone else, it’s a person who has unbelieveable selfless behavior too. It’s a mom, who did things she didn’t really want to do, for the love of her son. It was just a beautiful movie. My favorite part of that movie is when he finds out he’s got a little boy and he’s watching tv. He tries to ask the boy’s mother, Jenny, who he’s in love with, if the boy is like him. And she said no, he’s very smart. I could watch that little leaf blowing at the end while they’re waiting at the bus stop.
I just love movies with messages.
What is something on your bucket list?
I pretty much checked off most of my buckets. I would like to go out West and see the national parks that I haven’t seen. Like Teddy Roosevelt. We have no urge to go to Europe. We’ve been near Vegas and drove near the Grand Canyon, but we never got to get out and enjoy any of that kind of thing.
What is your favorite thing or something unique about Pensacola?
Civic-con. I got a call from the Rockefeller foundation actually. They heard people talk about our civil engagement and they want to learn about it. When we bring someone in to talk about affordable housing, we have over , 10,000 views. I think in the last 3 years, through the work we’ve done to bring outside experts into the community, we raised the Civic IQ. The good thing about Pensacola is we have so many followers and viewers. Most cities when you try to do this, you’ll get maybe 8 people that show up. We aren’t quite where I want us to be yet though. It starts with awareness.
One of the issues we have with social media is we don’t know how to disagree, without being disagreeable. They don’t teach citizenship anymore. I think what we’re trying to teach is how to disagree, without being disagreeable.
Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Where in Pensacola would you have lunch?
I would take them up to the Hancock Club at the stadium and just have a little lunch with them. There’s no prettier place to look at the beauty of Pensacola than sitting on top of the Hancock Club, looking out over a baseball field over the water. That’s where I would go. I’m not sure exactly who I would go with. I’ve met some wonderful people. So, I’m not sure who exactly I’d like to have lunch with. I get to have lunch with so many amazing people already.
What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
I like a lot of music and my bands can vary depending on the day and the moment. So, I’ll give you some oldies. I’ve always liked Steely Dan. Kid Charlamagne’s guitar rift is one of the best rifts of all time. I like Stephen Bishop, he has some really great stuff. I’ve actually had him come over for dinner at my house. He was a lot of fun. I like Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra. It’s hard to beat the Beetles too. It’s amazing what they did in the 4 years they were together. A lot of stuff that they’ve put out is absolutely incredible.
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I’m much more of an isolationist than they think. I broke a record this week for shortest time at a wedding. I had my duaghter drop my wife and I off at the wedding and I said be ready, because as soon as it’s over, we’re calling you. They barely got around the street and the wedding was over. The bride and groom saw us, and we left. I think people don’t know that. They also probably don’t know the amount of history I read. I read a lot of books and I’m pretty well-read on topics. I’m a history buff.
Before I jump to a conclusion, I really read up on it and study. So, when I said we should remove an 1892 confederate statue that was dedicated to white supremacy located in downtown Pensacola, I did homework on when and why it was built. Also, who it was dedicated to and why. I didn’t just say let’s move a statue just to move a statue. A lot of people say “well, we should have had a little more input on this statue.” Well, when that statue was put up, about 50% of Pensacola was African American and I wonder how much input they got, on whether that statue should go up or not.
What is your Meyer’s Briggs personality type?
ESTJ. I actually take personality profile tests all the time and I send them out to my employees. I had a psychologist do a full profile on me and I just sent it out.
What words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Peace, comfort, and contentment.
If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
It depends on what type of movie. I would have loved to have been with Jimmy Stewart. When he was cast in Ferris Bueler, they picked Matthew Roderick from the beginning because he reminded them of a young Jimmy Stewart in that movie.
If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
I would choose a housekeeper.
To learn more about Quint Studer, check out his website!
Be sure to check out what our other nominees have to say!