STB&T chief operating officer to retire April 1
Surprise guests, heartfelt thanks and a really big card helped the organization commemorate the retirement of Elizabeth Waltman on Friday, March 11.
Waltman, who has been Chief Executive Officer of South Texas Blood & Tissue for nine years, will retire on April 1.
“We’ll expect to see you back from time to time,” said Marty Landon, Chief Executive Officer, to Waltman at the end of the hour-long event in the Donor Pavilion Auditorium.
Waltman, who wore one of her motorcycle racing suits, said she was grateful for the support she has received in 43 years in the blood banking business.
“I’m truly touched by all of this, and I am grateful to have been part of this team for the last nine years,” she said.
“In the past nine years, I have seen you succeed in many ways in spite of limited resources, under the most difficult of circumstances. You kept blood on the shelves and in the ambulances and in the helicopters. You implemented my crazy ideas in ridiculously short periods of time.”
Among Waltman’s multiple ideas and programs were the development and deployment of cold-stored platelets, paperless recordkeeping and the Brothers in Arms whole blood transfusion program.
Waltman also drew the biggest laugh of the event when she opened and showed off the oversized greeting card that featured a cartoon version of herself riding one of her motorcycles.
In addition to Landon, Steve Brook, chairman of the BBG board of directors; GenCure COO Becky Cap; Waltman’s successor as COO, Adrienne Mendoza; and longtime STB&T leader Belinda Flores spoke at the event.
In addition to multiple congratulatory notes read by Cap, the afternoon also included three surprise speakers:
Dr. Donald Jenkins, who worked with Waltman to launch Brothers in Arms, thanked and congratulated Waltman via a video from the emergency department at University Hospital.
Col. Andre Cap and Dr. Philip Spinella, who worked with Waltman to establish The Hemostasis and Oxygenation Research (THOR) Network, both appeared in person.
THOR is an international effort designed to improve outcomes for patients with severe traumatic injuries through in-the-field treatments.
Waltman also received the THOR sword, an annual recognition of contributions to the program, from Col. Cap, the previous recipient of the sword.
Thanks from the team
Several employees thanked Waltman for her leadership of the organization, including Linda Lozano, Debbie Maxwell, Irma Villarreal and Richey Wyatt.
“Elizabeth, thank you on behalf of all of the young ladies who are coming up in blood banking,” Lozano said. “It’s been really, really remarkable.”
Waltman began her career in blood banking in 1979 as a phlebotomist.
“Thank you for everything you have done for the industry,” said Villarreal, who recalled the day Waltman went through multiple interviews for the COO job. “Thanks for sticking with us,” she said.