Like all the honorees in this year’s Men To Watch, Lou Caputo insists that the honor belongs to others.
“I am not particularly talented or gifted,” Lou Caputo insists. “I am surrounded by amazing, talented people who do amazing work – so when I hear about this, I am truly humbled and I really just want to give all the kudos to them.”
That’s a generous and undoubtedly sincere statement, but few would likely agree with it.
In fact, Caputo is seemingly everywhere, doing many different things very well every day. As CEO of Summerville Medical Center, he works tirelessly to build and ensure a bright and successful future for the hospital, and by extrapolation, Dorchester County.
“All CEO’s are exceptional at managing, but Summerville Medical Center CEO Lou Caputo does more than manage a hospital, he embraces the challenge of making people’s lives better,” Pat Thomason, Executive Administrative Assistant at Summerville Medical Center said in her nomination of Caputo for 2013 Men To Watch.
Since coming on board at SMC in August 2009, the hospital has added a bariatric center, wound care center, submitted a request to expand by adding 30 beds and is in the process of establishing a new pediatric center. Plans are in the works for a new building to go on nine acres recently purchased adjacent to SMC’s present campus. And if all goes well, that facility should be a reality soon.
“We’ve had some great things get accomplished,” he said. “We have some technologies and services that you typically just don’t see in a small community hospital.”
Caputo has volunteered time, talent and energy to a variety of organizations, including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, United Way, Chambers of Commerce, his church, and his alma maters. He acknowledges that he is often asked to work with these organizations because of his leadership position, but also notes that these are opportunities to serve the community on different levels that he would probably not have otherwise.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do for work – I love to come to work every day,” he said. “I enjoy taking care of people, be it family, patients, or the community. I am blessed to be able to live in a community like this, doing what I do, where I feel like I can make a difference.”
He said he did not initially think about becoming a healthcare professional – like most new college graduates, he had no idea of what he wanted to do – certainly not a doctor or practitioner, he said. But eventually, he found himself drawn to healthcare and that idea of being able to help and take care of people.
Nonetheless, his family comes first. Always.
Caputo and his wife, Abby, adopted three children, siblings, from Guatemala. That process, while exhausting, is one of many reasons family is so special and important to him. Strong, unwavering faith that this was God’s plan for them helped see them through the lengthy process. That faith and love is key and core to his family, he said.
“I have a very strong family – a wonderful, wonderful wife and kids who are extremely supportive of what I do professionally and in the community – I could not do any of that without them,” he said. “They will always be my main priority. I work very hard to keep that work/life balance.”
Abby Caputo agrees.
“The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Lou as a father is that he is so very ‘present,’” his wife, Abby noted. “Obviously, he has an important job that he pours a lot of himself and his time into – but I can honestly say, though, that when he is home with us, he is 100 percent present and fully focused on our family. There is nothing on this earth that he puts before us.”