Bobby Hopewell ’96 Balances Full-Time Job, Mayor of Kalamazoo
By Doug Goodnough
If there was an award for the Busiest Person in Kalamazoo, Bobby Hopewell ’96 would be a shoo-in for it. In fact, there are a couple of Tigger plush animals sitting on a shelf in his office that friends gave him because “I bounce around” like the famous Disney animated character, he said.
The 49-year-old Siena Heights University graduate balances his full-time job as director of Hospitality Services at Kalamazoo’s Borgess Medical Center while also serving as mayor of the southwest Michigan city with a population of approximately 75,000 people.
Two jobs. One person. How does he do it?
“It takes a lot of time and energy and attention,” Hopewell said. “You’ve got both of these worlds that’s got (many) of the same things going on. They’re similar, but different, and they take a lot of time and energy. Both roles are a labor of love.”
First, a glimpse inside his hospital “world.” The former EMT and paramedic worked his way up the health care ladder, working first in an ambulance and later running ambulance operations at Gull Lake Ambulance and Life EMS. For the past nine years he has worked at Borgess, Kalamazoo’s main health care provider. He currently is responsible for approximately 250 staff members and supervises 15 managers in areas like food and nutrition, mail, switchboard and other connective services. He recently was also put in charge of emergency management, and next year will transition into a new position as of director of the new $26 million outpatient care facility currently under construction in Battle Creek.