Chuck DeGooyer helped guide the formation of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center -- doing everything from leading a design team, to pitching in on the capital campaign, to helping establish the first board of directors.
Now DeGooyer, who for the past 10 years has helped lead the American Cancer Society's Great West Division, is returning to head up the organization that bears his fingerprints.
Cancer center leaders picked him to be the new chief executive officer, replacing Tom Corley, who's been filling the post on an interim basis.
"It's an exciting opportunity to return," DeGooyer, 56, told the Herald in a phone interview Friday.
DeGooyer grew up in Yakima and spent more than two decades as an administrator at Kennewick General Hospital, holding positions from administrative director of diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology to chief operations officer.
He left the Tri-Cities in 2003 and became chief of staff for the cancer society's Great West Division, which covers a territory that includes Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In 2008, DeGooyer became the division's chief executive officer.
Jeff Petersen, chairman of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center's board, said in a news release that DeGooyer's experience "will keep the cancer center at the forefront of cancer treatment clinics."
"The governing board feels strongly that Chuck's leadership will afford community members with greater access to care while providing world-class cancer treatment for all," Petersen said.
The cancer center, at 7350 W. Deschutes Ave. in Kennewick, is a partnership of KGH, Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland and Lourdes Health Network in Pasco. It opened in 1994.
DeGooyer served as the administrator as it was forming, and "I was so pleased when I came back (this year) to interview and meet with the board to see how far it's come," he said, noting the expanded facility and new programs.
Corley, a former Lourdes CEO, has been leading the cancer center on a temporary basis for several months. He came on board following the April retirement of Tom Cothran, the executive director for more than seven years, to fill the gap until a permanent CEO was found.
DeGooyer said he's excited to join the cancer center's "great team" and work to meet patients' needs. He also expects to work in the community on cancer prevention and making the area a healthier place to live, he said.
DeGooyer, who's wrapping up his job with the American Cancer Society on the west side, plans to make the move across the mountains with his wife next month, in time to start at the cancer center at the beginning of November.
He looks forward to once again being a Tri-Citian, he said.
The place, DeGooyer said, "certainly is home."
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald