Ulmer presents Heart of Florida interim CEO to county board during regular meeting


In this file photo, Jamie Ulmer, the CEO of Heart Of Florida Health Center, speaks as a photo of the old Wendy’s is shown by the podium during the ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony of the Heart of Florida Health Center Drive-Thru Pharmacy on South Pine Avenue in Ocala, Fla. on Thursday, August 26, 2021. The building, which was an old Wendy’s that was closed for many years, was completely remodeled to become the Heart Of Florida Health Center first Drive-Thru Pharmacy. Patients will be able to fill their prescriptions at the new pharmacy starting on Monday. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted June 9, 2022 | By James Blevins
james@ocalagazette.com

Jamie Ulmer, chief executive officer of the Heart of Florida Health Center, formally introduced incoming interim CEO Maria Torres to the Marion County Board of County Commissioners during its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 7.

Ulmer announced last month that he would be leaving his position at Heart of Florida, having accepted a new job opportunity in Naples within the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida in Collier County.

Chief Operating Officer Maria Torres will be interim CEO following Ulmer’s departure on June 24.

On Tuesday, Ulmer thanked the county commission for all it had done during his tenure at the Heart of Florida Health Center over the last four years.

“Heart of Florida was started by this community’s county commissioners and hospital CEOs, as well as people throughout this entire community,” Ulmer said. “And what it’s become today is just amazing.”

Commissioner Kathy Bryant acknowledged the bittersweet moment during Ulmer’s presentation.

“Jamie is going to be leaving us and going to a bigger community for him. I think that in the back of our minds, we all knew that there was a possibility that this day would come, because you don’t have someone in your community that is as good as he is at what he does without other people coming after him,” said Bryant.

“You’ve been a tremendous asset to this community,” Bryant added, speaking directly to Ulmer. “We just want to thank you for all of the things that you’ve done. The ideas that you’ve brought have been innovative. You have changed the level of Heart of Florida in your short tenure with us. It has grown tremendously.”

Bryant then presented Ulmer with a certificate of appreciation for his “dedication and hard work to improve Marion County’s community health care.”

Commission chair Carl Zalak III referred to the partnership between the county and Heart of Florida as “excellent,” thanking Ulmer for his dedication to helping make that so.

Ulmer then introduced Torres, Heart of Florida’s new board-approved interim CEO.

“I remember the day that I personally hired Maria,” said Ulmer. “She will be at the helm as [the board] does a national search [for a new CEO].”

Ulmer first started at Heart of Florida in January 2018. Over the last four years, he has increased the number of low-income and uninsured patients that the nonprofit helps, as well as opened four pharmacies, all while leading the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic.