Bob Lane, President and CEO, American College of Health Care Administrators.

In September 2021, Bob Lane became the president and CEO of the American College of Health Care Administrators even though he had planned to retire after 34 years in aging services.

“This was the one position that would pull me back up in the air to fly a little longer in my career,” he says.

Lane grew up in Muskogee, OK, where he always thought he’d go into the family lumber business. Right around the time he was graduating from college, however, the construction industry bottomed out and that family business went under. Lane’s grandmother, Verna, who had founded the lumber company in 1946, looked toward the future. She planted the seed of a new career path for her beloved grandson.

“I was scrambling for a job after college, and I’ll never forget when my grandmother told me, ‘There will always be a job in healthcare,’” recalls Lane. “To this day, God rest her soul, she has been right.”

Lane embarked on an illustrious career in aging services, beginning with a position as an administrator-in-training at a 126-bed nursing and rehab center in Joplin, MO. As he took on more and more leadership roles at nursing homes throughout the Midwest, he refined his gentle, collaborative approach to management.

“Bob never leads with an iron fist — he leads with a huge heart,” says his ACHCA colleague Michael Hotz, who served as chapter president with Lane at the College and was Lane’s predecessor as national board chairman. “He is a gentle-speaking guy who builds coalitions. People who work with him never feel left out because he genuinely listens and builds consensus.”

Lane learned early on that collaboration would lead to success. In his first opportunity for a promotion at the first nursing home where he worked, he decided he would ask the staff before he accepted. He put his entire career in the hands of his colleagues, and it paid off.

Perhaps that collaborative style comes from a lifelong love of community theater. When a football injury sidelined him back in high school, Lane snagged a role in the school production of “Li’l Abner” and a theater buff was born. He still continues to perform in community theater, recently playing Nicely Nicely Johnson in a local production of “Guys and Dolls.”

Lane and his wife, Rose, are empty nesters living in Edmond, OK, with their 95-pound black labrador retriever, Lucy, and tabby cat, Brutus. Their son, Bob Jr., lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and two children; their daughter, Carrie, lives in Arkansas.

Like his grandmother, Lane sees a bright future in healthcare and aging services for young people entering the workforce. He hopes to pass his collaborative, community-based leadership style onto future generations of professionals.

“We fight the good fight every day and have throughout this pandemic,” he says. “Still, I’ve been blown away by the perseverance and commitment I am seeing from younger people coming into this profession, and it is an honor to help them develop their leadership skills.”