2017-03-15 / Front Page

Archbold Native Hodges Resigns As Ohio Department of Health Director

Rick Hodges in a 2014 photo-courtesy photoRick Hodges in a 2014 photo-courtesy photoRick Hodges, an Archbold native and 1981 AHS graduate, has announced his resignation as the director of the Ohio Department of Health.

In a telephone interview with this newspaper, Hodges said, "I've been in state government for six years, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I am truly grateful to the governor. 

"Now I want to look at new opportunities and take the next step."

He said he does not have a new job lined up.

"I want to look at the opportunities and see which one is right for me," he said.

John Kasich, Ohio governor, said, "Rick has been a valued member of our team since the beginning of the administration, and has enthusiastically and adeptly taken on big challenges at both the Turnpike Commission and at the Department of Health. 

"I appreciate his service, and wish him and his family well in the new chapter of their lives."

After graduating from AHS, Hodges earn a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College in 1986, and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Toledo in 1992.

From 1987 to 1993, he was the Fulton County treasurer.

In 1993, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, where he remained until 1999. From 1995-98, he was appointed as a non-voting member of the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

He left state government in 2000 to become executive vice president of the Northwest Ohio Mechanical Contractors Association, then left for Tucson, Ariz., in 2005 to be executive director of the Tucson Association of Realtors.

From 2010-2011, he was the head of the Metro Building Association in Milwaukee, Wis.

He returned to Ohio in May 2011, where he was director of legislative development and operational reform at the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. In November 2011, he was appointed executive director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

Hodges headed that organziation as Kasich put through a plan to gain revenue from the Ohio Turnpike. Eventually, a plan to lease the turnpike to a private company was rejected in favor of the sale of bonds against future turnpike revenue. The agency was renamed the Ohio Turnpike And Infrastructure Commission.

In August 2014, he was named the head of the Ohio Department of Health. His appointment created controversy, as he was one of very few ODH directors who was not a medical doctor. Eventually, a doctor was selected to work under him as medical director.

Soon after taking office at ODH, Ohio was threatened by the Ebola virus. A nurse who was part of the team that treated the first Ebola patient in the US visited the state; she later tested positive for the Ebola virus. The nurse fully recovered.

During that incident, Hodges said, "We did about two years of work in three weeks."–Posted 3.20, 3:50 pm

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