Quint Studer is The Man With a Vision

Quint Studer wants to make Pensacola the best it can be



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Quint Studer, standing on the pitcher’s mound at the Blue Wahoos stadium.

Dave barfield

Less than a decade ago, the corner of Palafox and Main in downtown Pensacola was home to two vacant buildings and two overgrown lots. Today the corners are filled with bustling businesses that employ about 150 people. Once empty storefronts up and down the two major thoroughfares — as well as side streets — are filling up with small businesses. And the people once again are coming downtown … in ever growing numbers. 

It’s a sweet scene for Quint Studer, who remembers well the feeling of desolation as he walked the streets of downtown not too long ago. Those who did venture into the area were treated to a noxious smelling sewage treatment plant and there was little, if anything, to do. Even the waterfront was inaccessible. 

“It was very marginal to do business because there weren’t a lot of people,” he says. The solution, he and others decided, was to build something to draw attention and traffic to the area. 

Today there is a baseball stadium, a maritime park that provides access to the water, novelty shops, cafés, bars and more. And, Studer adds, “they’re fighting to find empty spots in downtown.”

 

Dedicated to ‘Home’

Quint and Rishy Studer

Hamilton Images

He’s been called a Carpet Bagger and an “out of towner” by some who have called into question his dedication to improving his adopted city. But Quint Studer says he pays that no nevermind. “I get asked why I’m investing in Pensacola. People should be pleased,” he says. His philosophy is simple: “I believe everyone has the responsibility to make where they live the best it can be.”

In Studer’s first career, he taught special needs children for 10 years. Then, because of his own battle with and treatment for alcoholism, he began a new career working at a facility that treated drug and alcohol addiction before going into the hospital business, where he excelled at bringing excellence to the facilities under his supervision. He earned renown in the health care industry when, as COO of financially strapped Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago, his work brought patient satisfaction from 3 to 73 percent in six months and improved the hospital’s financial outlook at the same time.

Studer came to Pensacola in 1996 to serve as president of Baptist Hospital, and while there he started The Studer Group — a part-time endeavor designed to help health care organizations improve clinical outcomes and profits. By 2000, his consulting company had turned into his full-time passion and job. After starting out with three employees, today it boasts more than 270.

He could have left Pensacola — after all, his sinuses feel a lot better when he is out of town — but he made a promise to his family to stay in one place until his son graduated from high school.

“We had moved several times. By the time my son was in second grade he was in his third school,” Studer recalls. “After we moved to Pensacola, we noticed a bald spot on his head. His adjustment had been so hard that his hair was falling out. We couldn’t do that again.”

By the time his son graduated high school, however, the company had grown and employees who worked there had deep roots in the community, not to mention extended family in the area. If the company moved, those people would have to move or leave. In the end, he decided he didn’t want to disrupt so many lives. He stayed and put his effort into making Pensacola the best it can be.

A motivational speaker and author, as Studer travelled across the country he kept questioning why Pensacola didn’t have a vibrant downtown like so many of the places he visited. To bring people into Pensacola, he knew that there would have to be something to do, including places to shop, eat and work. Studer and his wife, Rishy, were ready to put their money into helping make improvements.