A full-fledged fan of the RIVER CITY
When Scott Ware isn’t managing the myriad medical departments at Western Baptist Hospital, he could be serving as an ambassador for the city of Paducah. “This wonderful community is one of the country’s best kept secrets,” Scott says with transplanted conviction. Scott grew up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, went to school at the University of Arkansas, and pursued his early career in healthcare in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. And although his blood still runs pretty red, he admits that he’s becoming a bit more of a blueblood now that he’s relocated to Cat country. “I quickly learned that I needed to become a UK fan to fit in around here,” he laughs.
Fitting in hasn’t been difficult for Scott, his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Brooks, who currently reports for local NBC affiliate, WPSD. Scott met Western Baptist Hospital president Larry Barton at a medical center in Pine Bluff. When Larry joined Western Baptist Hospital, he contacted Scott in 1993 and offered him the position of chief operating officer at the system’s Paducah facility. “On my very first visit to Paducah, I was most impressed with both the hospital and the community,” Scott remembers. “Paducah was a neat, clean town with a big-city atmosphere in a small-town setting. I liked the idea of living in a river town. I remember I was impressed with the sign down by the river that Paducah was located near more navigable waterways than any place else in the country. That was pretty impressive.”
His impressions would only continue to grow more positive with each succeeding visit, and after his acceptance of the position at Western Baptist, Scott became a full-fledged fan of the river city. “Brooks went to school here and the public school system was great. Western Baptist has been an exciting place to pursue my career. When I came here 12 years ago, Larry was just getting ready to present an expansion plan to his board, and it seems we’ve been doing that ever since.” Case in point: Western Baptist just completed and opened its new diagnostic imaging center. And Scott tells us the hospital broke ground in November on a new $20 million state-of-the-art heart center.
Scott attributes the hospital’s continued growth and success to a commitment both on the part of the hospital and its staff as well as that of the community at large. “I did some homework on the hospital and the Baptist System when I came for my initial interview with Larry. The reputation of the hospital was excellent. The quality of the employees was exceptional. There was little doubt that the institution was in a growth mode and that excited me. It still does,” he adds.
He’s also been stimulated by the city’s progress in the past decade. The performing arts center, the amazing attendance of the quilt show, the artist relocation program, and the re-invention of the downtown business district have proven to Scott that his instincts were accurate. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else at this point,” Scott comments.
And speaking of living arrangements, Scott points to Paducah Bank when recalling the ease and practically painless process of buying his home near the Country Club of Paducah. “That was a great experience,” Scott says of his work with Suzi Narayanan (pictured at the left with Scott) and the mortgage staff at the bank. “We hadn’t sold our previous home when we bought this one, so that made things more complicated. I cannot say enough about how organized, efficient, and expedient Suzi and the mortgage lenders were in making everything fall into place. The whole process was a breeze. They simply couldn’t have been any more helpful.”
Scott also commends Paducah Bank for its role in helping to make Paducah his most favored hometown. “Everywhere you turn in this community, no matter what charity or what project is in need, you can always see Paducah Bank involved. The work they’ve done with the Lower Town artists program is monumental. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for restoring this part of our great city.”
Whether it’s a patient with a chronic disease or a neighborhood suffering from disrepair, restoring health and vitality are apparently common missions for two of Paducah’s noteworthy business partners.