CHATTANOOGA, TENN. December 4 – Longtime Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer board member and former Erlanger Health System Chief Legal Officer Dale Hetzler has been named the foundation’s executive director, effective Dec. 3. The move continues a revamping of the organizational structure amid an expanding national awareness of the Chattanooga-based foundation.
Hetzler, 63, has served on the Austin Hatcher Foundation’s board of directors since 2013; he will leave the board upon becoming executive director. Previously, he was senior vice president and chief legal officer for Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga from 2008-13. From 2000-08 he was vice president, chief legal officer and general counsel at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. Those are only the latest examples of an extensive career involving both legal and health care-related fields for Hetzler, who has a bachelor’s degree (fine arts) from Texas Christian University, a master’s (conflict management) from Kennesaw State University and a doctorate (law) from Baylor.
“When you look at Dale’s CV you see a lot of different skill sets,” said Austin Hatcher Foundation Chairman Jim Osborn. “He’s been involved in non-profit management, health-care management. He has the master’s in conflict management. This is a bright man who will be a bright star in our organization.
“He’s a valued friend and has been a valued board member as someone who has a true passion for the foundation. He brings a lot of skills that the foundation really needs as we continue to grow and move forward in our mission to erase the effects of pediatric cancer. I really see this as part of the foundation’s evolution; we really need an executive director.”
Hetzler, who has been retired for several years, currently lives in Wilbur by the Sea, Florida near Daytona Beach.
“I’ve known Jim and his wife Amy Jo (the foundation’s president) since the early years of the foundation,” Hetzler said. “I can’t imagine working for another group as committed to what they do. The Austin Hatcher Foundation has a big mission – and a big vision. This is going to be immensely rewarding to help with the day-to-day operations of the foundation. I really enjoyed my time in Chattanooga before and I look forward to returning for this new position.”
Hetzler’s hiring follows another recent, key staff addition, that of Tracey Burke as the foundation’s controller. Burke formerly was the chief financial officer at the regional law firm of Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan, PLLC based in Chattanooga.
“We are moving steadily to make our staffing expertise and experience commensurate with our goals and aspirations,” Osborn said.