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September 28, 2018

Chikowski Leads Thedacare Medical Center Shawano

Julie Chikowski returned home this month to begin her new job as ThedaCare Vice President, Critical Access Hospitals–Shawano.

Photo Caption: Julie Chikowski, the new ThedaCare Vice President at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, also owns Chico’s Landing, a fishing resort in Fremont, with her husband Gary. Together they have five grandchildren under the age of three. 

September 28th, 2018

Her People Lured Her Home

Julie Chikowski returned home this month to begin her new job as ThedaCare Vice President, Critical Access Hospitals–Shawano. For the previous six years, she lived and worked three hours away in Darlington, Wisconsin, during the week, only returning to Fremont on weekends to see her family and check in on the fishing resort she and her husband of 32 years, Gary “Chico” Chikowski, have owned for nearly two decades. “Things were going really well in Darlington,” Chikowski said, referring to her CEO position at Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County, “but it was time to come home to the babies.”

And there are a lot of babies. The parents of two grown children, Chikowski and her husband are the proud grandparents of five children under the age of three. She admits family dinners at grandma and grandpa’s house are always a juggle, depending on who is ready for a baby seat, high chair, or a big-kid chair. Together with the youngest generation, Chikowski is once again closer to her parents and mother-in-law, too, each of them in their eighties. “My people are definitely what drew me home,” she said.

Prior to becoming CEO at the hospital in Darlington, Chikowski was the nursing home administrator for Lafayette Manor in the same community. She has also served as the practice administrator at Fox Valley Pulmonary Medicine; physician liaison with Berlin Memorial Hospital, now ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin; and director of social services/nursing home administrator at Juliette Manor in Berlin. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a bachelor’s degree in social work, has completed nursing home administrator coursework the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds Wisconsin nursing home administrator and social work licenses.

Chikowski’s new commute is a beautiful 45-minute country drive in her hard-top convertible to Shawano, where she steps in for the retiring Bill Schmidt who has served as president of ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano for the past two years. “Bill has been introducing me to employees and community members, and the people I meet are warm and welcoming,” Chikowski said. “The ThedaCare organization truly values and supports its critical access hospitals. Our quality and patient satisfaction scores in Shawano are great, and I want to share that message with more people.” Critical access hospitals are smaller rural hospitals that serve many patients’ health care needs close to home, and also provide access to specialists and specialized care at a system’s larger regional medical centers. At ThedaCare, those larger hospitals are ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah and ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton.

Chikowski is a high-energy, positive person who credits good sleep and good hydration for her dynamism. In fact, after hearing ThedaCare staffers have access to a workplace health coach, she can’t wait to try yoga. Chikowski is also rejuvenated by time spent outdoors and still helps operate their resort, Chico’s Landing, on the weekends. It boasts a campground, boat landing, bait shop, and rental cottages. “I help people with their leeches and minnows, and tell them what colors are catching” Chikowski said, admitting she’s got a real knack for cooking fish—broiled, baked, fried, or grilled. Her interests and outgoing personality also make her a talented master of ceremonies at local fundraising events in support of wildlife and habitat restoration. Sturgeons for Tomorrow, the Berlin Conservation Club, and the Fox and Coyote Hunters Organization have all invited her to emcee. “The best part about the resort is it’s very different from health care. It restores me so I can be my best for the people we serve at ThedaCare in Shawano.”

About ThedaCare
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose, as well as 31 clinics in nine counties and the ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.