Frank Tidikis

Biography

When Frank Tidikis returned to Temple after four years in the Marines and a tour in Vietnam, he was, understandably, a changed man. He abandoned his earlier major, political science; though he wasn’t sure what he wanted to study next, let alone what he wanted to do with his life—until a serendipitous moment. Mr. Tidikis was working as a bartender to pay some of his tuition and all of his living expenses. (The GI Bill covered a portion of his tuition.)

During happy hour one Friday, the Human Resources Director at the former Sacred Heart Hospital in Norristown walked in and struck up a conversation with Mr. Tidikis. “Given any thought to going into healthcare?” he asked Mr. Tidikis. He hadn’t. Honestly, he said, he’d never realized there was more to it than the medicine. Mr. Tidikis took the man up on his invitation to visit him at the hospital and shadow him for a bit. There, he was introduced to an administrator, who shed a little light on the business of healthcare. Mr. Tidikis went home after his visit and looked into it some more. At the time, it was one of the country’s fastest-growing industries. And coincidentally, the Fox School of Business had just launched its master of health administration program. He was sold. Mr. Tidikis credits Chuck Hall, who oversaw the program then, with honing his raw ambition. “Chuck was really enthusiastic about the program. He did everything he could to expose us to all aspects of healthcare in the Delaware Valley, and Philly has an extremely diverse healthcare sector,” he says. “We visited morgues, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, the United Way. We saw the gamut.” Those experiences sparked a curiosity in Mr. Tidikis that he’d spend the next four decades exploring. At 28, fresh from the Fox School of Business, he merged two hospitals in western Pennsylvania. “I was too young to even consider I could fail,” he says. From there, he took a job in Saudi Arabia, which opened his eyes to international healthcare. When he returned stateside a couple years later, a friend called to ask if he’d be interested in helping to develop National Medical Enterprises’ (NME) massive new campus in Florida. Regulatory approval was expected to last the better part of the next decade; it was completed in three. Mr. Tidikis would go on to spend the next 15 years of his career with NME—his longest stint with any company—and have a hand in building seven more hospitals over the course of his career, including two in South Florida while he was the Chief Operating Officer for Cleveland Clinic Florida. He also took PhyMatrix Corp., a medical-practice-management company, public and helped a medical-education startup gross $35 million and net $19 million over its first three years before it was sold. Then he groomed MDVIP, a personalized healthcare program, for its eventual sale to Procter & Gamble. Mr. Tidikis takes great pride in the fact that he’s managed to participate in the business of healthcare from every perspective. He’s navigated tremendous shifts in the way that business is conducted. Half-jokingly, he remembers the budget being little more than a vague reference point in his earliest hospital positions. Today, the industry’s consolidation is being driven by revenue, which is not necessarily a bad thing, he says. More concerning is a ripple effect: Fewer physicians are going into private practice each year. “Ultimately, that doesn’t bode well for healthcare’s problems,” Mr. Tidikis says. “More care will be delivered by nurses and PAs.” In recent years, Mr. Tidikis has also been instrumental in finding jobs for veterans returning to his region of Florida. He and his wife, Judith, a graduate of Temple’s School of Education, also established an endowed scholarship at Temple in the name of a close friend and fellow Vietnam veteran. Now in the twilight of his career—or the third phase of his life, as he likes to describe it (learning, earning, and returning)—Mr. Tidikis derives the greatest satisfaction from his role as a volunteer mentor with the nonprofit SCORE, which provides counseling for small business owners across the country. It’s hard to imagine Mr. Tidikis encountering a dilemma that can’t be traced directly to one of his own experiences. In hindsight, he says, he was never calculated; just opportunistic. “My mother used to think I was a migrant worker,” Mr. Tidikis says. “I told her, ‘Well, you go where there’s work.’ The nice thing about an industry in change: There are always opportunities.”

Temple University Degree
Bachelor of Business Administration ’72 | Master of Business Administration ‘74, Fox School of Business

Career
Healthcare

Temple University Awards & Affiliatons

  • Commencement Speaker, Fox School of Business, 2005
  • Excellence in Alumni Achievement, Fox School of Business, 2014
  • Outstanding Graduate Health Administration Program, Temple University Health Administration Alumni Association, 1974
  • Samuel Mink Memorial Award, Fox School of Business, 1974

What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old
Alive. I was serving in Vietnam at the time.

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave me
Work hard and be prepared. I worked for a gentleman who said, “I expect to see your car in the parking lot when I arrive in the morning and when I leave at night.” And, always be prepared. I tried to fake my way through a meeting early in my career. My boss called me out and ended the meeting. It was the last time I ever walked in unprepared.