Thomas E. Cecconi gives his local picks

Thomas E. Cecconi could be considered one of the lucky ones. He tried a job outside his college major and loved it so much that he’s still working in the same field 44 years later.

Thomas E. Cecconi could be considered one of the lucky ones. He tried a job outside his college major and loved it so much that he’s still working in the same field 44 years later.

Cecconi, the president and chief executive officer of Mercy Medical Center, left John Carroll University in 1973 with a history degree. But it was an entry-level management position at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation that exposed him to the challenging and ever-evolving field of health-care administration.

After earning his master’s degree in business management from Baldwin Wallace University, Cecconi’s career in health care took off. The St. Thomas High School graduate became the chief operating officer for Hospital Management Professional’s Virginia Regional Medical Center in Minnesota in 1980 and was named the president and chief executive officer of Rutherford Hospital in North Carolina in 1983.

Cecconi was promoted to regional director of operations for HMP in 1990 but left the hospital management firm in January 1991 to return to his hometown of Stark County and to take the reins of Doctors Hospital in Perry Township.

Cecconi, 66, who was born at Timken Mercy Hospital in downtown Canton, became the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Mercy Medical Center in 2002 and then took the title of president and chief executive officer roughly a year later.

Under Cecconi’s leadership, Mercy has become Stark County’s third-largest employer with more than 2,500 people on staff and became the first hospital to offer services such as a heart catheter lab in its emergency department and a hospital-based dental clinic and dental residency program.

Last fall, Mercy added its 10th outpatient health center. Mercy Health Center of Massillon at 2935 Lincoln Way NW offers stat care, an imaging lab, physical therapy and space for primary care physicians to an area of the city that had lacked access to medical care for a 3-mile radius.

In April, Mercy opened a Wound and Hyperbaric Center to help patients with wounds, especially those wounds that are not healing properly.

Outside of his role at the hospital, Cecconi enjoys volunteering, spending time with his family and playing tennis and other racquet sports. He recently also has become an avid sporting clay shooter.

“I’m amazed at the number of people I’ve discovered who share this interest with me,” he said. “Sporting clays is one of the fastest growing participant sports in the country, and I’ve become a real enthusiast.”

Here are some of Cecconi’s other favorite activities:

Favorite restaurant: 

“We’re very fortunate to have such a variety of really fine restaurants in this area, but I think my personal favorite would have to be 91 Wood Fired Oven on Fulton Drive. They have a great selection of menu items, and I really love their seafood. At Mercy, we also benefit from their generosity, as they open their doors each August to host our annual Service League Harvest Ball Celebrity Bartender fundraising event.”

Most memorable spot:

“I would have to say that I have very fond memories of going to the McKinley Monument with my family as a child. I remember running up and down those steps, over and over, with my siblings. And to know that we have a national monument available to our community right here in Canton, Ohio, is really very special.”

Favorite place to shop: 

“Because I have become interested in sporting clays, I often find myself shopping at Fin Feather Fur Outfitters. They have a wonderful selection of outdoorsman items, and I could spend a lot of time, and money there!”

Favorite indoor activity: 

“Whenever I can work it into my schedule, I really enjoy a good game of tennis, most often at Brookside Country Club.”

Favorite lunch spot: 

“My favorite lunch spot is honestly the Mercy cafeteria. I frequent it almost every day, unless I have an outside meeting. Our staff and visitors are offered a wide array of healthy lunch choices—including both hot and cold selections. And it’s always served up with a cheerful smile by our staff.”

Favorite event: 

“Hands down my favorite local event is probably the same as most of my fellow Cantonians: the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival activities, particularly the Balloon Classic. I’m proud to say that Mercy has been the sponsor of the Balloon Classic since its inception. Every year, I’m excited to enjoy watching the balloons with my family, as well as with my Mercy family of employees, physicians and volunteers. I also enjoy the dinner, the parade and the enshrinement.”

Favorite volunteer opportunity: 

“I recently came off the Walsh University Board of Directors. I was very pleased to serve on that board for 12 years and enjoyed becoming part of the university and being able to give back to the brothers who not only founded the university, but who also provided me with an education when I was a student at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.”