Healthcare Leader: Ernest “Ernie” Dreher IV, TEG Architects

Ernie_Casual_2015_headshotcropErnest Dreher IV AIA (Ernie)

Vice President Architecture/Planning, TEG Architects

Education: Bachelor of Architecture, Ball State University; BA Design in Architecture, University of Florida

Hobbies: Sailing, renovating my house and playing tennis.


What was your first job in healthcare? What did you take away from that job that you use today? 

My first job in healthcare planning and design was 20 years ago when I began my career at TEG Architects.  My first project was at Tri-County Baptist Hospital in LaGrange, Kentucky to renovate their existing obstetrics department. It is truly amazing how the decisions that are made through design can have a huge impact on lives.

The take away from that particular project that I still use today is how to work with the client to make sure that all solutions and options are thoroughly investigated to provide them with the best possible outcome within their project budget.

What is your very best skill — the thing that sets you apart from others?

My two very best skills are problem solving and communication.  This is what I do each and every day for my clients and staff at TEG.  As a third generation architect, I learned the importance of those two skills from my father while working in at his architectural firm when I was starting my career.

Where do you do your best thinking?

My best thinking and planning for the day is when I sit down at my desk.  Once I get to the office, I put together my to do list for the day and spend the first hour getting as much as I can accomplished before the day starts.

What was the most significant event/development at TEG in 2015?

For the past four years, TEG has been consulting for and master planning healthcare projects throughout the county at a conceptual/schematic level.  Now, we are seeing these planned projects turning into production of construction documents.  We have also seen the size and complexity of our projects increase as well.

How do you revitalize yourself?

I revitalize myself by socializing with good friends and family activities.

What’s one piece of advice you remember most clearly?

While in high school at Cathedral Prep in Erie, PA, Father Hahn always stressed to us, “Never say, I wish I would have.” That is how I conduct my life and career.


How do you approach management and leadership in your organization?

My approach to management and leadership at TEG is leading by example through hard work, mentoring our staff and dedication to whatever the situation may be at the time. Also, allowing our staff to be very participatory and creative on our projects. It is critical to confirm that every TEG team member has ownership in what they are doing which allows them to learn more and grow within the profession.

As a leader, we all face many challenges.  What challenges do you face in your role that are unique because you work in healthcare?

Challenges on a daily basis as a healthcare architect is making sure that TEG can maintain a high level of design excellence and creativity while staying within the project budget.  Project budgets have become increasingly tighter which means we have to do more with less.  One way that we accomplish this is by benchmarking and use our planning metrics to assure we are designing our projects for the upmost efficiency.

If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry’s problems overnight, which would it be?

Regulatory uncertainty would be my target, due to the strategic nature of the Affordable Act’s implementation which created uncertainty within our client leadership teams.  The uncertainty of recent years caused many healthcare organizations to avoid making strategic moves – now many are playing catch up.

What opportunities do you see for your company in 2016?  Challenges?

In 2016, TEG will be experiencing an increased workload with highly complex and technical healthcare projects.  We currently have three replacement hospitals that will be underway in various levels of development next year.  We have also been able to secure a few healthcare projects overseas.

The challenges for TEG in 2016 will be developing our health facility innovation strategies to a higher level to better serve our clients.