Downtown Difference Maker: Compass Memorial Healthcare

March 31, 2023

Interview with Barry Goettsch of Compass Memorial Healthcare


Tell us about Compass Memorial Healthcare in Marengo.
Compass Memorial Healthcare is a comprehensive rural healthcare organization comprised of the community hospital located in Marengo and five Family Medical Clinics: Colonies Family Medical Clinic located in Main Amana, Marengo Family Medical Clinic, Victor Family Medical Clinic, North English Family Medical Clinic, and Williamsburg Family Medical Clinic. The organization also operates a community retail pharmacy located within our North English Family Medical Clinic. Formerly known as Marengo Memorial Hospital, the organization has been in existence since its veteran-led inception in 1956. The name was changed to Compass Memorial Healthcare in 2018 to better reflect the organization’s quickly expanding scale, scope and service area. Compass Memorial Healthcare has 210 employees and several other relationships that are considered part of the team. Currently, 92% of all Compass Memorial team members live in the communities of the hospital’s service area.

What role does leadership believe the organization plays in community development?
Compass Memorial Healthcare is committed to serving the community in any way that we are able as a catalyst, initiator or support. As the healthcare provider of choice and a primary employer in Marengo, Iowa County and the surrounding area, we have a vested interest to create and support development that leads to sustained growth. It is our role to initiate and/or participate in any initiative that offers the opportunity to attract and retain citizens.

How important is downtown Marengo to the organization?
In the past, the downtown square has been relatively immaterial to our organization. Redefining ourselves, evolving our services and team members, and tending to factors specific to the functionality of the organization was our key focus. Now, with a strong culture in place, across the board dedication in all areas of our organization, and healthy support from all of our communities, when we look to gauge where we wish our organization to be in 5, 10, 15 years and beyond, we believe it is the future of Marengo’s downtown that is a critical component to Compass Memorial because it is to the entire community. What’s good for the community is good for Compass without dispute. We feel that in rural communities where a town square or downtown has survived, the vitality of this area can serve as an amenity to help the community’s competitiveness. What was once the economic hub and source of retail activity defined the community.

Tell us about recent projects the organization has helped fund, helped organize or provided volunteers for that directly impacts downtown Marengo.
The organization has been quite active in impacting the development of downtown Marengo. Most recently, the organization was the primary investor in restoring the town square’s fountain. The organization is a supporter and participant in every activity that takes place in the downtown area from sponsoring the MarenGO initiative that is directly focused on the revitalization of the downtown and pursuit of the Main Street Iowa designation to activities such as the Fall Festival, Jingle Around the Square, 3rd of July Celebration, and Trunk or Treat, to name a few. Team members of the organization are personal investors in downtown property who will be renovating these spaces to attract dining and retail opportunities.

What updates would the organization like to accomplish in downtown Marengo?
The downtown area of Marengo has seen a resurgence in the last few years through development driven by a fresh commitment by a collective effort. Compass Memorial Healthcare supports the continuing efforts to transform our downtown into a robust center of retail, dining and quaint boutique options. We wish for the downtown to revive the picturesque Grant Wood stereotypical americana that is conjured up when many think of “small town.” We wish for the hustle and bustle of days gone by to return and that when prospective business operators and people seeking a new community to live and raise their children in are considering Marengo that our downtown is the impetus to select Marengo.

Does the organization encourage community involvement from its team members?
It is policy at Compass Memorial Healthcare that each employee participates in a minimum of six community benefit activities. The organization designates over 120 opportunities where team members may participate to gain their community credits. These activities range from various drives, helping at community and school events, presenting to civic groups or schools, etc. Entities are in the organization’s service area are also very comfortable and welcome to contact Compass with any needs they may have and if this specific need fits our mission in the community, we will likely add this activity as an eligible community credit opportunity.

Anything else you would like to share?
Not surprising, but amazing to see, it is incredible what can be accomplished when great people come together with a common objective. Compass Memorial Healthcare is an isolated illustration of this. We see it as our mission to contribute to this same passion be it healthcare or community development.

Barry Goettsch, FACHE, CEO/Administrator, Compass Memorial Healthcare
319.642.5543 | 888.642.5543 |

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