3D leaves

In each of our quarterly newsletters, we select an employee who’s doing exciting work at Orchard to showcase in our recurring Employee Spotlight feature. Ken Dawson has been with Orchard since 2021 and currently serves on our Operations team as the Manager of Customer Advocacy. Read our interview below to learn more about Ken!

What type of work did you do before joining our company?

I recently celebrated my 30th anniversary in healthcare IT working for various vendors. I have been fortunate to work in several different areas to include leadership positions in Customer Support, Implementation, Internal Education, Program/Project Management, and Customer Care. I often say that I have been blessed to experience a wide-breadth of healthcare including large IDNs, acute care facilities, critical access hospitals, clinics, laboratories, home care, and long-term care facilities. I am inspired by the critical work our customers perform to deliver efficient, and quality patient care. Our customers have the awesome responsibility to provide the best care and outcomes for patients knowing that criticallife-impacting decisions are being made. To know that I can contribute to that mission is overwhelming.

Prior to my healthcare journey, I served active duty in the United States Air Force for four years (1989 – 1993), then reserves for three years. While on active duty, my field was electronic intelligence. Our responsibility was to collect signals from airborne, ship, submarine, and missile system threat emitters. We analyzed those collections for potential new modes of operation and reported our findings. Due to some of those findings, I spent time at the National Security Agency (NSA) working with their analysts to further analyze and report findings across the globe.

What excites you about working at Orchard?

What excites me each day working at Orchard is the culture. Our culture is one of teamwork, support and care of one another, and professional growth. These aspects enable us to provide the best solutions and services to our customers and the patients they serve. Cross-departmental collaboration is terrific and provides an excellent opportunity to not only innovate our solutions, but also our delivery model and customer management.

What do you like to do when you’re not at the office?

I cherish quiet time at home. I set aside time each morning and evening for personal devotions and thought, to ensure I bookend each day in a positive way. I also enjoy reading different genres of books to include everything from sports to business. I highly recommend Crucial ConversationsYou Win in the Locker Room First, and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

For the last several years, my son and I have competed against each other in NFL Fantasy Leagues. Regardless of the amount of study, I have only beaten him once!

I regularly binge watch Rizzoli & Isles, and try to watch HoosiersAny Given Sunday, and The Replacements as many times as I can!

One of our vacation spots every year is Destin, Florida to enjoy the white beaches and 30A. We also try to get to NYC as often as we can especially at Christmas time — what a magical experience!

Any additional information you would like to provide:

I’ve been married for 32 years to my dream girl, Sheila. Although we went out a few times in high school, she always reminded me that she just wanted to be friends. That all changed when I came home on leave in my Air Force uniform and stopped by her house…the dress blues convinced her that we should be together! We are blessed to have one son, Adam, who will turn 23 this year. Adam was born 8 weeks premature and weighed a little over 3 pounds, and spent one month in the NICU. To make it a little more dramatic, he was born on September 9th, two days before 9/11. Rolling the clock forward, Adam has grown strong and healthy. He is an extremely creative writer and prefers writing about anything sports related. In fact, he created his own blog, Underdog Archives. One of his articles was noticed by the pitching coaches of the NY Mets. If you ever see us in a bookstore, Adam will be the guy in the corner studying the almanacs. One of these days, I will figure out how to beat him in fantasy leagues…or not!


 Motto or personal mantra?

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you.”

Who inspires you?

My dad. Although I lost my hero in 2009, I think about him every day. He always taught the importance of having a good work ethic, solid character, dedication to family, loving competition, and being a peacemaker. He was a barber for over 40 years, and what I found interesting was that he never posted hours on the door of any shop he ever owned. I remember asking him about it and he said it was because of his customers. He didn’t want to tell them when he was available; he felt he should be available when they needed him. If it meant starting his day at 6:00am and working until 7:00pm or later, that’s what he did. Sure, he missed some of my sporting events, but it was because he was providing for his family. Looking back, I know he had to be exhausted, but he always made time after work to play catch or shoot hoops with me and my brother. He will always be my role model and hero.

What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?

My biggest achievement to date and forever, is marrying my wife, Sheila, and watching our wonderful son, Adam, growing into the man he is becoming.

Where’s your favorite place in the world?

New York City (preferably Yankee Stadium)!

What’s the last book you read?

The Big Fella – Babe Ruth and the World He Created (by Jane Leavy)

Favorite sport?

NFL and college football

What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?

I’ve always loved arm wrestling. A long, long time ago, I won the Missouri State Arm Wrestling Championship. A few days later, I competed in my first bodybuilding competition. Oh the memories of talent once had!

What is on your bucket list?

  • The number one item on my bucket list was crossed off when I watched a game at Yankee Stadium. That was a dream from childhood!
  • Another item on the list is to spend a day at the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
  • Participating in the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

What music is on your phone?

Believe it or not, no music is on my phone! However, if I ever did such a thing, it would include: Motley Crue, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Journey, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, and Sawyer Brown.