Meet Kate Surbaugh, the new CEO at Sawtooth Mountain ClinicJun 28, 2019 12:24PM ● By Editor
A Boreal Community Media Exclusive - June 28, 2019
On Thursday, June 27, it was announced that Kate Surbaugh was named to be Rita Plourde’s successor upon retirement from her CEO position at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. Boreal Community Media spoke to Kate to learn a bit more about the clinic’s newly named CEO.
Kate is married to Steve Surbaugh, owner of Cascade Vacation Rentals. They have three children. Will is 17 and just graduated from Cook County Schools. Son Tristan is 14 years old and their daughter Lexi is 12 years old.
Kate grew up in Chicago, Illinois. After graduation, she went on to attend school at Carleton College, where she met her husband. When they graduated in 1995, the job market was horrible so they both worked at Sawbill Outfitters for a few years. After that, they moved to Ely, where they both worked as guides for dog sled tours at Wintergreen Lodge. A few years later, Kate and Steve moved back to Minneapolis, where they worked for a while and got some good experience. In 2002, after their first son, Will, was born, they decided to move back to Grand Marais.
Kate and Steve both had real estate licenses. She worked in that field for several years before she decided that she wanted to pursue a degree in nursing. She went back to school through Cook County Higher Education, working as a nursing assistant at the Cook County Care Center during that time. She received her RN degree in 2013 and was hired at the clinic soon after. According to Kate, “The best part of working at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic is the people that I work with. They are such a great group dedicated to community health and wellness”.
Kate said that the decision to apply for the CEO position was a little tough, as it would mean giving up on hands-on nursing, something that she loves. However, her degrees and Public Health certification can be used in this new position, filling her calling to serve and better utilize her skills. Kate said that it’s still too early to tell what long tern goals she has, because “Rita has created such an amazing facility with a wonderful group of people. She’s left an amazing legacy”.
In her “spare” time, Kate enjoys life on the family farm on Pike Lake Road. They raise goats and chickens, along with their two dogs and family cat. The family all enjoys mountain biking. When they are not cheering their children on at sporting events, Kate enjoys reading and simply spending time at home with her family.