Nick Smith ’05 & MBA ’11
B.S., Business Management
Master of Business Administration
Reflecting on UW-Parkside
Why did you decide to attend UW-Parkside?
I attended UW-Whitewater for my first two years of undergrad, but realized that I could have a great experience at UW-Parkside while being a commuter student. I knew the quality would be excellent and wanted to be able to balance being at home near family while continuing my education.
For my MBA program, I knew that Parkside offered evening and online classes that I could complete while I was still working. Because I had such a positive experience with undergrad, Parkside made perfect sense to continue.
What activities were you involved in at UW-Parkside?
None, primarily due to working almost full time and taking up to 18 credits – I didn’t have much time.
How did your UW-Parkside experience impact your professional or personal life?
UW-Parkside gave me the tools to advance in my career, as well as the skills to continue developing as I grew. Personally, it reminded me that southeast Wisconsin is a wonderful place to be and you can have a world-class experience locally without traveling to Milwaukee or Madison.
Professional and Personal Highlights
What has been one of the top highlights of your career?
I was able to advance through Advocate Aurora Healthcare's (AAH) leadership structure from the position of Administrative Assistant to Vice President within 10 years, so I am very proud of my career progression. I’m proud to have been a leading participant in the growth of AAH within the last 5 years including numerous new facilities in Kenosha and Racine, as well as the development of new programs and services that previously did not exist in our area. I was there and planned for the groundbreaking of several facilities that will shape our area for years to come.
Who has had the biggest influence on your life or your career and why?
(Life) - My parents taught me to work hard and improve yourself, but also to always treat people with kindness and respect. It’s a way of life for our family.
(Career) - Early in my career I worked with a leader who took a chance on me for a non-traditional role with limited experience compared to those normally in the position. She exposed me to things I would not have seen otherwise and that gave me the ability to grow and advance into leadership.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I absolutely love to golf, so in the summer you will often find me out on the course.
What is something that would surprise us about you?
I am an avid sneaker collector with over 150 pairs currently.
Advice from Nick
What advice do you have for current UW-Parkside Students?
Say yes to any opportunity that presents itself to you – you will inevitably find some benefit that you didn’t even expect. Be open to change as you find things that you enjoy.
Nick Smith serves as Vice President of Operations within the South Wisconsin Patient Service Area of Advocate Aurora Health. Nick’s core responsibilities include strategic and operational oversight for ambulatory clinic operations leading over 200 physicians and advance practice clinicians at 20 sites of care across Kenosha, Pleasant Prairie, Racine, Mount Pleasant, and Northern Illinois. In addition to ambulatory clinic responsibilities, Nick has direct operating leadership for the hospital areas of Imaging Services, Rehabilitation and Sports Health Services, Sleep Lab, and Radiation Oncology across Aurora Medical Center-Kenosha and Aurora Medical Center-Mount Pleasant. He also leads the current partnership between Aurora and UW-Parkside’s Sports Medicine program.
Prior to his current role, Nick served in multiple progressive leadership positions within Aurora Health Care and Advocate Aurora Health. He began his career in Human Resources as an HR Assistant and Recruiter and then shifted focus to learn and grow within the Clinic Operations world. This led to promotional opportunities in the roles of Supervisor of Clinic Operations at one clinic within Kenosha; Manager and Director of Clinic Operations for five clinics in Illinois and Kenosha; Senior Director Administrator for all primary care across Racine, Kenosha, and Illinois; and then progressing into the Vice President of Operations position.
Throughout his time within Advocate Aurora, Nick has focused on creating strong physician and team member relationships, and his areas of responsibility have consistently been recognized as high achievers in patient experience. Nick was a key participant in the strategic planning, design, construction, and activation processes for the 2020 opening of Aurora Health Center in Pleasant Prairie as well as the 2022 opening of Aurora Medical Center-Mount Pleasant.
Nick received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management as well as his Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. As a lifelong resident of Kenosha County, Nick enjoys giving back to the community where he grew up and currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Kenosha County. He has also participated in several volunteer opportunities with the Kenosha Shalom Center Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha County, and the United Way.
Nick lives in Kenosha County with his wife Rachel and their three children.