Working for a variety of businesses with global scale, Dominic Turpin’s career has spanned across multiple industries. Since the fall of last year, Turpin has been the assistant vice president of finance for Quartz Health Solutions in Middleton, a newly created role in the organization that has a pretty broad array of responsibilities.
“It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been helped by the fact that all of the executives were completely on board with the creation of this position and understanding why we needed to bring another executive in,” Turpin tells Madison365. “So, I’ve had a lot of support inside the organization to help me there.”
The financial reporting department, the payroll department, the treasury department and billing departments all report to Turpin who is in the process of hiring a team of 41 people.
“When you think about what I do on a day-to-day basis, a lot of it revolves around regulatory reporting that we have to do,” Turpin says. “The billing area of the company is a strategic area of the company in that it is sometimes public facing part of our organization that has a responsibility for interacting with our members and our groups and making sure that people are invoiced at the right rate which has a big impact on the experience that they have with us.”
Last year, Gundersen Health Plan, Unity Health Insurance and Physicians Plus joined forces under the Quartz banner – more specifically, Quartz Health Solutions, Inc. – to deliver a seamless service experience for customers and partners of the health insurance plans. Turpin says that he has an aspirational vision for the finance department of Quartz.
“When I think about what a finance department should really be doing, a finance department – in addition to financial statements and the normal things you think about – has access to a lot of data and a lot of numbers,” he says. “So, I think that it’s incumbent upon a finance department to deliver insight to leadership that allows the executive to see around corners, to anticipate the future and to get the jump on the competition when we see trends changing in the industry.”
At Quartz, Turpin says that he really want to enhance the cost-benefit analysis that they do with respect to their capital projects.
“There’s a whole system and a model that I set up at my previous employer and I’m going to be doing a lot of work in that regard here,” Turpin says. “What that means is when business owners are coming forward with capital programs, we will have a solid methodology to quantitatively measure the value that these programs will create and be able to measure that actual realization of that value going forward which will help us prioritize our portfolios of projects.”
Turpin is brand new to the Madison area, having moved down from the Twin Cities last October to join Quartz. All told, he’s been working in the health industry for about 5 years, previously with United Health group, one of the biggest insurance companies in America. Prior to that, Turpin spent 12 years in the food manufacturing business and 10 years in the banking industry at Citibank where he helped manage and assess risk through participating in complex audits.
“The transition to health care was a very interesting transition for me. It was also very purposeful,” Turpin says. “I set my sites on the health care industry awhile ago and have been strategically looking at opportunities and then this one came up. When you look at the health care industry, it’s an industry that is going through a tremendous amount of change because of regulation. At the same time, the industry – both on the payer and the provider side – had a realization that we had to bend the cost curve down.
“I looked at an industry that was going through a lot of change that also had a very pressing need to address the cost structure on how we deliver health care,” he adds. “I think that’s the kind of industry that really needs finance talent so that is what really piqued my interest initially.”
The transition to health care was the greatest amount of “newness” that he had ever undertaken in his career – stepping up to a new leadership role as a director and stepping out into a new company. “You’ve got to learn new ways to navigate, new company politics in a new industry where I had no experience,” Turpin says. “I’ve never been challenged so much in my career, but also it’s been one of the greatest periods of growth in my career.
“That’s why when I give out career advice to young people who are just starting their careers that I tell them to never become complacent and to never be fearful taking a calculated risk,” he adds. “You need to be willing to move to different areas and different industries to grow .. and that’s what has happened for me.”
Turpin is always eager to help educate the next generation of professionals using his decades of experience. He has been the keynote speaker for two graduating cohorts of St. Cloud State University’s MBA program based in the Twin Cities where Turpin himself earned his MBA in 2008. Turpin has also delivered the keynote address att he 2007 Southwest Student Conference of the National Association of Black Accountants.
“Those were great experiences for me. The chance to do public speaking is always very interesting to me,” says Turpin, who is a board trustee on the St. Cloud University’s foundation board. “You have to think about the type of insight you want to deliver and messages that are going to resonate with the audience in the right way.”
“My goal moving forward is to be an important voice at the leadership table for Quartz when we undertake strategic decisions and figure out how we want to grow as an organization.”
Turpin still has many ties to the Twin Cities but has been enjoying his transition to Madison, noting the similarities. “I think the culture is the same. It’s a progressive city which is very similar to the Twin Cities. It’s also a very economically viable and growing area,” he says. “So you have a lot of opportunity in both places. Clearly, Madison is a smaller market.
“But that’s good for my commute,” he adds, smiling. “And the people of Madison – they feel like the people of Minneapolis did when I first moved up there 20 years ago. The people say ‘hi’ and are very friendly. As Minneapolis has grown over the last 20 years, it’s starting to feel more like Chicago and New York. More big city. Madison feels smaller still. I’m really enjoying my time in Madison so far.”
In his spare time, Turpin is a huge astronomy buff. “I spend a lot of time just reading as much astronomy as I can. I heard there’s a great planetarium at the University of Wisconsin, so I’m going to check that out soon,” he says.
For Turpin, who grew up in Gary, Indiana, you could say that with his recent move to Madison from Minneapolis that he’s sort of working his way back home. Maybe one more stop in Chicago before retirement?
“My wife actually grew up in Chicago. She’s the only sister who doesn’t live in Chicago. So I’ve always been the brother-in-law who moved their sister far away,” Turpin laughs. “But we’re getting close now. Living in Madison, we’re only two hours away.”
In his new city, Turpin is excited about the possibilities he sees working at his new job at Quartz.
“There were a couple of key reasons why I wanted to move from a company like United Health Care to Quartz. Quartz is a provider-owned health plan. What that means is that the hospitals own their own insurance companies. Our owners are also non-profit. That gives them a much different orientation,” Turpin says. “The environment I came out of in health care – I worked for an extremely large organization – and it was also publically traded, that presents different kinds of pressures internally for how we manage the company and the ability to strategically plan for the long-term.
“Coming to Quartz has been very good for me because it provides a great amount of balance,” he adds. “You have a health plan that is focused on lowering the cost of health care and making things more efficient in terms of how everything is getting paid for and the experiences members have had, but we also have a strategic alignment with the health care delivery side which are the hospitals that own us in terms of making sure people are living healthier lives.”
The smaller organization gives Turpin a bigger organizational footprint to operate in.
“What I really want to do is to get a really get a very strong cost-benefit analysis and expense management competency in place,” Turpin says. “I look forward to helping the organization grow in that regard.
“I’m also very much focused on the culture and refining the team and developing the leadership that we have,” he adds. “I have a really big focus on people right now. We have some positions open currently. We’re looking for a leadership mindset – somebody who can think analytically and strategically; somebody that can really communicate effectively in verbal and written mediums.”
Turpin adds that when he thinks about leadership, he thinks about people who can envision the end state and people that are able to energize others around them.
“I’m looking for people with a passion for business and the challenges that are inherent when you’re trying to deliver services in a competitive market,” Turpin says. “So one mark of success for me is how well I can develop the team.
“One of my goals moving forward is to be an important voice at the leadership table for Quartz when we undertake strategic decisions and figure out how we want to grow as an organization,” he adds.