PeaceHealth St. Joseph names new chief administrator

Dale Zender, the chief financial officer of the PeaceHealth Northwest Network, has been named the new chief administrative officer for Bellingham’s St. Joseph Medical Center, which is the city’s largest employer.

In his new role, Zender will take over the hospital’s day-to-day administrative duties from Nancy Steiger, the CEO and “chief mission officer” for the Northwest Network, said Amy Cloud, a PeaceHealth spokesperson. The Northwest Network includes PeaceHealth’s facilities in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties, as well as in Alaska.

Cloud said Zender will continue his duties as CFO for the Northwest Network. She emphasized that the personnel change is simply giving Zender more responsibility at St. Joseph Medical Center, not creating a new administrative position at the hospital.

Steiger, who will continue to work out of Bellingham, will focus on broader development endeavors within the Northwest Network, including new PeaceHealth partnerships with UW Medicine and Skagit Regional Health.

An announcement from Steiger and Kevin Walstrom, senior vice president and CFO for PeaceHealth, notes that Zender’s promotion is part of an effort within PeaceHealth to strengthen its operating structure, which the organization splits into several regional networks of care.

Northwest Network leaders made similar changes in July at the PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center in Alaska. Ken Tonjes was appointed to an interim administrative role at the hospital there.

Tonjes is also the CFO for the Ketchikan hospital. He previously held the same position for PeaceHealth’s Columbia Network.

Evan Marczynski, staff reporter for The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or

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