March 8, 2023 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Statehouse Convention Center Little Rock
Presented By
Category Sponsors
Sponsored By
For sponsorship or ticket information contact:
Tiffany Mattzela
Event Director

Levi Bauer

Levi Bauer
Business Executive of the Year
Little Rock

Levi Bauer had wanted to be in the business world since he was 12. “And a lightbulb went off when I got my first taste of health care that I could use my business skills and experience and expertise to actually help a whole bunch of people,” he said. “That lightbulb went off and I never left health care after that.”

Before becoming CEO of OrthoArkansas in June 2019, Bauer, who attended high school and college in Nebraska, served as division director for orthopedic, spine and neurosciences at CHI Health in Omaha, Nebraska. Since joining OrthoArkansas, which provides orthopedic health care, he has seen its revenue rise from about $63 million in 2019 to more than $90 million in 2022. 

But he said his greatest accomplishment at OrthoArkansas, which has eight clinics, three ambulatory surgery centers and almost 500 employees, has been helping increase employee satisfaction scores to “very positive” levels. If you can take care of employee satisfaction, Bauer said, “it takes care of everything else mostly.”

When he first arrived at the health care provider, “we did an initial baseline survey, and it came out awful.” Bauer reviewed the comments and worked on fixing the problems he could. “We have a giant focus on friendliness,” he said. “It’s one of our three things we look for now that we did not have before. So we hire for that. We fire for that. We train for that. We just ensure that everybody knows that friendliness is a giant focus between us and our patients and then us and each other as well. And that has helped tremendously.”

The COVID-19 pandemic provided obvious challenges for a health care provider like OrthoArkansas, with Bauer going from being a “peacetime CEO to a wartime CEO.” That meant closer supervision of the business and increased communication — for example, “we had daily calls with our leadership teams trying to stay ahead of everything.” 

“We came out of COVID probably better than we entered it, just from the fact that our leadership was able to navigate those waters well,” he said. OrthoArkansas is a physician-owned company, “so our physicians really stepped up.”

Previous Arkansas Business of the Year Honorees