Remembering Tim Tull
By: Liz Stanislawski
The Cumberland Heights family is reflecting on the life and legacy of a man who meant a lot to our recovery community over the years. Tim Tull, former Chief Financial Officer passed away April 7, 2020 at the age of 66.
Tim is credited with keeping Cumberland Heights alive during a financial crisis in the nineties when more than half of the country’s addiction treatment centers were forced to close. The stories of those who found recovery during those critical years may have turned out a lot differently if it weren’t for Tim’s efforts.
“Tim successfully shepherded Cumberland through those difficult years and because he never asked for or sought credit, he never got the credit he deserved for Cumberland’s survival,” said former CEO Jim Moore.
Yes, Tim was a “numbers guy” as most financial officers are, but his knack for math was no match for his compassionate heart.
“Those of us who knew him best were aware that if there was ever a choice between profits and the well being of our patients or his staff, he would choose the former latter every time,” said Jim.
CEO Jay Crosson echoes that sentiment. Tim hired Jay in 1993.
“Tim made it clear that the business side was not the mission of Cumberland Heights, while also affirming the principle of ‘no margin, no mission’. He was a good man and my supervisor for over 15 years. His steadfast hand helped guide CH through rocky waters more than once,” said Jay.
“Some of the lessons I learned from Tim included how to deal with problems that blow up. He emphasized taking care of the issue at hand, usually involving a patient or family member and their account, then dealing with the source of the problem (usually process) after the situation was calmer. Tim was not in recovery, but I think he learned a lot of recovery principles while at CH. He certainly practiced them.”
Tim was unique in that he had three specialty careers, first as a pharmacist, then as a CFO, and then, most recently as a lawyer—always willing to keep learning and stretching into new things.
Chief Clinical Officer Cinde Stewart Freeman remembers Tim’s willingness to teach and mentor others.
“When I met Tim in 1990, I was the brand-new Director of Nursing—my first time in a role that broad—and he was one of three executives managing Cumberland Heights. I quickly learned that he had started his career as a pharmacist. He used our common healthcare background to teach me the basics of financial management—budgets, balance sheets, expense profiles—words and concepts new to me. He taught me that honoring the mission of Cumberland Heights meant being a good steward of its financial resources, not an intuitive thought for a nurse counselor type. He could be trusted to say what he thought and to allow you to do the same. He gave good advice-advice that was based on character and integrity, not office politics. He became my friend. I mourn his passing and honor his life,” said Cinde.
Tim lead efforts to integrate computer technology and internet into the treatment business, which was unique for someone in the nineties whose career was not in IT.
“He really was the first person to make data work for Cumberland, said Chief Community Recovery Officer Randal Lea.
“I also remember he could not understand why clinical people were always late to standing meetings (yes, he knew we had patients) but he added some structure to the management team that Cumberland needed. Had we had not learned from Tim how to overlay responsibility on top of mission, we would still have about 4 buildings and 50 staff – if we were here at all.”
Russ Taylor, Construction Project Manager also credits Tim with making the Cumberland Heights campus come alive.
“He began the transformation of our old campus, upgrading the buildings as needed and getting Cumberland Heights to look as it does today.
Tim was always careful with spending. His favorite saying on any project was ‘Cumberland Heights is aware’. He made sure that contractors knew that monies being spent on construction was from funds donated in order to save lives of those suffering from addiction. It was important to him, and he wanted those working on the project to understand our passion, “said Russ.
Tim’s legacy lives on at Cumberland Heights – from his work ethic, to his innovative ideas, compassion and his “sayings” so many fondly remember. We are able to save more lives, largely in part because of what he did. Rest in peace, Tim.