In the time since he’s left USF, College of Public Health alumnus Dr. Richard Hartman has been on the move.
Each year, the USF Alumni Association honors the fastest growing USF Bull-led or Bull-owned businesses with the Fast 56 Award. Hartman received both his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from USF and has received this award three times since 2013.
While Hartman was awarded this year’s Fast 56 Award for his role with Synoptos, that’s just a small piece of the work he’s been doing.
Since leaving USF, Hartman has had a long and diverse career. Not one to stay idle, Hartman has thrown himself into a variety of big projects over the years, from developing applications for the military to co-developing his own company.
After earning his master’s degree at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology, Hartman left to pursue his doctorate from the COPH’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.
Throughout his career, he’s worked in varying capacities with the government at the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and from there he went out on a limb and co-created his own company. After seeing his company through a successful merger and acquisition and serving on multiple executive boards, Hartman is now an experienced consultant for all things policy.
In the last 20 years, Hartman has focused mainly on helping innovate health care. He’s found his entrepreneurial work to be one of the most engaging aspects of his career, and his public health background has helped make him an authority.
“My public health experience basically built a foundation, amongst other things that I’ve done, to help develop my credibility within the health care arena and to create insights into my business acumen from an entrepreneurial perspective,” he said.
Hartman said that USF was right for him because it was the most convenient way to get the degree he wanted.
“It gave me the opportunity to pursue a hybrid degree that other universities might not have offered at the time,” he said.
As a part of his dissertation, Hartman created one of his most notable products in 2001: the first application to collect medical information at the point of contact for the military’s special operations forces.
After seeing how business opportunities could potentially play out outside of the Department of Defense, he took a risk and cofounded the company OhMyGov, Inc., which has since become Synoptos, Inc.
Currently, Hartman spends most of his time working as a senior-level executive consultant to the Department of Defense developing a new delivery method of health care called Total Exposure Healthcare (TEH), which he says revolutionizes the way we think of health care and places an emphasis on primary prevention.
TEH will provide benefits not just for military members, but for their beneficiaries and their family members, as well.
Citing Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg as examples, Hartman’s career is an example of how calculated risks can have big rewards.
“If you’re young and you have ideas, take those risks,” he said. “But if you’re older, maybe just take a step back and see what would happen if you don’t make it. No matter what your age is, though, if you believe in something, and you’re passionate about it, and it’s yours, you should pursue it.”
He said that most people, rightfully so, choose the safe route, but that the timing is important and that he’s fortunate it worked out for him.
“I gave up a career path for a dream, and I was fortunate enough that things worked out well,” said Hartman. “All in all, I have to say it enriched me professionally, enriched me emotionally. It enriched me in many ways, and it enriched me financially.”
Hartman’s career hasn’t followed any set path, and he said he’s still trying to figure out how it compares to his expectations.
So, what happens next then?
“I don’t know,” he said. “My brain tells me that I’m not going to be able to settle down and that I’m going to need to be busy.”
Hartman said that he’s the type of person who gets passionate about whatever project they throw themselves into and that his career choices have rarely been financially driven, so it’s really just a matter of whether or not he wants to keep inserting himself into new projects.
As someone who’s taken his fair share of risks, Hartman advises anyone interested in pursuing entrepreneurial dreams to keep at it.
“It’s not an easy task, but if you believe in it, and you’re persistent, and your idea that you’re presenting has value, you should be fairly successful,” he said.
USF COPH Alumni Fun Facts:
Where would we find you on the weekend?
Home or exploring the D.C. metro area
What was the last book you read?
“Genetics for Dummies”
What’s your all-time favorite movie?
Story by AnnaMarie Koehler-Shepley, USF College of Public Health