Charles Laird

Chief Executive Officer

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

Charles Laird was named chief executive officer of St. David's South Austin Medical Center in May 2019. Prior to joining St. David's South Austin Medical Center, Laird served as CEO of Menorah Medical Center―a full-service, acute care hospital in Overland Park, Kansas--for four years.

During his time at Menorah Medical Center, Laird developed and expanded key service lines, recruited regionally recognized physicians to advance program development, improved physician satisfaction, decreased nurse turnover, increased quality metrics and improved patient experience. Additionally, Laird secured funding for a $65-million capital expansion project. Laird began his healthcare administration career as an administrative resident for St. David's HealthCare. He also served as an associate administrator at St. David's Round Rock Medical Center early in his career before assuming a number of other leadership roles at hospitals in Texas and Kansas.

Earlier in his career, Laird served as chief operating officer at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Houston and chief operating officer at West Houston Medical Center.

Laird received a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and he earned his master's degree in Healthcare Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.

Seth Herrick

Chief Financial Officer

St. David's South Austin Medical Center

Seth Herrick was named chief financial officer of St. David's South Austin Medical Center in May 2023.

Before joining St. David's South Austin Medical Center, Herrick served as the chief financial officer at Heart Hospital of Austin, where he was instrumental in the completion of several major capital projects, including the expansion of the hospital's intermediate and progressive care units. He also played a vital role in the launch of the hospital's Advanced Heart Failure Program.

Prior to his time at the Heart Hospital of Austin, Herrick served as vice president of finance in Medical City Arlington. In this role, he led data analytics for the hospital-based Next Generation Growth project supporting the hospital's five-year strategic plan. He also worked as a controller and a financial reporting manager for the hospital.

From 2007 to 2010, Herrick served as a financial analyst for John Peter Smith Health Network in Fort Worth. Before entering the healthcare industry, he worked as an information technology analyst for Burlington Resources in Fort Worth, which was later acquired by ConocoPhillips.

Herrick earned his master's and bachelor's degrees in business administration from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. He is also a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Jeffrey Nitzsche, MD

Chief Medical Officer

St. David's South Austin Medical Center

Jeffrey Nitzsche, M.D., was named chief medical officer of St. David's South Austin Medical Center in September 2023.

Dr. Nitzsche is a cardiac anesthesiologist with 23 years of clinical experience, including 15 years of leadership experience at St. David's South Austin Medical Center. He has served in a variety of roles at the hospital including chief of cardiac anesthesiology, vice chief of anesthesia and chief of staff.

During his time at St. David's South Austin Medical Center, Dr. Nitzsche played a significant role in building and improving multiple clinical initiatives, including programs to support open-heart surgery, treatment of structural heart conditions, cardiac electrophysiology, enhanced surgical recovery and trauma.

Dr. Nitzsche holds a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed his residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center with a focus on cardiac anesthesiology. He is also a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Michael Lopez

Chief Nursing Officer

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

Michael Lopez was named chief nursing officer for St. David’s South Austin Medical Center in March 2021. Lopez has been part of St. David’s HealthCare since 2013, serving as chief nursing officer for Heart Hospital of Austin and St. David’s Georgetown Hospital. Prior to that, Lopez served as the associate chief nursing officer St. David’s South Austin Medical Center for two years, with oversight of numerous operations across various nursing departments. During this time, Lopez led multiple clinical performance improvement initiatives, as well as served as the executive champion for the implementation strategies in nursing to achieve the highest patient satisfaction scores in five years.

Lopez obtained his bachelor’s degree in nursing from The University of Texas at Arlington, and he earned his Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in healthcare from Texas Woman’s University.

Megan Drake, Chief Operating Officer

Megan Drake

Chief Operating Officer

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

Megan Drake was named chief operating officer of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center in June 2023.

Before joining St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, Drake served as the chief operating officer at Heart Hospital of Austin. In this role, she managed a $20.9-million capital expansion, increasing the hospital’s bed capacity by nearly 25% and expanding support service areas to accommodate the hospital’s growth.

Prior to her time at Heart Hospital of Austin, Drake was chief operating officer at Shelby Baptist Medical Center—a 252-bed hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. In this role, she provided administrative and financial oversight of hospital services, including wound care, dietary, environmental, biomedical, security, respiratory therapy, imaging, pharmacy and laboratory. Drake also managed several significant capital projects, including a surgical suite expansion that encompassed a new hybrid operating room, as well as construction of an electrophysiology lab to expand cardiovascular services.

Before joining St. David’s HealthCare, Drake served as the western region chief business development officer for Prospect Medical Holdings, which owns 20 acute care and behavioral health hospitals in six states. Other leadership positions include market chief strategy officer for Valley Baptist Health System in Harlingen and Brownsville, acting chief operating officer and assistant chief executive officer of Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, administrative specialist and facility compliance officer at Lake Granbury Medical Center, and administrative specialist at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale, Arkansas.

Drake earned a master’s degree in health administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and a bachelor’s degree in biology from The College of Charleston. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.