2023 Founders’ Award


Mike Schueler
Trustee, Deaf Smith County Hospital District- Board Chair


Texas Healthcare Trustees presents the Founders Award to a distinguished health care trustee with an exemplary record of leadership, dedication and excellence in health care governance. The Founders Award is the highest honor bestowed to a trustee.  

Schueler’s no-excuses approach to leadership challenges and organizational management has served him well over a 40-year banking career and eight years as board president of Deaf Smith County Hospital District. A high achiever by nature, Schueler’s steady guidance and commitment to continuous improvement equipped the local health care system to help meet the needs of the community.

Schueler played an important role in guiding the hospital through myriad challenges, from rebuilding the hospital’s reputation and trust with the community to steadying hospital leadership through the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The magnitude of his support probably showed the most during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jeff Barnhart, CEO of Deaf Smith County Hospital District. “When our organization was challenged in unprecedented ways, Mike was never more than a phone call away, always offering support. He knew that we had to make quick operational decisions that, in normal times, might have waited for a conversation with him or the board.”

“Through Mike’s service, we have successfully turned the corner both financially and in the eyes of the community,” Barnhart added.

Schueler earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics with an emphasis in finance from Texas Tech University in 1985, a unique blend of his agricultural background and aptitude for finance. His banking career began during his studies and carried on after graduation as he worked significant stretches in three banks in Texas and Oklahoma before joining FirstBank Southwest Hereford in 1998, where he currently serves as president.

In addition to his extensive experience serving on the boards of numerous non-profit and charitable organizations, Schueler currently serves as an advisory board member for a local junior college, an advisory board member to a county extension service, a member of the city of Hereford’s Planning & Zoning Commission, and is the board chair of Deaf Smith County Hospital District.