Blood Center Gets New Boss

The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center has a new boss today. Brian Gannon has moved into the office left vacant by the retirement of longtime President and CEO Bill Teague. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Brian Gannon comes to Houston from New Orleans, where he was President at the Blood Center for Southeast Louisiana for nearly 15 years. Gannon evacuated ahead of Hurricane Katrina like everyone else, but he says that's not what brought him to Houston.

"I didn't evacuate to Gulf Coast Regional from Katrina, no I, I actually had been in discussions with the board here about this job prior to the hurricane."

The Gulf Coast Blood Center supplies blood for more than 200 hospitals in 24 counties, and Gannon says he doesn't expect to make any significant changes in that mission, especially the center's highly successful Commit For Life Program, which works to recruit new blood donors.

"If we follow this program, what we'll be able to do............in this area."

Only five percent of the American population gives blood on a regular basis, and federal restrictions on who can donate blood only make it harder to recruit new donors, but Gannon says there are still plenty of potential donors out there.

"What we can do is we can go after that 95 percent of the marketplace that is not donating blood right now, and educate them on the importance of the need for blood donations, and that's what we're gonna do."

Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio.

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