Dr. Eric George is a well-known and highly respected hand surgeon, but it’s his entrepreneurship and abiding desire to improve the lives of others that define his life’s work—that, and an unrelenting love for the city of New Orleans, LA.
Disrupting the Healthcare Status Quo
Dr. George’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2005 with the purchase of Omega Hospital. As the CEO of the organization, he was pivotal in transforming the hospital’s operations, most especially in the area of patient care optimization. As the healthcare industry traditionally tends to lack customer focus—especially at the institutional level—many consider him a pioneer in this area. The concept of patient experience didn’t hit the mainstream until many years later, but the care and detail that Dr. George put into the transformation was nothing short of visionary.
Under Dr. George’s direction, patient rooms were transformed into suites that more closely resembled luxury hotel rooms. Each was appointed with big-screen television, kitchenette, and murphy beds, making it easy and comfortable for friends or relatives to stay with their loved ones overnight. In addition, he developed a more patient-centric system for billing and collections, elevating patient and payer satisfaction while improving cash flow for the organization.
The Entrepreneurial Journey Begins
Based on the Omega Hospital initiative’s success, Dr. George realized that the same principles could be applied to other industries, bringing value to essential services like healthcare, assisted living, and hospitality. He founded venture investment firm ERG Enterprises in 2006, leveraging insights gained during the Omega project to invest in and drive value in other healthcare facilities in the New Orleans area.
Dr. George’s focus took what some might call a dramatic turn in 2009 when ERG began to invest in hotels, entertainment venues, and other hospitality outlets, but the underlying concept was the same. By prioritizing customer experience, he built a brand that became synonymous with its mission: to create a better world, one community, and one solution at a time.
ERG partnered with The Berger Company to purchase the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, restoring the hotel to local ownership and launching what was to be the beginning of a premier hospitality empire. That legacy now includes such notable properties as the Orpheum Theater, Pontchartrain Hotel, The Frenchman Hotel, the Royal Orleans Hotel, and Westin Canal Place, among others. In 2019, ERG partnered with investment company GMB Properties to acquire the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, the largest hotel acquisition in the history of Louisiana to date.
ERG Enterprises’ portfolio is highly diverse and goes well beyond the scope of healthcare and hospitality, venturing as far afield as Kenya, where they have founded and supported a grade school in the coastal city of Mombasa. Currently, ERG maintains global interests in a range of industries that include aviation, multi-family/mixed-use real estate, energy, medical devices, and much more.
Unquestionably, Dr. George is an inspiration to us all. He took a strong desire to help others and scaled it across the globe—prioritizing value without compromising integrity or cutting corners. His work reflects the embodiment of his own words, “Don’t chase the money. Chase the experience and the money will follow.”