Friendship's Director of Healthcare Operations Makes Roanoker Magazine's 40 under 40 Class of 2020

Congratulations to Ben Higgins, Director of Healthcare Operations, for making Roanoker Magazine's 40 under 40 list for the Class of 2020!  

A 2006 Cum Laude graduate from James Madison University, Ben Higgins received a bachelor’s degree in health services administration with a minor in business. As director at Friendship, Higgins oversees two campuses that offer skilled nursing and rehabilitation. He also leads the charge on the organization’s culture change effort, including Friendship’s efforts to support the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk.

Having been born with a congenital heart defect, coupled with his interest in health care services, Higgins naturally gravitates to organizations that focus specifically on heart health. Despite the obstacles, he is determined not to a heart defect define who he is or the life he wants to lead and puts his all into the needs of Friendship’s community. “It’s my hope that my passion and the work that we do … give our employees what they need to create loving atmospheres and an environment where our patients and their families can have some peace of mind,” he says.

  • Led Friendship’s efforts to support the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk
  • Was an administrator of a team who was one in the first 12 within the Commonwealth to achieve the American Health Care Association’s (AHCA) Silver Quality Award
  • Served as Virginia’s sole representative for the AHCA Future Leaders Program in 2016-2017
  • Serves with the National Association of Boards of Long-Term Care Administrators (NAB) in multiple capacities. He is Vice Chair for the Home & Community-based Services Exam Committee and one of 18 members of the overall Exam Committee for the nationwide licensure
  • Served as Vice Chair of the National Continuing Education Review Service (NCERS) for 4 years
  • Served on the VHCA Board of Directors for both 2016 and 2017
  • Recognized as the 2019 Red Cap Survivor Spokesperson
  • Volunteered for Mended Little Hearts
  • Led a team that collectively raised over $10,000 in support of the Heart Walk

From the Nomination: “Ben Higgins is tenacious and holds himself, his team and his current employer to the highest ethical standards. He is not afraid to take on a challenge, and has an innate ability to rally others and build alliances. If or when the solution is more difficult than expected, due to the fact that over the years he has built strong, trust-filled relationships, Higgins has several colleagues on which he can call (and is not too proud to do so) when he feels additional counsel is needed. Higgins is often tasked to discern difficult situations and often has to share information that can be hard to accept, leading to emotionally-charged reactions and feelings that oftentimes override reason. He stays composed and skillfully navigates his way through these tough conversations, truly excelling in conflict resolution. Despite personal health issues he’s experienced since birth, Higgins is an individual that has committed himself and his life to serving others. He has been able to create a career path that allows him to fulfill this calling, enhance the lives of others through health care services, all the while enjoying the love and support of his family and friends. Whether he is working, volunteering, or just hanging out with family and friends, Higgins is appreciated by all. It’s easy to see that he is and will continue to make a wonderful difference in the lives of many.”

What do you love about Roanoke?

Higgins: “Having grown up in Augusta County, not too far north of Roanoke, I’ve been familiar with the city my whole life. But it wasn’t until I moved here in 2013 that I realized just how much it had to offer! As a father of a seven-year-old, it truly is an amazing community to raise a family. With plenty of parks and recreational options, we’re never short on places to ride our bikes or play our favorite sports. There’s been quite the revitalization of downtown Roanoke and my wife and I loved it so much that we decided to get married on the rooftop at Center in the Square, with the stunning backdrop of the mountains and the city buildings. And, being in health care, I especially love that Roanoke is leaning into that growing market with expansions of the hospital and partnerships with universities and colleges aimed at research and improving patient outcomes. More than anything, though, I most love the people. There’s a warmth about the community and a friendliness that is palpable as you enjoy all that Roanoke has to offer.”

How does your passion impact our community?

Higgins: “My hope is that my passion impacts our community by showing people that there is an ‘art’ to aging – everyone goes about it in a different and unique way, none of them ‘right’ and none of them ‘wrong’ – and that, no matter your circumstance, there are people right here in Roanoke who can help you navigate your way through it and, perhaps, even embrace it. I also like to think that some of my work outside of Friendship serves the same purpose. For instance, with NAB, our effort is to ensure that our standards for credentialing and licensing long-term care administrators is firm and fair, balancing the need to embrace to new talent to the industry while still reminding them of the vast responsibilities they’ll face as leaders of facilities housing our nation’s greatest generation. Lastly, my passion is to take care of people and to create systems and practices that make that easier for our hard-working staff to do the same.”

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Friendship North Campus

367 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24012


Friendship South Campus

5647 Starkey Road, Roanoke, VA 24018


Friendship Salem Terrace

1851 Harrogate Dr, Salem, VA 24153