Wrestling leader John Bardis named Assistant Secretary for Administration of Health and Human Services

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | March 18, 2017, 9:16 a.m. (ET)
John Bardis poses with his plaque during his induction to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla. in 2013. Photo by Larry Slater.

Wrestling leader John Bardis of Alpharetta, Ga. has been sworn in as the new Assistant Secretary for Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services, a key position in the Trump Administration.

Bardis will work with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price to lead this major federal department, which employs over 78,000 professionals serving the citizens of the United States. Bardis has known Price on a professional basis during his career in the health industry.

It is the largest government department in the world, with a budget of 1 trillion, 145 billion dollars, which is twice as big at the Defense Department. Standing by itself, the Department of Health and Human Services would equal the 11th largest economy in the world.

In his role as the Assistant Secretary for Administration, Bardis provides leadership for HHS departmental administration, including human resource policy, information technology, and departmental operations. He also serves as the operating division head for the HHS Office of the Secretary.

Bardis will be actively involved in policy, and will be the key leader who will oversee the operations of all aspects of the department.

A CEO for three companies specializing in health care, Bardis has often credited his wrestling background for playing an enormous role in his success in business and in life. He truly believes that the discipline and drive he learned on the mat helped him become one of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs and corporate leaders in the health care industry.

Bardis joined wrestling at the age of 10, finishing second in the Illinois high school state championships and winning a Junior National title in Greco-Roman. His college career began at the University of Wisconsin, but he chose to transfer to the University of Arizona, where he won a Western Athletic Conference championship. He also placed third in the 1976 Greco-Roman Olympic Trials.

Bardis served on the board of USA Wrestling from 1997-2011 and on numerous committees within the organization. He was Team Leader for the Greco-Roman during the 2005-2008 Olympic quadrennium, which included three World Championships and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. During his tenure, Bardis was well respected by the athletes and coaches in the Greco-Roman program for his hands-on approach and commitment to helping the team achieve the highest level of success.

Bardis helped the U.S. Greco-Roman program achieve its first-ever Greco-Roman World Team Title, when Team USA placed first at the 2007 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

He served as Treasurer of Committee for the Preservation for Olympic Wrestling (CPOW), which led the successful effort in 2013 to retain wrestling’s place on the program of the Olympic Games. With Bardis’ support, CPOW raised well over $1 million to fund all aspects of the campaign to Save Olympic Wrestling.

Bardis was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013 as an Outstanding American. The Hall of Outstanding Americans demonstrates wrestling's pride in those who have used the disciplines of the sport to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, and the arts and humanities.

His involvement in the Olympic movement goes beyond wrestling, in his position with the board of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He has also been closely involved with the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, as a coach and leader.

Bardis earned a bachelor’s degree in business at Arizona and began his career in healthcare with American Hospital Supply and Baxter International where he climbed to various senior management positions, including Vice President of the Baxter Operating Room Division. He left Baxter in 1987 to become president of Kinetic Concepts, departing in 1992.

From 1992-1997, Bardis was President and CEO of TheraTx, Inc. INC. Magazine named TheraTx the second-fastest growing public company in America in 1995 and named Bardis its “Entrepreneur of the Year,” for growing the company from $15 million to over $500 million in five years.

By June of 1999, Bardis, a resident of Alpharetta, Ga., founded MedAssets, an innovative company that partners with hospitals and health systems to enhance their financial strength. He has served as Chairman, President, and CEO since the company’s inception. Bardis retired from his leadership of MedAssets, when it was successfully sold over a year ago.

Throughout his adult life, Bardis has supported wrestling in many ways. He has helped sponsor a number of individual athletes who have competed at the national and Olympic levels. Bardis also organized and sponsored numerous activities for the wrestling community during the 1995 World Championships and the 1996 Olympics that were held in nearby Atlanta, Ga.

He also provided leadership and support for a new USA Wrestling program which has provided a championship ring to every Senior-level wrestler who has ever won an Olympic Games gold medal or a World Championships gold medal for the United States. These rings were first presented during the 2003 World Championships in Madison Square Garden in New York City, and have continued to be provided to U.S. World and Olympic champions ever since.

He has used his skills in public speaking for many important wrestling events, including “An Evening With Legends,” held alongside the 2003 World Championships in New York City, as well as the 1984 Olympic Team Reunion which was held alongside the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa.

Bardis is the founder and Chairman of Hire Heroes USA, the nation’s largest veteran job placement organization. In 2015, he was appointed to the Strategic Planning Committee of the board of Scripps Health in San Diego, CA, and to the Board of Advisors of Jackson Healthcare in Alpharetta, Ga. Bardis also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona.

Bardis has been a frequent presenter at healthcare conferences and meetings, and has made live appearances on several occasions on the CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business networks. He has published a variety of articles in national publications including articles in Forbes, Institutional Investor and Investor’s Business Daily. He has also been profiled by the Wall Street Journal.