John '68 (Marketing) & Margi '68 (Nursing) Herzog

Alumni couple is making a difference

John & Margi Herzog
To husband and wife business partners John and Margi Herzog, family comes first. The lifelong “best friends,” who met as fourth graders at a Mt. Shasta elementary school, have a marriage 44 years strong, three children and five grandchildren. But their concept of family extends well beyond the gene pool.

“We live our life for family,” Margi says. “We have our home family, but we also think of our business as family. We think of Sac State as family.”

So when the University reached out for support to improve the nursing program, the Herzogs responded by naming a room in the School of Nursing’s new Folsom Hall.

“It’s a fabulous facility,” Margi says. “When I was going to school, we just had little rooms here and there. The new Folsom Hall is unbelievable. It’s something to be proud of.”

And the Herzogs know a thing or two about the nursing industry. Not only is Margi an early graduate of Sac State’s nursing program, the duo’s business, Herzog Surgical, specializes in the sale, distribution and repair of tools for operating room staff.

“Our main customers right now are nurses,” John says. “We actually deal with more nurses than surgeons, because nurses make more of the buying decisions in hospitals.”

The Herzogs’ contributions to the medical community are two-fold: providing valuable services to operating rooms through their business and ensuring the future of quality nursing by filling what Margi recognizes as a shortage of nurses in the community.

“I think the University should be very proud,” she says. “I think if we’re able to create better nurses in the program, it’s going to make a great difference in our community.”

Margi, Herzog Surgical’s president and CEO, and John, its vice president of business development, have grown the company from its inception 32 years ago to its current position supplying health care and hospital facilities spanning the West Coast and beyond, including Kaiser and UC Davis Medical Center. And their recent donation to Folsom Hall is not their first gift. The Herzogs previously donated hundreds of utility scissors, specifically engraved for the occasion, to the School of Nursing on its 50th anniversary.

“It’s nice to give to causes you know something about and are close to your heart,” John says. “It just seems like such a good fit for us.”

That sense of togetherness is deep-rooted in the Herzog relationship. So strong is the partnership that when, on their wedding day, John received his draft notice, Margi decided she would enter the army with him.

“We went into the army together,” John says. “Margi’s first job was director of nurses at a little hospital in Anniston, Ala. She had never had a job before, but she had a bachelor’s degree, and that was a big deal down there. Her good training at Sac State was very helpful in her getting started.”

Margi thought so, too, until she was told her job was to give patients IVs. Back in that day, the Sac State nursing students weren’t trained to attempt such a task. She quickly picked up the skill from fellow nurses in the trenches, and John even cut his teeth in the medical field during the army as an operating room technician.

And along the way, John says, they’ve learned another thing: how good it feels to give.

“We believe in giving,” John says. “Giving is a heck of a lot more fun than receiving as long as you receive enough to get by, you know? I don’t think people realize how much more fun that is. If they haven’t tried it, they should. They’d be surprised!” If you wonder which room at Folsom Hall the Herzogs named, keep your eyes peeled for a room that recalls one particular memory that’s now funny in hindsight.

“The room we chose to name was the IV room!” says Margi, and she and John begin laughing.

To make a gift to support students, faculty and programs at Sacramento State, contact the Office of University Development at (916) 278-6989 or visit csus.edu/giving/.

This article was originally published in the September 2012 edition of Sac State Connection.

This video was produced by Sacramento State's Office of Public Affairs, published June 2012.