Send your personnel news to Lois Bowers at [email protected].

Solinity names Sara Mitchell president of its marketing company

Sara Mitchell headshot
Sara Mitchell

Sara Mitchell has been named president of Solinity Marketing, Knoxville, TN-based Solinity’s full-service public relations and marketing agency specializing in the senior living and healthcare industry.

Tighe O'Connor headshot
Tighe O’Connor

Mitchell is a founding partner in the company and recently was vice president of partner relations as well as overseeing team building and operations. She brings experience in communications and marketing to the position, with a focus on developing, designing and positioning brands.

Along with the appointment of Mitchell, longtime senior living marketer and designer Tighe O’Connor has been appointed creative director for the agency.

Sonida Senior Living names chief accounting officer, director of financial reporting

Howard Garfield, CPA, and Debbie Milligan, CPA, have been appointed as chief accounting officer and director of financial reporting, respectively, at Sonida Senior Living.

Most recently, Garfield was senior vice president, finance, treasurer and chief accounting officer for CorePoint Lodging, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, where he improved gross margins and reduced administrative costs by developing a high-performing accounting team, transforming insurance and property tax programs, and executing various capital market, tax and financing strategies to provide cost effective supplemental capital sources. Before that, he was the chief financial officer and chief accounting officer for Monogram Residential Trust for almost a decade. 

Milligan also hails from CorePoint Lodging, where she was the senior director of financial reporting, responsible for all Securities and Exchange Commission financial reporting. She led cross-functional teams on several initiatives to streamline financial processes and improve the company’s reporting function.

Avera Health names new COO

David Flicek has been named chief operating officer for Avera Health, a regional health system that includes 40 senior living facilities. In this role, Flicek will continue his duties as chief administrative officer for Avera Medical Group, and lead all of Avera’s integrated operations of clinics, hospitals and long-term care centers as well as Avera@Home. 

Flicek currently is president and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center and chief administrative officer for Avera Medical Group. Over the past five years, he has led Avera McKennan through growth as well as challenging times, including a September 2019 tornado and the COVID-19 pandemic. During this timeframe, he led Avera McKennan to open the Avera on Louise Health Campus, expanded behavioral health and cancer services and achieved quality improvements. Avera McKennan is a 5-star hospital as named by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is among the 100 Top Hospitals in the nation as named by IBM Watson Health.

Flicek will assume his new duties in October. 

Retirement Unlimited hires VP, resident engagement

Antwan Holt headshot
Antwan Holt

Antwan Holt is the new vice president of resident engagement at Roanoke, VA-based Retirement Unlimited Inc. In this role, he will assist in leading the company’s life enrichment teams in both Virginia and Florida toward the continued implementation of RUI’s strategic initiative and vision of “delivering a lifestyle our residents have earned and deserve.”

Holt has almost a decade of senior living experience. He also will oversee several RUI signature programs, including Inspiritás memory care, Leash On Life pet concierge services and RUI University, a life long learning program, as well as the implementation of the new MYRUI app.

Holt received his undergraduate degree in physical education/exercise science at Alabama A&M University and his Master of Arts in health and wellness counseling at Liberty University.

Plymouth Harbor names Jeff Weatherhead president and CEO

Jeff Weatherhead headshot
Jeff Weatherhead

Jeff Weatherhead has been named as the new president and CEO of the Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay, effective June 20. He will succeed Harry Hobson, who has served in this capacity since 2004 and is retiring.

Weatherhead currently is the chief operating officer for Aldersgate Life Plan Services in Charlotte, NC, where he has been since 2014. He previously was executive director for Westminster Shores in St. Petersburg, FL, Westminster Woods in Jacksonville, and Mason Christian Village in Mason, OH.

Weatherhead is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and Xavier University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in interpersonal and public communications and master’s degree in health services administration. He also is a fellow in the LeadingAge Leadership Academy (2017) and LeadingAge Leadership Educator Program (2018).

Ernie Shaffer to serve as president of new LGBTQ+ active senior community

Ernie Shaffer headshot
Ernie Shaffer

Ernie Shaffer has been appointed president of the flagship community of Living Out Palm Springs, slated to open spring 2023. The active adult retirement community is designed to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ people, providing a safe and welcoming home for residents and visitors.

Shaffer will bring more than 30 years of experience in the industry to Living Out, where he will be integrally involved in the continuing development of the community and will develop, implement and directly oversee all operational components.

His experience includes leading numerous teams as director of operations, overseeing various types of senior communities, including skilled nursing homes, assisted living, memory care and independent retirement living, for some of the largest operators in the country. Schaffer worked closely with developers including the Marriott Senior Living retirement communities in Southern California during their expansion into continuing care. He most recently was senior executive director at Segovia Palm Desert.

Northbridge, HallBridge hire sales and marketing specialist

Bryan McKeever headshot
Bryan McKeever

Bryan McKeever is now sales and marketing specialist for Northbridge Advisory Services, Burlington, MA, and its operating entity, HallBridge Partners, owner and operator of independent living, assisted living and memory care communities in the Northeast.

In his new role, McKeever will drive sales performance and multi-channel marketing initiatives for HallBridge’s 10 communities. Further, he will play a vital role in supporting Northbridge Advisory Services with its national consulting business.

McKeever comes to Northbridge with almost 25 years of experience in senior living, most recently with The Roache Associates in Wilbraham, MA. There, he led lease-up and turnaround projects in the Northeast and across the country.

Maryland SageLife community names Amanda Gill executive director

Amanda Gill headshot
Amanda Gill

Amanda Gill has been hired as executive director of Village Crossing at Worman’s Mill, a new SageLife community in Frederick, MD. In this role, she will be responsible for the day-to-day operations and growth of the Village Crossing community.

Gill comes to Village Crossing with more than 15 years of leadership experience in senior living. Previously, she was an executive director at both Arbor Terrace Fulton and Brookdale Senior Living. In her most recent role, Gill led the startup of an 86-unit assisted living and memory care community from construction phase to opening.

Gill is a certified director of assisted living and is a board member of LifeSpan Network, Maryland’s association for senior care providers. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in psychology from McDaniel College before receiving her Master of Science in applied gerontology from Towson University.

Rick Rivera headshot
Rick Rivera

Admiral on the Lake welcomes Rick Rivera as new facilities director

Rick Rivera is the new facilities director at The Admiral at the Lake, a Kendal affiliate in Chicago. He has more than 15 years of building management experience in the healthcare field.

As facilities director, Rivera’s responsibilities include overseeing facilities and housekeeping, managing budgets, forecasting for long-term plans and most importantly, ensuring that residents are happy with the facilities. Most recently, he was the director of plant operations at another senior living community in Lincolnwood, IL.

Ahmad Farooq, MD, rejoins Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey as regional medical director

Dr. Ahmad Farooq headshot
Ahmad Farooq, M.D.

Ahmad Farooq, M.D., has rejoined Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey as regional medical director. Farooq previously served the organization as medical director of Lutheran Senior LIFE at Jersey City, a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Farooq’s responsibilities for LSMNJ include oversight of the delivery of care to the organization’s residents, participants, clients and patients. He will work closely with LSMNJ clinical staff to support the organization’s quality assurance initiatives.

Farooq holds a medical degree from the University of Punjab in Pakistan and a Master of Science degree in health sciences from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D. C. He was residency-trained in internal medicine at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and completed a fellowship in geriatric medicine at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Illinois.

Farooq has actively maintained certifications in the specialties of internal medicine, geriatric medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine. He also holds certifications from AMDA and te American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians. He also is a fellow of the latter.

Windsor Run names Kelly McGrath as director of dining services

Kelly McGrath headshot
Kelly McGrath

Kelly McGrath has been appointed director of dining services at Windsor Run, a continuing care retirement community in Matthews, N.C. managed by Erickson Senior Living.

From culinary proficiency to restaurant management, McGrath brings 30 years of experience to Windsor Run. At Erickson Senior Living, she recently was a chef de cuisine and associate dining director at Maris Grove in Pennsylvania and interim dining director at Fox Run in Michigan.

McGrath holds a degree in pastry arts from The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College.

Ventas appoints Bill ‘BJ’ Grant SVP, investor relations

Chicago-based real estate investment trust Ventas announced that Bill “BJ” Grant has joined the company as senior vice president of investor relations, reporting to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert F. Probst.

Grant brings more than 20 years of investment management experience through his role at Morgan Stanley as portfolio manager and head of U.S. real estate. At Morgan Stanley, where he had direct responsibility for up to $9 billion in client assets, he invested in listed real estate companies across all property types, including healthcare, and led all aspects of the U.S. research and investment process. As an investor at Morgan Stanley, BJ developed a deep understanding of healthcare REITs and of Ventas.

In his new role, Grant will be responsible for working closely with Ventas’s investors and analysts with excellence and integrity, communicating Ventas’s strategy, performance and prospects to the market and driving continued progress on the company’s key communication initiatives.

CareTrust welcomes Scott Grossman VP, asset management

In an effort to address its growth potential, CareTrust REIT has hired Scott Grossman as vice president of asset management. The firm said that Grossman’s hiring will allow the company to shift some of its employees from portfolio management to focus on off-market deals, the company’s operator and the construction of investment pipelines.

Grossman’s experience in skilled nursing and seniors housing asset management brings a new level of large REIT expertise and leadership to that function at CareTrust, the REIT said. It also allows the firm to strategically redeploy some key internal talent from portfolio management work to focusing on building the company’s operator and investment pipelines, with an emphasis on sourcing off-market deals, said Dave Sedgwick, Caretrust’s president and CEO.

Healthpeak appoints Kathy Sandstrom vice chair of board of directors

Kathy Sandstrom has been appointed as independent vice chair and chair of the nominating and corporate governance committee for Denver-based Healthpeak Properties.

In her new role as vice chair, Sandstrom will lend her institutional real estate investment experience to Brian Cartwright, Tom Herzog and other directors to help guide Healthpeak in advancing its strategic growth initiatives and development platforms. As chair of the nominated and corporate governance committee, she will assist in planning for future board leadership roles and succession.

Sandstrom has more than 20 years of real estate finance and investment experience. She was senior managing director and global head of Heitman’s public real estate securities business from 2013 to 2018 and was a member of the firm’s global management committee, the board of managers and the allocation committee. Before joining Heitman in 1996, she held several senior leadership positions across multiple facets of the institutional real estate investment industry.

Sandstrom, a certified public accountant, has served on Healthpeak’s Board since 2018 and is a member of the board of directors of EastGroup Properties, Inc., an NYSE-listed real estate investment trust.

NHI announces appointment of Tracy M. J. Colden to board

Tracy M.J. Colden will join the board of directors of Murfreesboro, TN-based National Health Investors effective June 1, the real estate investment trust announced.

Colden has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality and lodging industry and is general counsel, executive vice president and corporate secretary with Playa Hotels & Resorts N. V., an owner, operator and developer of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean.

She formerly was general counsel, executive vice president and corporate secretary at Highland Hospitality Corp. and Crestline Capital Corp. Before joining Crestline Capital, she was an assistant general counsel at Host Marriott Corp. (now Host Hotels & Resorts) and previously was in private practice.

Colden received her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is a certified public accountant (inactive) and is a member of the District of Columbia, Florida and Michigan (emeritus status) bars.

The addition of Colden will increase the total number of directors from seven to eight.

Heidi Simpson to retire from LeadingAge Minnesota

After almost 44 years with LeadingAge Minnesota, Heidi Simpson has announced she will be retiring from her role as vice president of education, effective Aug. 1.

Simpson has worked for the organization since 1978, holding a variety of positions within its evolving education division. As the vice president, she has been responsible for the development of LeadingAge Minnesota’s continuing education programs, which are offered as webinars and workshops at conferences, certificate programs, the annual meeting and institute. She secures continuing education units, arranges for speakers, helps develop learning objectives and helps shape program content and design.

Originally set to retire in 2020, with the onset of COVID-19 and assisted living licensure, Simpson put her plans on hold to make sure members had the educational resources needed to weather these challenges. 

She is a past president of the Minnesota Gerontological Society and the founder of the LeadingAge Professional Development Network. She has participated in numerous statewide stakeholder groups responsible for developing continuing education programs for aging services professionals. She holds a 30-hour certificate in aging studies and earned her master’s degree in adult education, both at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Health Dimensions Group welcomes Scott Hochstadt as regional director of operations

Scott Hochstadt headshot
Scott Hochstadt

Scott Hochstadt is a new regional director of operations for Health Dimensions Group, based in Minneapolis. In this role, Hochstadt provides regional leadership, management and administration for HDG’s portfolio of independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing communities in Minnesota. He also is responsible for the oversight of occupancy and revenue goals, expenses, sales and marketing initiatives, clinical care delivery, regulatory oversight, safety and human resources issues.

Hochstadt has worked as both an administrator and a human resources professional for skilled nursing providers. Previously, he was vice president of operations for a senior living and skilled nursing provider based in Milwaukee, WI.

Hochstadt received his undergraduate degree in social work from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, and a master’s degree in human resource management and development from National Louis University in Chicago. He is a past board member and district president of the Wisconsin Health Care Association / Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living.

Link-age welcomes Steve Wermuth as VP of strategic innovation

Mason, OH-based Link-age has announced that Steve Wermuth, a partner at Strategic Health Care, will join Link-age as vice president of strategic innovation. Wermuth leaves Strategic Health Care to join Link-age after a four-decade long career in public policy, healthcare and senior living.

Link-age is a union of three interconnected companies that serve the senior living space through its group purchasing organization, market intelligence capabilities and growth-oriented innovation funds. Through its partnership with specialty investment bank Ziegler, Link-age is focused on growing technology, tech-enabled services, and emerging care delivery models in the long-term care and aging markets.

Before joining Strategic Health Care as a partner and managing clients within the healthcare sector, Wermuth was chief operating officer at the Ohio Department of Health, overseeing more than 120 programs and managing the government affairs staff at the department. He also served as interim president and CEO for LeadingAge Ohio from 2012 to 2013 through a transitional period.

Wermuth’s background includes almost 40 years of experience in healthcare, including 15 years as health commissioner in both Tuscarawas and Clark counties in Ohio. He received  his undergraduate degree in community health education from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in public administration from Kent State University.

Kimmi Campagna headshot
Kimmi Campagna

Cura Hospitality announces promotions, appointments

Senior living food service partner Cura Hospitality recently announced several promotions among its team members. 

Jon Norris headshot
Jon Norris

Kimmi Campagna was promoted to senior director, national partnership growth and engagement. In 2021, she was instrumental in partnering with Allegheny Health Network (10 hospitals throughout Western Pennsylvania) and Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America (serving 15 senior living communities in Missouri and Kansas), which selected Cura based on a track record of achieving measurable outcomes in satisfaction, engagement and financial parameters while modeling a culture of true person-centered service. Both organizations transitioned to Cura during the pandemic. 

The firm also has promoted Jon Norris to client partnership director. In this role, he will leverage his operational experience to build connectivity and assist with the field while working to strengthen current client partnerships.

Paul Schick headshot
Paul Schick

Beginning his career as a cook with Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, MD, Jon advanced his career in management roles before joining Cura in 2009 as general manager of dining services for Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. Most recently, Jon served as a district manager for 12 years with Cura, where he managed a combination of 16 senior living communities and acute-care facilities.

Cura also welcomes Paul Schick as the team’s new business development director. With more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare foodservice industry, Schick is a registered dietitian and brings experience from all facets of healthcare foodservice in senior and acute-care spaces. He has held clinical, food service operations, management and retail roles.

RSM promotes Melissa Sisler to national senior care sector leader

Melissa “Missy” Sisler has been hired by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM to be its national senior care sector leader.

In this role, Sisler will serve on the firm’s national healthcare leadership team with a focus on growing the senior care practice and delivering solutions to help senior living and other long-term care clients increase operational effectiveness. She will continue to serve as the firm’s central region’s continuing care retirement communities/long-term care leader and as a member of the national real estate team.

Sisler, an audit partner, joined the firm in 1997 and primarily has spent her career serving senior living organizations, real estate owners and operators and not-for-profit organizations. She has experience directing accounting engagements for continuing care retirement communities and other long-term care facilities.

Sisler holds an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Northern Iowa.

Sentrics adds post-acute experts to Product Advisory Council

Sentrics, based in Garland, TX, announced the expansion of its Acute Care Product Advisory Council with the addition of Cassidy McCrite and Pat Merryweather-Arges.

McCrite is the acting assisted living administrator at McCrite Plaza at Briarcliff in Kansas City, MO, and chief operating officer of McCrite Retirement Communities. He oversees the compliance and day-to-day operations of 203 independent living apartments, 143 assisted living units and more than four-dozen skilled nursing units.

After receiving his master’s degree in education from Washburn University, he began his senior living career at McCrite Plaza, Topeka. He has been instrumental in leading the family-owned business through multiple expansions to complete the full continuum of care at McCrite Plaza.

Merryweather-Arges, executive director of Chicago-based Project Patient Care, served as executive director of the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization over five states, working on improvements in nursing homes, hospitals and community health. She previously was senior vice president of the Illinois Hospital Association, where she developed the five-state performance information system, COMPdata; Quality Care Institute; and Midwest Patient Safety Organization. 

Sentrics formed the PAC in 2021 to help company leadership translate market trends into product direction and high-level market requirements, strengthen its commitment to the acute care market and help demonstrate its value across all acuity levels, from hospitals to senior living.

Send your personnel news to Lois Bowers at [email protected]. High-resolution color photos are welcome but not required.