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Century Park names Esmerelda Lee EVP, COO

Esmerelda Lee
Esmerelda Lee

Esmerelda Lee has been appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer for Cleveland, TN-based Century Park Associates, an affiliate of Life Care Centers of America, returning to the company where she began her career in senior living and care.

Her career includes serving as executive director for the former Life Care Center of Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga, TN, and Life Care Center of Cleveland, Cleveland, TN, before accepting the role of campus manager of Garden Plaza at Cleveland, Cleveland, TN, from 2006 to 2017.

Lee joined Enlivant as regional vice president of operations in 2017 and was promoted to vice president of operations for the company in 2018.

She earned her undergraduate degree in biological sciences/pre-med from Lee University and a master’s degree in public health administration from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Century Park Associates operates more than 40 independent and assisted living communities in 20 states.

United Methodist Communities appoints Robert Peterson VP of finance, CFO 

Robert Peterson has been appointed to the position of vice president finance and chief financial officer at Neptune, NJ-based United Methodist Communities.

In this role, he will direct the overall financial plans and accounting practices for United Methodist Communities and its 13 statewide sites.

Among his duties, Peterson will oversee the financial and accounting system controls and standards, ensuring timely statistical reports for leadership to assist in meeting UMC’s strategic objectives. He also will develop strategies for capital structure and work with investor stakeholders to achieve optimal financing.

Peterson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Wagner College, Staten Island, NY. He has more than 28 years of progressive experience and is a licensed certified public accountant in New Jersey.

Peterson is a member of the New Jersey State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, for which he previously served as board member, treasurer and secretary.

Retirement Unlimited names Michele Johnson vice president of human resources

Michele Johnson
Michele Johnson

Michele Johnson has been named vice president of human resources for Roanoke, VA-based senior living community management company Retirement Unlimited Inc.

Johnson joined RUI in 2016 and previously was corporate director of human resources. She has 10 years of human resources in both the medical and retail industries. 

RUI has 10 communities throughout Virginia that offer independent living, assisted living and memory care as well as several active development projects.

LifeSpire of Virginia welcomes Robert Wilbanks as new VP of IT

Robert Wilbanks
Robert Wilbanks

Robert Wilbanks has been named to the newly created position of vice president of information technology at Richmond, VA-based LifeSpire of Virginia. He leads LifeSpire’s information technology efforts and is responsible for all aspects of information technology, project management, systems analysis, cyber-security and business management pertaining to LifeSpire and its affiliates. 

Wilbanks has more than 18 years of experience. His technical skills include business continuity, networking and infrastructure design among others. He holds certifications in CCNA +Security, CISSP and MCSE Microsoft. Most recently, 

Wilbanks was information technology infrastructure manager with Langley Federal Credit Union. He also served in progressive leadership roles with Chesapeake Financial Shares in Virginia and Rancho Physical Therapy in California. 

Waterton hires Stella Pappas as VP of investor relations

Stella Pappas
Stella Pappas

Stella Pappas has been hired as a vice president of investor relations on national real estate investor and operator Waterton’s Chicago-based investor relations team. Waterton has a controlling interest in the Pathway to Living senior living operating company.

Pappas brings more than 15 years of real estate investment, acquisition and asset management experience to the role and will work to manage the firm’s investor and consultant relations and develop new client relationships for the firm’s senior housing, multifamily and hotel strategies.

Pappas formerly was a director, capital markets, at Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, now part of JLL. There, she was responsible for originating, structuring and closing equity and debt placement transactions nationwide. She arranged more than $1 billion in equity and debt transactions at the firm over the past year.

Before to HFF, Pappas worked for Allstate Investments and Tremont Realty Capital, where she was involved with sourcing, structuring and investing in assets both in fund format and direct joint ventures. During her time there, she arranged more than $2 billion in equity and debt transactions.

Pappas has an undergraduate degree from DePaul University and is pursuing her MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

LifeSpire of Virginia welcomes Derek Meyer as corporate director of construction management

Derek Mayer
Derek Mayer

Derek Meyer has been named corporate director of construction management at Richmond, VA-based LifeSpire of Virginia. In the role, he is responsible for oversight and direction of construction, expansion and renovation of all LifeSpire communities. He succeeds Stan Patterson, who is retiring.

Meyer has more than 10 years of experience in progressive leadership roles with the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and Urban Core Construction. He has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech, and he is pursuing an MBA degree from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

Retirement Unlimited names Mohamed Tarawneh corporate director of culinary experience

Mohamed Tarawneh
Mohamed Tarawneh

Mohamed Tarawneh has been named corporate director of culinary experience for Roanoke, VA-based senior living community management company Retirement Unlimited Inc.

Tarawneh has 15 years of culinary expertise. He has been with RUI since 2012 and recently placed first in the Senior Dining Association’s 2019 Culinary Showdown. Before his promotion, he was executive chef and then senior executive chef at RUI’s Heatherwood Community in Burke, VA.

United Methodist Communities names Russell Nagy corporate director of plant operations

Russell Nagy has been appointed to the position of corporate director of plant operations at Neptune, NJ-based United Methodist Communities.

In this role, he oversees and directs the maintenance, housekeeping and laundry associates at 13 statewide locations. Among his duties, Nagy ensures the efficiency and continuity of services among the plants. He reports to President and CEO Larry Carlson.

Skilled in the operation of commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning; plumbing; electrical; and life safety systems, Nagy holds two emergency management certificates and a low pressure boiler operators licenses (Black Seal). His experience includes successful New Jersey Department of Health, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and Occupational Safety and Health Administration surveys and inspections.

Amavida names Catherine Cruikshank-Eberle director of assisted living and memory care

Catherine Cruikshank-Eberle
Catherine Cruikshank-Eberle

Catherine Cruikshank-Eberle has been named director of assisted living and memory care at Amavida, an independent living, assisted living and memory care community in Fort Myers, FL. The community was developed the real estate development, investment and management firm Quadrum Senior Living Management.

Cruikshank-Eberle is overseeing the Vistas and Meadows, Amavida’s assisted living and memory care divisions, and supporting Amavida’s core philosophy of resort-style care that combines hospitality and senior living.

She has a master’s degree in geriatric administration, and her doctoral studies in gerontology focus on Alzheimer’s disease, with an interest in behaviors and family dynamics. She has more than two decades of experience in the fields of assisted living and dementia.

Previously, Cruikshank-Eberle was director of education for the Alzheimer’s Association, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, where she also was regional program director and program specialist for Lee and Collier counties.

Masonic Village announces three appointments

Masonic Village, Elizabethtown, PA, has hired Mike Rowe as executive director, Brendan Degenhart as director of mission review, and Matthew Mayo as assistant executive director and nursing home administrator.

Rowe previously was executive director of Patriots Colony Life Plan / Continuing Care Community in Williamsburg, VA. He has an undergraduate degree from Florida State University and a master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Degenhart previously was chief financial officer at Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. He has an undergraduate degree from Bloomsburg University and a master’s degree from Penn State University.

Mayo previously was nursing home administrator for ManorCare Laureldale in Berks County, PA. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from York College of Pennsylvania, York, PA.

Wildewood Downs announces Amy McCauley as new executive chef

Amy McCauley
Amy McCauley

Amy McCauley has been named executive chef at Wildewood Downs, a Columbia, SC, retirement community owned and operated by Senior Living Communities.

McCauley brings years of upscale dining experience and a passion to her new position. “I am very excited to start this journey and build the kitchen of Wildewood Downs into the best restaurant, where everyone wants to go eat,” she said.

McCauley began her career in St. Louis but has lived in the Columbia, SC, area for the past two years.

Florida Senior Living Association names Heather Conley as director of marketing and membership

Heather Conley
Heather Conley

Heather Conley, MBA, has joined the Florida Senior Living Association as director of marketing and membership. She will work to enhance the membership experience and growing profile of FSLA, which serves professionally managed senior living communities offering independent, assisted living and memory care services.

Conley brings to the role more than 20 years of experience in communications, marketing and training in diverse areas from environmental protection, elections administration and career and technical education.

A graduate of the University of Florida, Florida State University and University of South Florida, she has pursued degrees in finance and visual arts as well as an MBA in international business and marketing.

Business school named for Werner and Colleen Nistler of Touchmark

Werner and Colleen Nistler
Werner and Colleen Nistler

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education has voted to name the University of North Dakota College of Business & Public Administration after donors Werner and Colleen Nistler. The school will be known as the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration.

Werner Nistler is founder and chairman, and Colleen Nistler is vice chairperson, of Beaverton, OR-based Touchmark, which owns 14 full-service senior living communities in 10 states and one Canadian province.

The couple donated the lead gift toward construction of a new college building on the Grand Forks campus, which “launched this project into high gear and helped convince state lawmakers to offer a $20 million matching fund as a private/public partnership,” said DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.

Werner Nistler earned an accounting degree from UND in 1968.

The Nistlers also formed the Touchmark Foundation, a nonprofit foundation with the purpose of enhancing the well-being of older adults by providing nursing scholarships to aspiring students, distributing food boxes to seniors and families in need, and funding university-based research. They also have owned medical records processing companies and several other businesses, according to the university.

The university has a goal of breaking ground on the business college building by fall 2020.

Capital Senior Living President and CEO Kimberly S. Lody named Texas Trailblazer by The Family Place

Capital Senior Living President and CEO
Kimberly S. Lody

Dallas-based Capital Senior Living CEO and President Kimberly S. Lody will receive the Texas Trailblazer Award Oct. 4 from local family services agency The Family Place at the nonprofit’s 24th annual awards luncheon.

The award recognizes those who create positive change in the community. This year, it will be presented to six female CEOs of Dallas-based companies.

“I am humbled to be chosen for this prestigious honor and gratified to be in the company of several successful Dallas-based leaders who have significantly and positively impacted their organizations, industries and the Dallas community,” Lody said in a statement. “The Family Place’s mission of empowerment and support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is so vitally important to our Dallas community. Each day, the organization makes a difference in the lives of so many through its programs and efforts. Being chosen for the Texas Trailblazer Award is a distinct and heartening honor, and I deeply thank The Family Place for this recognition as well as its relentless commitment to assist those in need throughout Dallas.”

Netsmart names Dennis Jakubowicz vice president

Dennis Jakubowicz
Dennis Jakubowicz

Dennis Jakubowicz has been appointed vice president and general manager of Overland Park, KS-based Netsmart’s senior living business unit. 

As vice president, Jakubowicz will be responsible for cultivating client relationships.

He has more than 30 years of healthcare experience, including with the senior living and pharmacy industries. He previously was senior vice president at MatrixCare for more than six years. He has led sales and business development initiatives for several pharmaceutical and pharmacy technology organizations.

Jakubowicz has an undergraduate degree from Lycoming College.

Send personnel news to Editor Lois A. Bowers. Please include a high-quality color photo.