Willis O. “Bill” Serr II

Graceworks Lutheran Services CEO Willis O. Serr II to retire

Willis O. Serr II will retire as president and CEO of Dayton, OH-based Graceworks Lutheran Services on March 1 after more than 30 years at the nonprofit, faith-based social services organization. He has been CEO for 23 of those years.

Graceworks includes Bethany Village, a Dayton continuing care retirement community;  Graceworks Housing Services, affordable housing for older adults and disabled individuals; Graceworks at Home home care; and other services.

“Graceworks has played a central and meaningful role in my life … but now is the right time for me to phase into new roles and relationships,” he wrote to employees. “I believe that the most significant work that has been accomplished under my leadership has been the clearer definition and infusion of mission, values and vision into the organizational culture of Graceworks.”

Since Serr assumed the position of executive director in 1995, the number of Graceworks employees has grown from 706 to 1,171. Total assets have grown from $63 million to $169 million, and operating revenue has almost tripled.

The organization’s multiple service lines each have grown, too.

Graceworks Enhanced Living operates 40 community-based homes and two-day support programs serving 277 adults with intellectual disabilities in four Ohio counties. Graceworks Housing Services provides housing and service coordination for residents in 18 communities in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. And Graceworks at Home, launched in 2010, assists more than 1,800 people by providing skilled and nonskilled services.

In the past 10 years, under Serr’s leadership, the organization has completed a $60 million of expansion at Bethany Village in Centerville, OH. One of his last official responsibilities will be to dedicate the new Crescent Crossing assisted living suites at Bethany, set to open early next year, and a new expansion to the Village Fitness Center.

John Waits named president of Blake Management Group

John Waits has been named president of Jackson, MS-based Blake Management Group. In this role, he will oversee opportunities and growth and work with the CEO and chief financial officer.

Blake currently operates 14 properties — primarily assisted living or memory care but also independent living — in seven states and has plans to expand.

Waits comes to BMG from Mississippi-based Peterbilt Truck Centers, where he served was chief operating officer and CFO of the company. During his 18 years at Peterbilt, Waits oversaw a 900% expansion of the company, which grew from one dealership in Mississippi to 12 locations in the Southeast.

Waits earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Mississippi.

Cora Butler named chief wellness officer at Arrow Senior Living Management

Cora Butler, JD, RN, has joined St. Charles, MO-based Arrow Senior Living Management as the company’s first chief wellness officer. In addition to wellness and clinical programs, she will oversee regulatory compliance for the company.

Specializing in serving the middle-market senior living industry sector, Arrow manages approximately 1,450 independent living, assisted living and memory care units in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Florida and has more than 1,450 additional units under construction.

Over the past several years, the company has worked closely with Butler, who was president and CEO of HealthCore Value Advisors, a company she founded in 2014.  She assisted Arrow in implementing the predictive detection technology currently used in an effort to provide a safer, more secure and healthier environment for residents.

Before forming her company, Butler was director of commercial operations for Primaris, which at the time was Missouri’s federally designated quality improvement organization. Earlier in her career, she developed and implemented a comprehensive outcomes based managed care program for Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance Co. She also served as MEM’s first compliance officer.

In addition to a graduate certificate in healthcare corporate compliance from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Butler  earned her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and her undergraduate degree in health services management from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Misty Miller named chief wellness officer at Civitas Senior Living

Misty Miller has been named chief wellness officer at Fort Worth, TX-based Civitas Senior Living. It is a new position added to the wellness sector of Civitas’ senior living management company.

“As an organization, we value the wellness side of our business, and we felt it was pertinent to have a chief wellness officer to roll out and develop our Civitas wellness program for the future,” Civitas founder and CEO Wayne Powell said.

Miller has 17 years of experience in the field of health and wellness. She is the former vice president of clinical services for Seniority, where she also formerly was a regional health services director. Miller’s career also includes serving as director of nursing at The Plaza at Edgemere, a Senior Quality Lifestyles Corp. community in Dallas; director of nursing services at The Stayton at Museum Way, an SQLC community in Fort Worth; and assistant director of nursing at The Plaza at Edgemere.

She is a registered nurse and has a Master of Science degree with an emphasis on leadership and management.

Rick Westermann is marketing and sales VP, GeLynna Shaw is SVP of operations, for LCS rental division

Rick Westermann has joined Des Moine, IA-based LCS as vice president of marketing and sales, and GeLynna Shaw has joined as senior vice president of operations for the LCS rental division.

Westermann most recently worked at A Place for Mom, where he worked for almost five years, most recently as vice president of partner services. He also worked for Leisure Care for two years. Westermann holds an undergraduate degree in business management and history from Luther College.

Shaw comes from Brookdale Senior Living, where she worked for 18 years, most recently as senior vice president of operations support. She has an undergraduate degree in accounting from Tennessee Technological University.

“With a plan to open 17 new rental communities over the next three years, we want to ensure each achieves the level of success LCS is accustomed to across its portfolio,” Chris Bird, executive vice president and director of rental at LCS, said in a statement. “Rick and GeLynna have unique backgrounds, both with a national footprint, and will bring that expertise to LCS to continue to build our business.”

Westermann will oversee the sales force at LCS rental communities and all marketing and lead acquisition strategies, and he will nurture the sales process from prospective resident to move-in. Shaw will oversee day-to-day operations at all LCS rental communities, including the directors of operations management and regional operations managers.

The company’s core focus remains entrance-fee life plan communities, according to LCS President and CEO Joel Nelson. “In the next two to three years, our rental business will look much different than it does today,” however, he added. “We’re growing and calibrating our rental focus, and we’re building a team that will help us deftly navigate the opportunities ahead in senior living.”

LCS continues to see occupancy gains in its rental division that outpace 2018 industrywide averages, Bird said.

Liz Bush is transitioning to the position of senior vice president, director of integration and new development of rental at LCS. In this role, she will oversee owner relations and the integration of new rental properties with LCS systems, programs and processes.

Kurt Rahner named IT vice president at Kendal

Kurt Rahner has been promoted from director to vice president of information technology at Kennett Square, PA-based Kendal. Rahner succeeds Joe Savery, who has retired after more than 41 years of service to the Kendal system.

Rahner now leads several initiatives, including:

  • Systemwide migration to Microsoft Office 365 and enhancements to end-user support.
  • Strengthening information security controls to improve threat logging and incident response data analysis.
  • Collaborating with MatrixCare to plan a move to the cloud-based version of the application.
  • Defining metrics needed to implement an IT dashboard.

Rahner joined Kendal in 2015 in the newly created role of associate director for information technology. From 2005 to 2015, Rahner had been senior security architect and, more recently, senior systems architect, with Berkley Technology Services in Wilmington, DE.

Rahner has an undergraduate degree in computer science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a master’s degree in computer science from Villanova University. In 2011, he earned a master’s degree in business administration from Widener University.

Michele Dukes named corporate director of sales and marketing at Chancellor Health Care

Michele Dukes has been named corporate director of sales and marketing at Windsor, CA-based Chancellor Health Care, which has expanded through acquisition its portfolio of assisted living and memory care communities by almost 400 units, primarily in Southern California.

Dukes has managed the sales and marketing operations of retirement communities nationwide since the late 1980s.

Chancellor Health Care, established in 1992, offers independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing at eight communities in California, five in Oregon, one in Colorado and one in Maryland. Total units can accommodate 732 residents.

Kristen Curran-Brookham promoted director of resident programming at Integral Senior Living

Kristen Curran-Brookham has been named director of resident programming at Integral Senior Living, a newly created corporate support position.

In her new role, Curran-Brookham will oversee the implementation of ISL’s signature programs, including Vibrant Life, Elevate culinary and Generations memory care, which are offered in all communities. The company manages independent, assisted living and memory care properties throughout 18 states.

Curran-Brookham has more than 10 years of experience in the senior living industry and has been with ISL since 2012. Her previous roles at ISL include executive director, regional director of sales and marketing and regional director of resident care.

Martin Jan named executive director at Lutheran Services–Wolf Creek Campus

Martin Jan has been appointed executive director for the Genacross Lutheran Services-Wolf Creek Campus, a continuing care retirement community in Holland, OH.

He will be responsible for the day-to-day operations, community outreach and business development of the campus, which includes independent living, assisted living, short-term and long-term skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation services.

Jan has been a licensed nursing home administrator for 30 years and is licensed in both Ohio and Michigan. He was a regional director of operations for seven years in those states, and, most recently, he was administrator of Laurels of Toledo and executive director of a Promedica Monroe Skilled Nursing & Rehab in Monroe, MI. Jan has managed home health, hospice and other acute service teams.

Jan earned a Master of Science and Education degree from the University of Toledo, where he specialized in gerontology and healthcare management.

Lori Lutin named director of nursing at Primrose of Mishawaka

Lori Lutin has been hired as director of nursing for Primrose Retirement Community of Mishawaka, Mishawaka, IN. In this role, she will guide and oversee the overall care of residents and, in conjunction with Executive Director Leah Bennett, manage the nursing staff. She also will ensure compliance with all necessary regulations.

Lutin has a nursing degree from Ancilla College in Donaldson, IN. She brings 11 years of experience in cardiac and post-anesthesia settings with her to Primrose. The community has 36 independent living apartment homes, 40 assisted living apartment homes and eight townhome villas.

Robert Harwood joins Watercrest Lake Nona as community relations director

Robert Harwood has joined Watercrest Lake Nona, Lake Nona, FL, as community relations. The community offers 56 assisted living and 24 memory care residences.

Harwood specialized in retirement planning for insurance and financial services for more than 20 years before entering the senior living industry eight years ago. He is a certified executive director and certified assisted living manager.

Harwood previously has led his teams through the opening of new buildings and achieved 95% occupancy in nine months as a community relations director.

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