Brenda Bacon, John Erickson and Steven Vick will be inducted into the American Seniors Housing Association Senior Living Hall of Fame later this month at the organization’s annual meeting in Phoenix, ASHA announced Tuesday.

The Senior Living Hall of Fame recognizes “visionaries who have distinguished themselves through uncommon foresight and ground-breaking innovation” and who have an “unwavering commitment to community lifestyles that enhance choice, independence, dignity and personalized service,” ASHA said.

“We are very grateful to them and their commitment to senior living,” ASHA President David Schless said of this year’s honorees.

Brenda Bacon
Brenda Bacon

Bacon is president and CEO of Mt. Laurel, NJ-based Brandywine Living, where she leads a 30-community portfolio of senior living communities located across seven states, for which she raised $65 million in private equity.

She also chaired Argentum’s board from 2013 to 2015 and currently is a member of the board, where she advocates on behalf of the senior living profession, residents and their families.

“When Brenda Bacon founded Brandywine Living in 1996, it was a continuation of her long, distinguished record of public service,” Schless said.

After graduating from Hampton University and earning an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Bacon accepted an executive position at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Highlights of her public service career include serving as chief of management and planning, a cabinet-level position, under New Jersey Gov. James J. Florio from 1989 to 1993. And during President Bill Clinton’s first term, Bacon was on loan to the presidential transition team as co-chair for the transition of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

In addition, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appointed Bacon to the Rowan University Board of Trustees, and she was honored with the Virtua Health Humanitarian of the Year award. She also was a founding member of the Boys and Girls Club of Camden, where she served as a board member for several years and continues to advocate for the children of Camden, NJ.

Bacon also was elected and serves on the boards of directors for two companies on the New York Stock Exchange: FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm, and Hilton Grand Vacations.She was named to Savoy magazine’s 2021 Most Influential Black Corporate Directors list, which recognizes the achievements of directors of Fortune 1000 companies, and was recognized by McKnight’s as a Women of Distinction Hall of Honor inductee in 2019 and as a “notable newsmaker” as part of the McKnight’s 40 for 40 program in 2020.

John Erickson

Erickson developed 22 continuing care retirement community campuses serving more than 20,000 residents, and he introduced a full range of integrated medical services located on site, over the course of three decades at Erickson Retirement Communities, now known as Erickson Senior Living, beginning in the 1980s.

“John Erickson proved all the way back in the 1980s that seniors were drawn to the inherent value of campuses with scale and diversified healthcare services,” Schless said.

With the company’s economies of scale, rental rates were well within the reach of mid-America. As ASHA explained it, each campus was built out in phases. When it was finished, there were more than 1,500 residents, approximately seven restaurants, about 2.5 million square feet of space connected by indoor walkways, a medical center, fitness center, pool and hot tub, convenience store, creative arts studio, game rooms and classrooms, and a library. A transportation fleet kept residents connected beyond the Erickson campuses.

The healthcare component was a distinctive feature that set the Erickson communities apart from other retirement communities. A 65/35 split existed between approximately 400 assisted living units and SNF beds, respectively.

But employing a full-time staff of physicians at an on-campus clinic was unique. Scale and volume enabled Erickson to bring an entire range of medical services directly to residents. With a full complement of physicians, each doctor focused full attention on patients by scheduling only 16 appointments a day.

The roll-out of physician clinics led to the development of an electronic medical records system, a visionary move at the time. Backed by the data this system delivered, the provider piloted a three-year program that was the predecessor to Medicare Advantage plans.

As 2010 got underway, Erickson Retirement Communities transitioned to new ownership. Redwood Capital Investments acquired the group, and it operated as Erickson Living until 2021, when the name changed to Erickson Senior Living.

Erickson was recognized by McKnight’s as a “notable newsmaker” as part of the McKnight’s 40 for 40 program in 2020.

Steven Vick headshot
Steven Vick

Vick led three public assisted living companies and launched three private companies over the course of his career.

“Steven Vick had a long record of success over 30-some years, leading six different senior living organizations,” Schless said.

From the very beginning as the 1990s got underway, when assisted living emerged as a novel alternative to institutionalized care by providing a more traditional, home-like setting for older adults in need of support services, all the way through the next three decades, Vick has been widely recognized across senior living as one of its most astute and successful forerunners, according to ASHA.

Vick entered assisted living in 1991 as the co-founder of Sterling House. The company went public in 1995 and rode the crest of the assisted living boom by developing and operating more than 100 communities throughout the country.

Two years later, Sterling House merged with another publicly traded assisted living company, Alternative Living Services. This combination was the start of Alterra Healthcare Corp., which grew to almost 500 locations in 28 states with Vick serving as president. At one point during his time with Alterra, Vick, during a nine-month period, turned a monthly loss of $5 million to break-even, according to ASHA.

In early 2002, he was tapped to lead the post-bankruptcy turnaround at Assisted Living Concepts (now known as Enlivant). Overseeing 185 communities in 14 states, in just 120 days Vick turned a $200,000 monthly loss into positive cash flow, according to ASHA.

After the ALC shareholders opted to sell the company in 2004, Vick developed a business plan to build and operate 10 assisted living/memory care communities across Texas over the course of five years and sell them for $20 million. Signature Senior Living ultimately sold for $25 million.

And in what became his grand finale, Vick co-founded Pegasus Senior Living in 2018, eventually building the group to 38 properties in 12 states before retiring in 2021.

Vick, who started his career as a certified public accountant, also found the time to develop a software package for assisted living operators. Right Click was an integrated suite of programs that tracked marketing, financial and operational performance. He sold the company in 2014.

Fifth class

Members of the 2022 class join a total of 17 previous honorees inducted in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

This year’s honorees were chosen by the Senior Living Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which is chaired by former ASHA Chairman Larry Cohen, CEO of Trustwell Living. Committee members include McKnight’s Senior Living Editor Lois A. Bowers, Steve Monroe, Tim Mullaney and Matt Valley.

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