Movers & Shakers — People and Positions for March, Part I

This month kicks off March Madness for NCAA men’s basketball—and it’s also been busy for the senior living industry, with promotions, new hires, and special recognition for nearly 20 professionals.

Looking for a new job, or even a new career? Check out senior housing employment opportunities nationwide on SHN’s job board, with EcumenInverness at Home, and Blake Management Group among the senior living employers who are currently hiring.

Employers: Take advantage of our job board to look for some of the best and brightest in the industry. Post a job on the SHN jobs board for less than $1 per day, and attract local and national candidates through our system that leverages these postings throughout the SimplyHired network. Post a job today.


Neeraj Mahani Name Executive Chef at Devonshire at PGA National

Neeraj Mahani recently joined Devonshire at PGA National as the community’s Executive Chef. He officially began work in his new role on Wednesday, February 12.

As the Executive Chef at Devonshire, Mahani will oversee the culinary production at the community’s five dining venues. These venues provide daily service of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sunday brunch, and operations for resident events and banquets. At Devonshire, Mahani will manage a dedicated staff of 25 chefs and five kitchen stewards. With over 60 staff in total, the culinary team is the largest team at the community.


Mahani has more than 22 years of culinary experience in the international hospitality industry. Prior to joining Devonshire, he had been an International Associate (Culinary) and Area Chef for The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. since 1999. Prior to that position, he worked at The Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi, India in a variety of roles from 1990-1999 including as Chef in Charge, Senior Sous Chef, and as Senior Chef de partie.

Mahani received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Delhi University in India. He was also awarded a three-year diploma in Hotel Management, Catering Technology, and Applied Nutrition by the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology in New Delhi. Additionally, Mahani completed a University Series Advanced Leadership Program through a partnership between The Breakers Hotel, Cornell University, and Penn State University.

Kindred Healthcare Appoints C. Scott Blanchette as Chief Information Officer

Kindred Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:KND) recently announced the appointment of C. Scott Blanchette as Chief Information Officer, effective February 17, 2014. He succeeds Richard E. Chapman, who retired effective December 31, 2013.

Blanchette has more than 20 years of information technology experience, including serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Vanguard Health Systems, where he was Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer since 2011. Blanchette also served as Chief Information Officer for Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWAY), a provider of well-being improvement solutions. In addition, he held senior management positions at Stanford University Medical Center and Ernst & Young.

He received the 2013 MIT Sloan CIO of the Year Award, a recognition that honors Chief Information Officers who lead their organizations to deliver business value and innovative use of information technology in exceptional ways.

Love & Company Hires Matt Bekelja as Director of Strategic Marketing, Sales

CCRC and healthcare community marketing firm Love & Company recently announced that Matt Bekelja has been hired as director of strategic marketing & sales. Bekelja brings more than a decade of marketing and sales experience to his role, as well as a deep understanding of the senior living field.

Across his career in senior living, Bekelja has worked closely with dozens of senior communities across the country to build census and generate positive ROI. As director of strategic marketing and sales, he will develop and oversee client marketing and sales programs, while directing the Love & Company account service team to provide the best possible day-to-day client service.

GlynnDevins Promotes Randy Eilts to VP of Public Relations

GlynnDevins recently announced the promotion of Randy Eilts to vice president of public relations for the marketing and advertising agency, which specializes in senior living. In this new role, Eilts will be responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of public relations strategies.

Eilts has more than 30 years of experience in the communications industry, and has an extensive background in television news reporting and strategic communications planning. Eilts joined GlynnDevins in December 2003 and specializes in strategic communications planning, crisis management, social media, media relations and event planning. Eilts has also been a member of the Kansas City PRSA chapter for 10 years.

GlynnDevins Promotes Teresa Carter to VP of Production Operations & Project Management

GlynnDevins recently announced the promotion of Teresa Carter to vice president of production operations & project management where she will be responsible for coordinating agency resources to deliver client work on time and on budget.

Carter has more than 25 years of work experience and is a 15-year veteran of GlynnDevins. She is responsible for building the in-house direct mail group from the ground up, and has developed strong internal practices for the associates she leads.

NAHB Appoints Jim Chapman to 50+ Housing Council Board of Trustees

Atlanta, Ga.-based developer and builder Jim Chapman, president of Jim Chapman Communities and Jim Chapman Fine Homes, was recently appointed to serve as Second Vice Chairman of the 50+ Housing Council Board of Trustees of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Chapman recently served as the Chairman of the Board of the Atlanta 50+ Housing Council of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association (GAHBA) and currently is on the Board of the 50+ Housing Council for the National Association of Home Builders.

The 50+ Housing Council serves the special needs of NAHB members involved in all aspects of 50+ housing, including design, development, finance, ownership, management, and sales and marketing.

Chapman is also one of the Founding Members of the ALL Home Program in Georgia, a voluntary certification program launched in 2013 by the Home Builders Association of Georgia (HBAG) that helps builders in Georgia decide to provide and certify the accessibility so many homebuyers are looking for. The focus of the ALL Home Program is to promote consumer choices for universal design, accessibility, visibility features and innovative design options that can be incorporated in new and renovated housing, benefiting people of all ages and abilities.

Lutheran Homes Society Announces Leadership Changes

Lutheran Homes Society has announced several changes to its leadership team, including the promotion of Steve Dumke to Senior Vice President for Youth, Housing & Community Services; Angela Powell to Vice President for Long-Term Care Services; and Lorinda Schalk to Vice President for Finance & Accounting/Chief Financial Officer.

In his new role as Senior Vice President for Youth, Housing & Community Services, Dumke is responsible for the planning, designing and oversight of care and services through a collaborative process with organizational leaders that is reflected in long-range, strategic, and operational plans for all youth, family, housing, and community services ministries. He has been with LHS for nine years, serving in numerous capacities, including Vice President for Long-Term Care Services and Executive Director at both the Lutheran Home at Napoleon and Lutheran Memorial Home in Sandusky care campuses.

Dumke graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Toledo (UT). He is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.

In her role as Vice President for Long-Term Care Services, Powell is responsible for leading and directing initiatives of all four long-term care campuses that deliver quality resident care and support services identified in each service delivery area. She has been with LHS since 2002 in various positions, including Executive Director at Lutheran Memorial Home and, most recently, as Executive Director of Lutheran Village of Wolf Creek in Holland, Ohio.

Powell graduated from UT with a double major in human resource management and organizational development. She is an LNHA and a certified Professional in Human Resources.

As CFO, Schalk is responsible for the financial and fiscal management aspects of LHS ministry operations. She provides leadership and coordination in the business planning, accounting, and budgeting efforts of the organization. She has been employed with LHS for 11 years in various capacities, including Controller, Director of Compliance and, most recently, as Vice President for Youth, Housing & Community Services.

Schalk earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UT. She worked in public accounting for six years prior to coming to Lutheran Homes Society. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and Certified Aging Services Professional (CASP).

Newcastle Hires Justine Cheng as CFO, Treasurer, and COO

On February 27, 2014, Newcastle’s Board of Directors appointed Justine Cheng as Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer, effective as of March 4, 2014.

Cheng joins Newcastle (NYSE:NCT) with more than 16 years of finance and banking experience. Most recently, Cheng served as a Managing Director in Fortresss Private Equity group, where she was responsible for various financial services, infrastructure and lodging, leisure & gaming investments.

Prior to joining Fortress 10 years ago, Cheng held various investment banking and private equity roles at UBS, Credit Suisse and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. She received a BA in Economics and a Masters in International and Public Affairs from Columbia University.

Essex Communities Hires Nicole Rich as Executive Director

Essex Communities recently announced the hiring of Nicole Rich as Executive Director of The Reserve of Geneva. Essex Communities is a nearly 40 year-old Omaha, Nebraska based developer and operator of senior living communities. The Reserve of Geneva is a seven year-old independent living community located in the greater Chicago metropolitan area that in 2013 won the Kane County Chronicle’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Retirement Facility in Kane County.

Rich joins the Essex Communities team with more than 15 years of senior housing experience in the Chicagoland market. She has a diverse senior housing background, including former leadership positions with Spectrum Retirement Communities, Covenant Retirement Communities, and Friendship Village of Schaumburg. Nicole holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Mankato State University, and has earned certifications in senior activities planning and sales.

SSMG Hires Shana Robertson as Regional Marketing Manager for East Tenn.

Senior Solutions Management Group (SSMG), a leading provider of superior-quality senior care across the Southeast, today announced the hiring of Shana Robertson as its Regional Marketing Manager for East Tennessee.

Robertson comes to SSMG with an extensive background in assisted living operations, community outreach, and marketing after working for the past eight years as an administrator at facilities in Tennessee and North Carolina. She brings a successful record of ensuring excellent care for residents, of providing a stimulating and exciting quality of life in a clean and well-maintained environment, and of helping build strong, trusting relationships with residents, their families, and staff.

As Regional Marketing Manager for East Tennessee, Robertson will support SSMG group communities including, but not limited to, Jamestowne Assisted Living Center in Kingston and River Oaks Place in Lenoir City, and assist in their census growth through community awareness and other healthcare provider partnerships.

Erickson CCRC Names Paulette Tansill 2014 Leader of the Year

Charlestown retirement community has named Paulette Tansill, Director of Human Resources, the recipient of its 2014 Erickson Living Leadership Award for Charlestown. This award recognizes her compassion, intelligence and values that make her a driven leader at Charlestown.

In her 12 years supporting the community, Tansill has never failed to demonstrate quality decision making and passion for the mission. She is a champion for the employees of Charlestown and is said by her colleagues to be fearless in her mentoring and teaching.

Tansill, according to Charlestown Executive Director Clara Parker, is a strong contributor to her peer team and is often sought out as a team led for her comprehensive knowledge of Human Resources policy as well as her commitment to a compassionate and people-centered approach

Tansill, who holds degrees from West Virginia University, lives in Catonsville, MD, with her husband Mel and their four cats: Charlie, Molly, Oscar, and Mr. Socks.

Abbey Delray South Names Carey Benzenberg Culinary Director

Abbey Delray South recently announced Carey Benzenberg as the new culinary director of the senior living community located in Delray Beach.

“One of my main focuses is going to be listening to residents’ preferences and desires,” Benzenberg said. “It will allow us to fine-tune the menu and all the options residents have, so we can create the best possible dining experience.”

As the culinary director, Benzenberg will oversee the food service department, plan menus based on seasonal and locally available produce, organize private parties and special events, as well as assess and evaluate policies and procedures within the dining and kitchen area.

Benzenberg has more than 20 years of culinary experience, and previously worked as the director of dining and director of culinary & nutritional services at two different senior living communities. Prior to that, he served as director of dining and executive chef at Fine Host Services. He studied at the Atlantic Vocational School for the Culinary Arts and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

Pathway Health Names Peter Schuna President & COO

Pathway Health, a post-acute consulting services, interim management and education company, recently announced that Peter B. Schuna has been named president and chief operating officer. Under Schuna’s leadership, Pathway Health will provide clients with enhanced products and services by using both traditional and technology-based solutions to its growing client base.

In light of increased regulatory scrutiny and technology-based initiatives facing post-acute providers, Pathway Health will be launching new programs and services to assist post-acute care providers manage clinical, regulatory and reimbursement challenges, beginning with the recent launch of its Long Term Care-focused ICD-10 and its MDS Coordinator training programs.

Healthsense Names Greg Melsen as Chief Financial Officer

Healthsense, Inc., a provider of technology-enabled care solutions for the senior care continuum, announced recently that Greg Melsen has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer.

Melsen most recently served as Vice President Finance, Treasurer, and CFO of Techne Corporation, a publicly held developer and manufacturer of biotechnology products sold to biomedical researchers and clinical research laboratories. Melsen previously held senior finance positions with PLATO Learning, American Medical Systems, AVECOR Cardiovascular and PACE Analytical. Prior to that, he spent 19 years with Deloitte & Touche, including nine years as an audit partner. Melsen is also a cofounder of PlaCor, Inc., a former development-stage company with proprietary technology for measuring the effects of anti-platelet drugs.

Melsen, who holds a Bachelor degree from St. John’s University (Collegeville, Minn.), brings 40 years of finance and management experience to his new position. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

Fla. Assisted Living Group Hires Shaddrick Haston as CEO

The Florida Assisted Living Association (FALA), the state trade group for the assisted living industry, has named Shaddrick A. Haston, Esq, as its new chief executive officer.

Selected from a national candidate pool, Haston is currently Manager of the Agency for  Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) Assisted Living Unit, responsible for the licensure of assisted living facilities, adult family care homes and adult day care centers for the State of  Florida.

When he assumes the CEO role on March 21, 2014, Haston will oversee FALA’s $1.3 million  budget and seven staff members under the direction of the president and board of directors, including the delivery of products and services to FALA’s growing base of constituents. As liaison between the board of directors and FALA staff, Haston will support each to foster growth and achievement of the organization’s ambitious strategic plan. He will also oversee FALA’s foundation, the Florida Assisted Living Education and Research Foundation (FALERF)  and also the direction of FALPAC.

Haston’s expertise in Administrative law, Healthcare law and the legislative process stems from his current extensive experience, through his work for AHCA’s General Counsel’s Office in Tallahassee and as a Felony Attorney in the Office of the Public Defender in Orlando. He  has a well-rounded background in strategy and management, and has a strong reputation as a dynamic leader who transforms good organizations into great ones.

Haston holds a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Southern  University Law Center. He has a Bachelor of Health Science degree from Campbell University. Haston was a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy and served in the Operation Enduring Freedom in the Persian Gulf. He is married and father to four children.

Springpoint Senior Living Promotes Dianne Drum to Director of Home Care Division

Springpoint Senior Living, New Jersey’s leading senior living provider, has expanded into home health care services with a new division called “Springpoint at Home,” with Dianne Drum tapped as director.

Springpoint at Home offers home care services designed to enhance health, well-being and quality of life. From help with errands and shopping to personal assistance and 24-hour live-in care, Springpoint at Home works with seniors and their families to create a customized care plan that addresses changing needs.

Launching this month, the service is being offered first to residents of Springpoint’s continuing care retirement communities in New Jersey. These are Meadow Lakes in East Windsor, Monroe Village in Monroe Township, Winchester Gardens in Maplewood, Stonebridge at Montgomery in Skillman, The Atrium at Navesink Harbor in Red Bank and Crestwood Manor in Whiting. Next is a planned rollout to non-residents who live in Springpoint’s market areas.

Springpoint at Home is accredited by the Joint Commission, the nation’s leading healthcare accrediting organization. This accreditation is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality and compliance with the highest standards of excellence in the health care industry.

Drum, a resident of Ocean Township, has been with Springpoint for seven years in several supervisory nursing positions. She was named to her new position in October, and has been responsible for launching and overseeing the new home care division.

Erickson Community Promotes 3 Staff Members

Wind Crest retirement community, managed by Erickson, has announced the following staff promotions:

Andy Johannesman is the new Resident Life Manager. For the past two years Johannesman has served as Rehab Manager overseeing both outpatient therapy department and the Mill Vista Lodge continuing care neighborhood therapy team. In this new role he will provide leadership support for Community Resources, Social Work, Pastoral Ministries, Wellness, and Rehab.

Kristen King is the new Philanthropy Manage. King has been an integral part of the Sales team for the past three years. She has prior experience in doing philanthropy and has shown an amazing ability to build relationships with residents, staff, volunteers and the greater community. She will work to grow and expand Wind Crest’s philanthropic efforts both internally and beyond the gates. In this capacity, King will also oversee the volunteer program.

Aaron Hart is the new Memory Care Manager. Hart started with Wind Crest 6 years ago in the Operations Associate program where he rotated through several departments his first year. For the past several years hehas been a facilities manager, responsible for supporting the Security and Transportation teams. He has also supported and lead many risk management programs and has served as the Erickson Living Peer Leader for the security team.

Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest Names Torsten Hirche new President and CEO

Torsten Hirche will join the organization as the president and CEO as of March 31, the company announced.

To his new role, Hirche brings more than 13 years of executive experience including ten years in the senior living business. He will oversee the strategic direction and growth of PRCN and its three communities: Park Shore, Exeter House, and Skyline at First Hill.

“I am honored to be joining PRCN as president and CEO at this exciting time,” Hirche said. “PRCN has long been a leader in serving seniors in the Pacific Northwest and I am very proud to have the opportunity to help build on that tradition and continue to grow the organization and fulfill its mission of excellence in senior living.”

Currently, Hirche serves as senior executive director at Oakmont Senior Living in Santa Rosa, Calif. He has also held senior executive roles with Pacific Retirement Services in Medford, Oregon.

Lifespace Communities names Sloan Bentley as New President and CEO

Lifespace communities has announced the appointment of Sloan Bentley as new president and CEO to succeed retiring Scott Harrison.

Under Harrison’s leadership, the company became self-managed, moving from nine separate CCRCs to an enterprise of 12 and now the seventh largest nonprofit senior living provider system, according to the LeadingAge Ziegler 100.

“It has been an honor and privilege to lead Lifespace Communities,” Harrison said. “Sloan will be surrounded by some of the most talented colleagues in the senior living field, coupled with an organization committed to excellence and providing vital seniors everything they need for satisfying lives.”

Bentley brings nearly three decades of experience in senior living and health care, including past positions with top-level leadership with ABHOW and most recently as president of Seniority, Inc., a wholly owned ABHOW subsidiary providing management, sales and marketing to senior living organizations across the nation.