The largest nonprofit senior living organization in the country has a chief executive for the first time in its history.
National Senior Campuses (NSC) named Bruce Beardsley as its new CEO on Tuesday. He will be focused in part on creating a future-focused strategy for the organization, which could involve new and more affordable continuing care retirement community (CCRC) models developed with development and operating partner Erickson Living, he told Senior Housing News.
He was previously chair of the Springfield, Virginia-based organization’s budget and finance committee, and its strategic planning committee.
Beardsley has an extensive background in long-term care, from senior housing to skilled nursing. Prior to joining NSC’s board, he was a principal at Next Step Healthcare where he served an advisory role for a European fund manager seeking investment opportunities in U.S. senior housing. He spent 15 years at Harborside Healthcare where he rose through the ranks to become senior vice president of acquisitions.
NSC is the largest nonprofit senior living organization on the 2019 LeadingAge Ziegler 200 list of nonprofit operators. It has a portfolio of 16 large-scale continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) in nine states, which it governs in a business relationship with Catonsville, Maryland-based developer and operator Erickson Living. The campuses total 19,645 units.
NSC discussed the possibility of naming a CEO over the past two years. But those talks took on a serious tone within the past six months, Beardsley told Senior Housing News. The organization’s governance and internal affairs committee took the lead in searching for a CEO, and identified Beardsley early in the process.
His leadership roles on the budget and finance and strategic planning committees, his background, and his understanding of NSC’s board as one that actively charts the course of the organization made him a natural fit for the role.
“It came together in a mutual fashion,” Beardsley said.
Bearsley’s immediate goals will be to continue the relationship with Erickson, provide exemplary services for its residents as well as develop new strategies to address the upward pressures, changes and growth within the senior living industry. Two key challenges he identified are labor pressures and affordability for future residents entering the senior living space.
On the former issue, Beardsley said that NSC’s scale and relationship with Erickson allows it to attract good skilled workers. Erickson also has measures in place to gauge staff satisfaction and move them up the career ladder. Employees are surveyed regularly to gauge job satisfaction, and issues are responded to in a fast, transparent matter.
Regarding affordability, Beardsley said NSC and Erickson are exploring alternative and hybrid structures to its existing entrance fee CCRC model, to help future residents preserve their nest eggs as their acuities progress along the care continuum.
“From a demand standpoint, the seniors looking for this lifestyle are growing rapidly. We want to provide it to them, but in a manner where they don’t spend down their assets,” he said.
Beardsley will also be the conduit between NSC’s board and various committees. His experience chairing two committees made him realize that most of the committees had overlapping objectives, but were historically siloed.
“We can improve communication barriers that may exist,” he said.
Erickson also weighed in on the appointment.
“At such an important time in the industry’s history, it’s exciting to work with those who also have such a strong commitment to providing the highest standard of services and care to seniors,” Erickson Living CEO R. Alan Butler said in a statement.
Butler was unavailable for further comment to SHN.