Solera Builds Out Team to Support Growing Pipeline

Solera Senior Living announced a slew of new hires this week as it scales its organizational structure to handle a growing pipeline of new developments.

That experience working with institutional capital dovetails with Solera’s growth and its partnerships with developers such as Chicago-based McCaffery Interests, which broke ground last month on a $75 million, 135-unit community in Kensington, Maryland. Solera and another Chicago developer, Condor Partners, are developing a 163-unit community in Evanston, Illinois.

Overall, Solera’s portfolio includes nine communities under management or in development, and the provider is pursuing a multi-brand strategy as it gains further scale in the years ahead.

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The Denver-based senior living operator is leaving no stone unturned as it adds talent and is looking within and outside the industry for candidates who can contribute immediately, Solera Executive Vice President of Strategy and Operations Jerry Taylor told Senior Housing News.

Notably, Solera hired Julie Heiberger as controller. She will be responsible for all accounting operations. Heiberger has extensive experience handling accounting operations for real estate firms, particularly with multifamily developers and operators. Prior to joining Solera, she was assistant controller with Chicago-based residential firm Laramar Group, which manages properties across the country for clients including AIG, PNC Bank, and Liberty Mutual.

“[Heiberger] will be another resource to ensure that we’re a fully integrated company, as we’ve always been,” Taylor said.

Solera announced three other strategic hires:

  • Tyler Trum will assume duties as executive director at Aspyre Rock Creek, a 64-unit memory care community managed by Solera in Fort Collins, Colorado. He has a masters degree in health care administration and has extensive experience with large health systems.
  • Cara O’Connor is the new director of community development at Modena Cherry Creek, a 96-unit assisted living and memory care facility in Denver opening in early 2020. O’Connor is an industry veteran with stops as an executive director at Morningstar Senior Living and LifeWell Senior Living.
  • Daria Penner joins Solera as operations coordinator. A recent graduate of the University of Arizona, she was most recently with HR outsourcing firm Businessolver and interned in the business operations division at Pepsico’s Denver office.

“We’ve identified some quality talent and we’re looking forward to getting the team built,” Taylor said.

The hires of Trum and Penner are notable as they come from outside the long-term care continuum, but they possessed intangibles that Taylor and Solera CEO Adam Kaplan sought. Trum is ready to become more engaged in a person-centric industry like senior living, and Penner’s father has deep connections in senior housing and skilled nursing, which gives her a foundation on senior housing basics, Taylor told SHN.

Kaplan himself has family roots in senior living. His father, Bill Kaplan, co-founded Chicago-based Senior Lifestyle Corporation, one of the largest providers in the nation. Adam Kaplan was an executive there until he left to found Solera in 2016

“We want to focus on [people] who have the skillset and values that meshed with the culture that we encompass at Solera, that we can help train on the seniors housing side but would be a contributor from day one,” he said.

Taylor, Kaplan and Heiberger are also studying Solera’s markets to identify more talent as its team grows. They do not want to limit themselves to people with strictly senior housing experience, and will make strategic hiring decisions as Solera’s portfolio grows.

“We’re in a good place for what we have in the pipeline,” Taylor said.

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