Harbor Retirement Associates (HRA) has hired a former senior vice president of operations at Senior Lifestyle Corp., with the senior living veteran leading the company’s operations.
The Vero Beach, Florida-based senior living operator on Wednesday named Karin Bateman to the role of COO. The former SLC executive started her new role with HRA last month. She succeeds previous COO Kim Lewis, who joined the company in 2018.
In her new role, Bateman will oversee management of the company’s 37 HarborChase communities in 14 states and more on the way. And she is focused in the short-term on improving and expanding the company’s hospitality-focused operations with regard to dining and beauty salons.
“[We are] looking at growing those platforms, especially in light of the service changes that we’ve experienced as an industry post-Covid,” Bateman told Senior Housing News.
Like nearly all other senior living operations leaders in 2022, she is also focusing on recruiting and retaining workers, which has “become more of a challenge” this year.
HRA communities feature five different dining venues, ranging from fine-dining steakhouses to more casual bistros. But with such a keen focus on food quality, the company is grappling with cost inflation in areas such as shipping and food. As such, efficiency in operations is top of mind for Bateman.
“We’re constantly finding ways to repurpose various food products,” she said. “But I also think it’s exciting because it’s challenging us to think out of the box.”
At SLC, Bateman focused on new developments and marked the openings of 25 communities in the last five years. And she will continue that focus on growth in her new role at HRA.
The company currently has two active builds underway for communities in Boynton Beach, Florida, set to open in December; and Shaker Heights, Ohio, which is flagged to open in February of 2023, Bateman said.
The company also has a handful of other projects in its pipeline, though she noted that they “aren’t inked yet.”
As the company grows, Bateman said it will look to only open around two communities per year to ensure they lease up and operate smoothly.
“We really focus on quality when we’re growing, not just quantity,” Bateman said.
Bateman joins HRA at a time of renewal and reflection. Last year, HRA CEO Sarabeth Hanson told Senior Housing News that the company’s occupancy gains were a sign luxury senior living was still in high demand despite the Covid-19 pandemic and all it has wrought
Bateman’s hiring also comes as HRA celebrates 20 years as a company. Today, the operator has more than $150 million in annual revenue about 3,800 associates.