Reasons to Celebrate Mar29

Reasons to Celebrate

It’s been one year since most Yardi employees transitioned to remote work environments. One year since we anxiously attended virtual town hall meetings to learn the next steps. One year of navigating the blurred lines of our professional and personal lives before settling into a new normal. A lot has changed since then. Haphazard workspaces now have a more customized and personal feel. We’re reaching productivity goals and we’re all experts on Teams and Zoom. Our pets are accustomed to seeing more of us, and the novelty of sleeping on the keyboard has (mostly) worn off. Much has changed beyond office work as well. Many employees used their time in quarantine to set goals and embark on new personal journeys. Yardi Atlanta team members used Confluence to celebrate their one-year work from home journeys together. Quarantine journeys Employees posted images and shared stories depicting “How it started and how it’s going.” A few fun quarantine accomplishments include: hiking new trails growing a beard developing baking skills raised bed and container gardening sewing stuffed animals candle making woodworking and reupholstering heirloom furniture adopting pets, including sugar gliders pulling home design projects out of “DIY purgatory” Some stories were real heart warmers that demonstrate the power of family. “My Yardi family helped me purchase my first car!” announced MeaResea Homer, technical account manager. Homer (pictured, right) told colleagues that she was searching for a new car. It would be her first purchase, and she was stoked. “Amanda Carlisle recommended the salesman that she purchased her vehicle from. She got me in contact with him and I scheduled the appointment in late November. To help me out even more, our colleague Jody Borgemenke picked me up, took me to the dealership and supported me through the process. Pedro...

Bryan McCaleb Mar24

Bryan McCaleb

Bryan McCaleb, president of Sagora Senior Living, a Fort Worth, Texas-based Yardi client and operator of more than 30 properties, discusses how his company has handled two major challenges – the pandemic and severe weather – in excerpts from an interview originally published in Multi-Housing News. How would you describe 2020 from the perspective of a senior housing operator? McCaleb: The pandemic led us to introduce new safety protocols and change what our day-to-day routines looked like. Our teams came together to implement changes for the best protection of our residents and associates, and I feel like our organization is stronger than ever before. How has technology helped you during COVID-19? McCaleb: At all of our communities, we have communication stations set up and equipped with iPads where residents have the ability to schedule virtual visits with their loved ones. More seniors have taken to social media to keep up with their families, which has broadened their reach with grandchildren and out-of-state loved ones. How did you keep your residents safe during the recent severe weather conditions in Texas? McCaleb: Some communities experienced power outages, water outages, water leaks and/or boil-water orders. For these challenges, we relied on onsite generators for heat and power, bottled water for our residents, and constant communication with our residents and their family members. Our associates stayed at our communities when needed to ensure that our residents were safe, comfortable and cared for. Although communities in Texas and Oklahoma had damage, we are thankful that all of our residents and associates weathered the storm safely. What was the most difficult thing for you in the past 12 months? The most satisfying? McCaleb: The most difficult thing was seeing how COVID-19 affects people—even beyond health complications, such as emotional and financial...

#YardiLove Feb17

#YardiLove

Compassion takes on a lot of forms. Sometimes it’s the coworker who helps you troubleshoot an issue for a client. Other times, it’s like coworkers coming together to support a peer during their darkest hours. The Yardi Atlanta team recently celebrated a virtual Valentine’s Day that showcased compassion, love and camaraderie in their many forms. #YardiLove in Atlanta Organizers Michelle O’Neal and Carolyn Goldin encouraged employees to share their appreciation for their terrific teammates by visiting the office’s Confluence page. There, they could post Valentines “javascript style.” In the comments section, teammates left kind notes, GIFs and memes to brighten one another’s day. They could also post a picture of themselves with their favorite Yardi employee(s) or Valentine(s). The contest encouraged Yardi employees to celebrate togetherness even while they are apart. O’Neal explains, “I think we all are searching for ways to reconnect with our friends and colleagues.  Because Valentine’s Day is thought of mostly for love relationships, we thought we’d play off the relationship idea and swing it towards the relationships we have here at Yardi. We are a tight-knit culture that enjoys the social aspect.” The photo submissions showcased the creativity of Yardi Atlanta. They shared digital collages, screenshots of Teams meetings with fun backgrounds, wedding photos, as well as group pictures taken in past years. Each collaborative effort confirms that team spirit and Yardi’s corporate culture are alive and well, even in our remote work environment. Some employees opted to also share their images and kind words on social media under #YardiLove. Carolyn Goldin, consulting practices at Yardi said, “We wanted to share the #YardiLove especially because we haven’t connected with officemates who aren’t on our immediate teams in a while.” Participants were eligible to win Tango gift cards in a...

Black Innovators in Tech

The technology that you’re using to read this blog post was created in part by a black innovator. The smartphone that’s beside you and the streaming service that you use for your favorite shows are both the contributions of black scientists and mathematicians. This is astounding considering that only 1% of tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are black, per a recent report. African Americans made strong contributions to technological advancement throughout the Golden Age of Invention. They paved the way for, and participated in, the boom of Silicon Valley and subsequent tech hubs. We’ve compiled just a few tech powerhouses in this list, focusing on contributors to computing. Where would we be today without video conference calls? Better question: where would we be today without Marian Croak? Croak is the pioneer of Voice over IP, technology used to communicate via audio and video while using the internet. She holds more than 100 patents in VoIP technology with an additional 100 currently in review. Croak serves as vice president of Engineering at Google. High speed internet is also a household name thanks to Victor Lawrence, an electrical engineer and pioneer in global telecommunications. His contributions helped to bring greater accessibility to high-speed connections. Because of his work, small businesses and households have access to broadband, DSL, HDTV technologies and wireless data transfer. Additionally, his work has advanced data encoding and transmission, modem tech, chip design, ATM switching and protocols, as well as audio and video coding. In short, the U.S. economy might not have survived the pandemic without Lawrence. Ever heard of an electret microphone? You likely use one every day. James West invented the first practical electret microphone. It is used in many smartphones, cameras and digital recorders. What made his take on the electret microphone unique is that it uses a charged material instead of a cumbersome polarizing power supply. Inventor and engineer Otis Boykin was a tech master with range. He improved everything from common household items to military technologies. He held 28 patents and his electrical resistors are used in computing devices, missile guidance as well as pacemakers. His innovations resulted in safer and more efficient resistors, which promoted the mass affordability of electronic devices. Roy Clay stands among Silicon Valley’s earliest pioneers. His earliest notable work is as a research and development director with Hewlett-Packard (HP)’s computer division in the 1960s. He went on to create Rod-L Electronics, which is a world leader in developing electrical safety testing equipment. One invention includes dielectric withstand testers that protect personal computers from electrical surges. During the same time and practically down the street, Mark Dean was developing the earliest IBM PCs. He pioneered three of IBM’s nine original patents including the first gigahertz chip. We can also thank him for color PC monitors. (Do you remember when they were green and black? Yikes.) Dean and his partner Dennis Moeller created microcomputing systems with bus control for peripheral process devices. That means you can plug in speakers, disks drives and other peripheral items to ports on your desktop and laptop devices. As early as 1999, he launched development for a voice-activated tablet. Fast-forward and Dean is still a contributor to the industry as CTO for IBM Middle East and Africa. Paving the way for Clay and Dean was Frank Greene, a leading technologist responsible for high-speed computer systems in the early 1960s. He is also the founder of Technology Development Corp. and ZeroOne Systems, Inc. a venture capital firm for minoritized groups. Etta Falconer is another noteworthy technology trailblazer who dedicated much of her life to the advancement of marginalized groups. Falconer began her career as a mathematician and soon became one of the first black women to earn a master’s degree in Computer Science. She then dedicated herself to increasing the number of black women in mathematics and math-related careers by teaching at Spelman College, a historically black university in...

Dynamic Compassion

What do you do you’re the director of a school foundation and, suddenly, there is no school? You find yourself rapidly organizing to get meals and social services to kids in need. When schools open with remote learning, you pivot once again to get educational supplies and technology to families—even when there isn’t a one-to-one ratio for supplies. For Jill Henden and fellow members of Cherry Creek Schools Foundation (CCSF), the past year has been full of twists, turns and pivots. The organization has remained nimble in the face of change—and they need community to support Cherry Creek School District. Cherry Creek Schools district Henden established a relationship with Cherry Creek Schools district when her sons were just boys. Now, one is a graduate. “It’s been good to us. It’s been an incredibly experience for my sons, and I wanted to get more involved even though I don’t have a background in education,” she says. Nine years after joining the non-profit, Henden has overcome a learning curve that included countless acronyms, long meetings and navigating the complex relationship of local and federal funding. She happily serves the foundation as executive director. “It was definitely a learning curve,” she laughs. “I’ve worked with non-profits in the past, so I’m used to learning quickly as I go. I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible leaders. They’ve been phenomenal and I’ve learned so much from them.” Over the years, Henden has observed the intricacies of the Cherry Creek community and the nuances of serving a diverse group of students and their families. The community is more complex than many are led to believe: “Many people think we’re a wealthy suburban school district and we don’t struggle with the same problems as our neighbors,” she explains. “Nearly 30%...

Angela’s House

Even brief lives can leave a lasting impact. Baby Angela Policastro departed from this world shortly after her first birthday. Her life inspired the creation of a unique non-profit that supports medically frail children and their families. Yardi united efforts to support this groundbreaking organization. About Angela’s House Angela’s House is a not-for-profit agency that offers support and services for the families of medically fragile children. By coordinating an array of essential home care services, Angela’s House gives families an opportunity to focus on each other rather than finding, negotiating, funding and scheduling necessary resources. Home care services were only the beginning. Since 1992, the organization has expanding to include three residences. On average, the residences and home services serve 600 children each year. Programs cover medical supplies, therapeutic equipment, assistive technology, home modifications, respite, counseling and crisis assistance as well as special camps and other enrichment resources. These offerings are called the Everyday Wishes, providing for the everyday needs of kids as well as critical care. Angela’s House + Yardi The Angela’s House 3K Walk raises funds for the Everyday Wishes. Yardi has participated in the walk for the past three years. The 2020 Virtual 3K Walk theme, “At Your Place, Your Pace” encouraged participants to practice social distancing while supporting the organization. Patrons walked with their families, friends and neighbors to raise funds for the cause. CSD team leader Mark Skapinski and fellow planning committee members Sue LaGuardia, Joseph Montesano, and Cristine Gleason led the initiative at Yardi. #TeamYardi showed up in full force! In total, 31 Yardi employees participated in the walk, including eight from CSD. Different departments walked at different times, continuing support for the organization throughout the day. CSD team members walked with one another via Microsoft Teams video...

Behind the Scenes Jan18

Behind the Scenes

Take a look behind-the-scenes of the Yardi Corporate Training group to discover what drives their performance and how they help new employees develop the skills needed to be effective, thoughtful and proactive. Online training and onboarding Yardi Corporate Training group has offices in Raleigh, Santa Barbara, Cleveland, Toronto and Saskatoon. A team of 10 provides fellow employees with the knowledge and skills needed to optimally perform their jobs. “The team objectives are to offer programs that will foster career and personal development either in job-specific training or soft skills,” explains Jamie Hall, team lead. “We provide new employee training, training through our Aspire product and employee webinars. Our well-designed programs help employees become more productive and efficient, increase motivation, reduce turnover and help convey our company culture.” Hall has 20 years of experience in education and training. He joined Yardi five years ago, drawn to the company culture. “I learned more about Yardi and the culture that just made me enjoy my work much more. I think it’s important to share the Yardi culture with new employees so that culture continues as we grow,” says Hall. He and the Corporate Training team have worked closely with the Yardi Aspire department to educate about 500 employees each year. That includes new employee training and onboarding. Hall leverages the Aspire product to deliver knowledge and information to new hires across the globe. It’s a testimony to the strength of Aspire and the company’s confidence in its own product. Learn how you can automatically distribute role-based learning plans for your organization. The power of cloud-based eLearning A challenge for workplace students translates to a challenge for the Corporate Training team. With over 7,000 employees worldwide, the greatest challenge to date has been access. “One of the challenges...

Social Seniors Dec15

Social Seniors

Have you ever heard the saying that attitude is everything? How we choose to respond to a situation impacts our outlook, our possibilities and the responses of those around us. During tough times, one young woman in Raleigh constantly recommits to her positive attitude. Her decision to do so has positively impacted the entire community. Meet Victoria Meet Victoria Polston, activity and wellness director at Spring Arbor of Raleigh, an HH Hunt Senior Living community. Victoria is like many employees in assisted living communities: compassionate, patient and heavily caffeinated. She also exemplifies personality traits that have become indispensable during the pandemic: creativity, grit and optimism. As cities issued quarantine mandates in the spring, Polston faced a community of seniors who were more isolated from their loved ones than ever before. Excursions and visitors were no longer an option. Some seniors couldn’t understand the severity of the pandemic or their vulnerability. They were hurt, depressed and confused that their loved ones were no longer coming to visit. Polston got creative with engaging activities for her residents. “My goal is to make the lives of residents fun, active and worth living,” says Polston. “When I do something, I like to go all out.” Fun for every season In the warmer months, Polston offered seniors hula dancing and a luau, fake tattoos, a Mardi Gras party and a butterfly exhibit. She even coordinated a farmer’s market on the premises to replace an excursion that residents missed. As the weather cooled down, the activities continued indoors. Seniors made gourmet truffles, and danced during a neon glow stick party. They customized their shirts with glow-in-the-dark paint and donned glowing necklaces and bracelets. “I filled our activity room with black lights and all my residents were so excited when they...

Apart Together Nov10

Apart Together

Remote work environments have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Seven months into telecommuting, Yardi employees across the U.S. weigh in. March madness, IT edition In mid-March, Yardi’s IT department miraculously (read: after much hard work and dedication) managed to transition more than 30 global offices into a remote work environment in about two weeks. It was no easy feat. The diligence of the IT department and the patience of fellow employees made for a relatively smooth transition. Virtual town hall meetings kept employees up-to-date on the latest developments from the corporate headquarters. Productivity remained steady as team members learned to navigate workflows from home. Gradually, a new normal set in: video conferencing replaced conference rooms and chats replaced quick conversations over cubicle walls. Social committees reconvened team-building activities to maintain camaraderie and engagement. Pets became coworkers who made (sometimes) unsolicited appearances on calls. Yardi team members around the world began to witness firsthand the joys and challenges of their remote work environments. Different, but still efficient Some characteristics of office culture simply cannot be replicated when working from home. Chatting with coworkers in the lounge, grabbing lunch together and team functions are just a few of the office features that employees missed. “Working at home can be a bit stagnant,” admits Luis Estrada, a marketing writer in Miami. He conducted his interview for this post via Microsoft Teams chat. “My dining room is my new office. It’s routine, same old stuff.” “I miss my coworkers and the close collaboration in the office,” says Evan Hearn, energy management analyst in Atlanta. Taylor Leandro, HR generalist in Santa Barbara echoes the sentiment. “I mostly miss the daily interactions with my teammates and fellow colleagues. I also miss the ability to walk over to someone...

Reach, Racing + Robots Nov09

Reach, Racing + Robots...

Marketing, motorcycles and robotics all find a home within Melissa Zavas. The California native has creatively blended her interests in a way that empowers teens and builds community. The road to Yardi Zavas is a marketing specialist with RENTCafé REACH. She and her team provide search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing and reputation management services to Yardi clients. Learn how SEO and PPC can increase leads by 160%. The most challenging aspect of her job is staying on top of digital marketing trends and Yardi’s quickly developing software. “Yardi is incredibly growth-oriented. We are consistently growing our current software and expanding into new areas,” says Zavas. “But it’s worth it,” she smiles. “I find developing relationships with my clients and across teams very rewarding. I’m also accustomed to the changing demands of digital marketing.” Zavas began her marketing career shortly after college. Her family is heavily involved in the automotive industry, and her father helped found the Baja 500, a Mexican off-road motorcycle race on the Baja California Peninsula. She soon began a mail-order motorcycle parts division as an extension of her family’s wholesale company. “Quickly, I developed a loyal customer base by giving technical advice to match people’s riding styles with the performance parts we sold,” says Zavas. “Mail order was quickly turned into an eCommerce business as internet shopping took off. I created our first website and developed the eCommerce portion. It grew over 12 years. Through those years, I gained experienced in both business and in digital marketing.” Her technological insights and marketing savvy paid off. Zavas was named a Who’s Who Female Owner in the Automotive Industry by Cambridge Who’s Who in 2007-2008. Though Zavas sold her motorcycle parts business, she is still an avid motorcyclist....

Spirited Celebration Nov01

Spirited Celebration

The Yardi Atlanta office recently completed a successful Halloween Week! Going virtual was no easy feat, but the events committee tapped into the office’s love of competition to make a fun and memorable event. Hype years in the making Over the years, the social committees at Yardi Atlanta have helped to develop its office culture. The office is known as a place that fuels its hard work with camaraderie and fun. Annual Halloween celebrations brought team members together in pursuit of glory —until this year. With most of Yardi Atlanta working remotely, the office would not come together to celebrate Halloween. What would normally be a week of in-office costume parties and cubical decorations faced a great challenge in 2020. How could Yardi Atlanta take the festivities into a remote work environment? Would it still be fun and engaging? Undaunted by the task, the social committee launched a series of virtual events that encouraged creativity and competition. Each weekday featured a new challenge or activity to engage team members in the holiday spirit. Monday kicked off with a Pumpkin Selfie contest. Employees showed off their carving skills along with their smiles. The Best Pumpkin Selfie award went to Camilo Perez! After clocking out for the evening, a virtual call taught team members how to be Absinthe mixologists. Tuesday’s Throwback Halloween Costume Pictures conjured fringe haircuts, teased bangs and other horrors better left in their graves. There were real gems and great conversation starters among the submissions. Wendy Caffery received the Best Throwback Costume award. Working from home offers even more creative freedom to decorate! Wednesday’s competition received submissions of Halloween Home Décor, from fun and festive to ghoulish and frightening. Amber Brown earned the Best Decorations award. The workday then ended with Ghost Stories...

State of Senior Housing Oct23

State of Senior Housing...

Senior Housing News recently interviewed Fil Southerland, director of healthcare solutions for Yardi, about the biggest changes in senior living technology during the COVID-19 pandemic, how technology is meeting new healthcare demands and his experience growing up in Idaho, where his father operated assisted living facilities and built his own technology platform to support them. Excerpts follow. Q.: One of the early outcomes of the pandemic was the increase in technology adoption. What are the main silver linings in terms of senior living technology? A.: COVID-19 has definitely been hard on our industry and the residents we’re caring for. I think what it’s really highlighted is the incredible resilience of the organizations and their staff members that we work with. I’ve been particularly impressed with the amount of rapid innovation and technology uptake within the industry. Yardi’s contribution is a broad-based platform that helps providers efficiently manage everything from the care-related side to operations to finances. We’ve continued to add new clients at a rapid pace and we’re also seeing our existing clients working to automate and streamline a lot of their workflows. I think that kind of technology adoption is a necessity now. Over the long term, we’re hopeful that it will produce a lot of good dividends for the industry in terms of care coordination and personalization, wellness, operational efficiency and risk mitigation. Q.: Which changes in senior living technology prompted by the pandemic do you think will last? A.: One area is marketing and admissions. Previously, residents or family members had to come into communities to sign leases or changes to service plans. Yardi has a solution that allows all that to be done online. We’ve seen a lot of interest in that. Also, families considering a community are really concerned about...

Senior Living Changemakers Oct21

Senior Living Changemakers

When Yardi launched its Changemakers initiative last year to capture innovative thinking in senior living, few could have anticipated the profound challenges that emerged over the next 15 months. Changemakers, a collaboration with Senior Housing News, features interviews with leaders who offer creative perspectives on a range of issues including community architecture; care support partnerships with outside parties; the collocation of independent living, assisted living and memory care under one roof; technology issues; and staff members’ work/life balance. Eleven senior living provider executives presented their thoughts on the state of the industry in the Changemakers series for 2020, which is now available as an eBook. COVID-19, of course, ended up overshadowing almost every other issue this year. Mary Leary, a Changemaker with Mather, predicts that the pandemic “is going to catapult the industry forward because we’re having to abandon, at least temporarily, ways in which we have been providing services, which will give us an opportunity to rethink how we may want to do things differently.” Here’s a sampling of other impressions you’ll find in the eBook: “Changemakers definitely are risk-takers. When I first started Silverado, it was such an enormous change that I was proposing to the industry’s norm of bringing in the medical piece, the clinical piece, the 24-hour seven-day-a-week licensed nurses, master’s level social workers, and don’t even get me started with use of pets and children coming in.” – Loren Shook, Silverado “Our communities are designed to fit the neighborhood. It does not look like the sunrise Victorian mansion that gets plopped down into areas that don’t have Victorian mansions. We use the local vernacular.” – Michael Schonbrun, Balfour Senior Living Care “It’s not good enough to say, ‘I’m a risk-taker.’ What does that mean? Does that mean you’re at the firm every other Thursday? It’s not good enough just to be a risk-taker, you have to quantify risk. This [COVID-driven] economic downturn is a great example.” – Dwayne Clark, Aegis Living “We are less focused on the number of changes or the speed, but rather how meaningful the change may be to seniors, their families, and our associates. The number of ideas are infinite and can result in busy-ness rather than improved sound business practices.” — Marc Vorkapich, Watercrest Senior Living Besides sponsoring Changemakers, Yardi drives innovation by offering a comprehensive technology platform for senior living management. Learn...

Meet Dave Eskenazy Oct14

Meet Dave Eskenazy

Data analytics may not be easy, but they’re often necessary. You can’t just gather data. You’ve got to know what the numbers actually mean if you want to push your teams forward in senior living. That’s just one piece of advice that Dave Eskenazy, an industry expert with over 25 years’ experience, recently shared with us. We sat down with Dave to hear how he’s used the Yardi Senior Living Suite to drive growth through technology. From the importance of integration to the value of easy-to-understand metrics, he had plenty of insight to offer. Q: How do you track prospects in senior living? What I love about RENTCafé Senior CRM is that from the very first moment an inquiry is made, the prospect’s name is entered into the system. And I begin to track that. At some point, that prospect moves in, but the ability to move that prospect in and change them from a prospect to a resident becomes so much easier and so much quicker. Oftentimes, when somebody is looking for senior housing, they take a lot of time to really make a decision. But once that decision is made, it’s time to move. Having a lot of that information already in the system – and being able to simply pick up from before – is a key benefit of RENTCafé Senior CRM and the complete stack of Yardi products. One of the things I like most about Yardi is that there are a lot of modules that follow us all the way through the system. And it starts with RENTCafé Senior CRM. Q: How does data sync improve billing? One of the problems with billing is if you have separate systems for capturing your care than you do for billing your...

Changemakers Series Oct08

Changemakers Series

Charlie Trefzger is no stranger to change. Already this year, as president and CEO, he oversaw the rebrand of his company from Affinity Living Group to ALG Senior. At the same time, he reorganized his company’s operational structure. ALG communities now have more autonomy in how they operate, able to make decisions and take action without a set directive from headquarters. That’s not to say that Trefzger and his team don’t support their communities, however. When the coronavirus first started making news, they instituted change after change to ensure resident safety. They reacted fast thanks to having prepared well in advance just for this sort of emergency. “We implemented a pandemic flu policy some time ago. Since, we have tailored it to the COVID-19 policy, which is founded upon the CDC guidelines,” said Trefzger. “We’ve been drilling and practicing that for a good portion of the last year, and Lord have mercy, here we are right now dealing with it.” In recognition of the transformations Trefzger has driven, Senior Housing News has inducted him into the 2020 class of Changemakers. Read on to learn what steps ALG took to slow the spread of COVID-19 and how he believes the pandemic will impact senior living going forward. What have been the biggest changes that ALG Senior has made since COVID-19 hit in mid-March? Gosh, what hasn’t changed? There have been so many things that we’ve had to adapt to, such as visitation; narrowing our network of health care professionals; gathering data and having a greater reliance on data; the screening of our employees; using technology, both for visits as well as data-gathering and for activity programs; the need to address loneliness in our residents and trying to be innovative with visits. Probably our biggest change...

Westmont Living Oct01

Westmont Living

Over the years, Yardi client Westmont Living has developed creative ways to honor esteemed residents. The tradition continues through the age of social distancing, requiring ingenious workarounds that still help residents feel appreciated and valued. Honoring Lt. Dever’s 105th birthday Westmont Mariposa at Ellwood Shores is home to veteran Charles “Charlie” Dever. First Lt. Dever enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941, and he served as a lead navigator in the 98th Bombardment Group flying B-24s during World War II. Devers lived independently until he was 103. He then joined the family at Mariposa at Ellewood Shores. The quiet life that he now lives gave no indication of the surprise that awaited him for his birthday. It began when Lt. Dever’s daughter, Kathy, emailed Vandenberg Air Force Base to plan a surprise for her father. In response, the 30th Space Wing leadership notified its members of the momentous occasion. Active Air Force servicemembers near and far penned more than a hundred thank you letters to the veteran. To deliver the letters and show their appreciation, Vandenberg staff, Kathy and Team Mariposa arranged a grand ceremony. Festivities kicked off with a color guard presentation and speeches by Westwood executive director Peter Bonilla and 30th Space Wing Commander, Anthony Mastalir. Mastalir presented Lt. Dever with a 30th Space Wing challenge coin and granted him honorary membership in the United States Space Force. Vandenberg leadership then presented Lt. Devers with an American flag. Party planners arranged a car parade that would allow friends, family and community members to safely show their support for the veteran. Dozens of cars streamed through the property, showcasing their decorations, cheering and sending well-wishes to Devers. During his speech, Commander Mastalir said, “While Charles will tell you that his years in...

Changemakers Series Sep30

Changemakers Series

It’s easy to attribute the successes of a company to exemplary individuals. Think Steve Jobs of Apple or Elon Musk of Tesla. But in truth, their accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible without those who supported them. Marc Vorkapich is quick to say that his people are the key to success. As the principal and CEO of Watercrest Senior Living, a Yardi client, he’s brought together a team of “servant leaders” who inspire trust from both residents and staff. It’s earned the company a Great Place to Work award, and it’s also caught the attention of Senior Housing News. They’ve given him the title of Changemaker for his history of nurturing strong leaders and promoting collaboration at Watercrest. When they asked him about the association between embracing change and taking risks, Vorkapich made it clear that although he may be in charge, his team gives him the confidence to see things through: “When a call for change derives from a desire to serve something greater than ourselves, any sense of risk is far outweighed by the depth of purpose. My risk tolerance is high, as my entire career over 27 years has developed by having faith that I and others surrounding me have been equipped for what lies ahead.” And during the pandemic, his commitment to teamwork and service has helped ensure that Watercrest can continue to provide great care. In this excerpt from his Changemakers interview, Vorkapich describes their COVID-19 response and offers his thoughts on how the virus may impact senior living as a whole. Do you see Covid-19 changing the senior living industry in lasting ways? If yes, how? One thing is certain, there is an increased awareness and understanding of the importance of having a highly competent operations management team laser-focused...

Simplifying Compliance Sep28

Simplifying Compliance...

How do you reduce the costs of compliance such that affordable housing properties are more attractive to investors, easier for residents to find and qualify for, and less expensive to manage? That’s a question Chris Voss has spent the better part of 20 years answering, and he may just be on to the solution. Chris is Yardi’s vice president of affordable housing and PHA Sales and is the founder or RightSource, the newest addition to the Yardi family. A natural entrepreneur, Chris attended college on the east coast and focused his studies on economics. While there, Chris did some web development work for members of congress, an experience that helped grow his familiarity with emerging online technology. After college, Chris was hired by a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. that supported affordable housing developers and operators. Like many affordable housing professionals, Chris found himself unexpectedly in the industry, but soon realized a passion for its mission and processes. “I joke that growing up I wanted to be a doctor right up to the point that I realized I probably wasn’t patient enough to complete four years of medical school. However, my career does give me some of the experience I was looking for. I’m able to help clients realize their long-term operational goals by diagnosing their challenges and solving them with improvements to technology, processes, and people. So, while I’ve come to terms with not actually becoming a doctor, I have the sense of purpose and fulfilment of helping affordable housing organizations operate with a greater sense of health,” says Voss. The sole focus of the consulting firm Chris worked for in the early 2000’s was support of clients implementing Yardi Voyager. Chris describes his consulting career as a deep dive into affordable housing...

Senior Living Wisdom Sep24

Senior Living Wisdom

The senior living industry can be competitive, but it also has no shortage of experienced professionals ready to work together and share their hard-earned knowledge. This sort of collaboration has been needed now more than ever as the industry has had to adapt to new challenges. In search of best practices everyone could use, we interviewed clients who had steadily grown their senior living organizations. We asked them what issues they faced, what goals they pursued and how they leveraged technology in innovative ways. Their answers formed the basis for our How Do You? video series, which you can access and watch on our resources page. But not every piece of advice made it into the final videos. These senior living leaders had a lot to say, and we want to ensure there’s a place for all their insights to be discovered. So we revisited their interviews and pulled their answers together for a new white paper: How do you excel with senior living technology? Here’s a sneak peek at questions we covered: How do you | encourage move-ins? “It’s always ideal to know how close a lead is to moving in. Some leads are two months out. Some are three months out. Some are years out. Understanding that allows us to input a call-out in two years maybe or a follow-up that works for them. We’re not that typical marketing person who’s going to bombard them every week.” – Nicole Graham, Licensed Administrator How do you | improve resident care? “By electronically charting as you go along, it cuts the background stuff out of the process of taking care of a resident. All of the time that they would spend trying to figure out when to chart and what to chart is gone....

Changemakers Series Sep20

Changemakers Series

Charlie Trefzger is no stranger to change. Already this year, as president and CEO, he oversaw the rebrand of his company from Affinity Living Group to ALG Senior. At the same time, he reorganized his company’s operational structure. ALG communities now have more autonomy in how they operate, able to make decisions and take action without a set directive from headquarters. That’s not to say that Trefzger and his team don’t support their communities, however. When the coronavirus first started making news, they instituted change after change to ensure resident safety. They reacted fast thanks to having prepared well in advance just for this sort of emergency. “We implemented a pandemic flu policy some time ago. Since, we have tailored it to the COVID-19 policy, which is founded upon the CDC guidelines,” said Trefzger. “We’ve been drilling and practicing that for a good portion of the last year, and Lord have mercy, here we are right now dealing with it.” In recognition of the transformations Trefzger has driven, Senior Housing News has inducted him into the 2020 class of Changemakers. Read on to learn what steps ALG took to slow the spread of COVID-19 and how he believes the pandemic will impact senior living going forward. What have been the biggest changes that ALG Senior has made since COVID-19 hit in mid-March? Gosh, what hasn’t changed? There have been so many things that we’ve had to adapt to, such as visitation; narrowing our network of health care professionals; gathering data and having a greater reliance on data; the screening of our employees; using technology, both for visits as well as data-gathering and for activity programs; the need to address loneliness in our residents and trying to be innovative with visits. Probably our biggest change...