Erickson embraces a 'New Day'

Residents inspire new CEO Jim Davis

Created date

June 22nd, 2010

It s one thing to hear about an Erickson community; it s quite another thing to experience it for yourself. So, in recent months, Jim Davis, the new chairman and CEO of Erickson Living (formerly Erickson Retirement Communities), set out on a whistle stop tour across the country to see for himself what makes these communities so special. [caption id="attachment_12728" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Erickson Living s new CEO, Jim Davis, receives a warm welcome from Shirley Hibbs. (Photo by Gerry Fey)"]. I talked to the residents and asked them questions like Do you like it here? and How are things going? says Davis. And across all 19 campuses, the answer was, I love it here and I only wish I had moved to the campus sooner. Needless to say, Davis was impressed. When you go through the communities, people just light up your day because of their enthusiasm for life and the quality of life they experience. It s quite inspiring. I think this is a great company with committed employees and residents, he adds. The commitment to mission is remarkable and something I found attractive the very first time I saw it. As Davis takes the baton from company founder John Erickson, he aims to stay true to the qualities that have always distinguished Erickson communities. John has been a great pioneer and innovator for this industry, says Davis. Erickson communities are recognized for quality, value, and the enhanced lifestyle residents experience every day. I m looking forward to continuing this legacy and ensuring that Erickson communities continue to succeed and grow. As I look ahead, I see this company s first and most important priority continuing to be the residents we will not waiver from that commitment. [caption id="attachment_12729" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Riderwood residents like Lillian Litowsky asked questions during their meeting with Erickson s new CEO. (Photo by Gerry Fey)"]. Davis understands residents concerns during this transition, which is why he and John Erickson recently made a second round of visits to each and every community this time to answer residents questions. At Riderwood in Silver Spring, Md., one resident who said she was extremely happy living there expressed her concern that things might change. One of our primary goals is to keep you from worrying, Davis answered. We want to hold on to all the good that exists in the communities and within the company. Signaling their approval, residents burst into a spontaneous round of applause. Davis added: And we have to continue to innovate. Innovation is at the core of what will continue to make this company great. [caption id="attachment_12732" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Jim Davis mingles with residents at Riderwood in Silver Spring, Md. Ben Furnary is on the right. (Photo by Gerry Fey)"]. After his presentation to a packed auditorium, Davis stepped off the stage and was instantly surrounded by residents wanting to meet him and get a closer look. As polished and well-spoken as he was in front of the large audience, here, in small groups and one-on-one, the depth of Davis warmth and genuine regard for the people he serves comes through. I ve always found that if you really care about the people involved, then the business results take care of themselves, he says.

Early influence

Growing up outside of Philadelphia, Davis formed a special bond with his grandfather who taught him some important life lessons. He was always about doing the right thing and treating people right and taking lots of pride in what you do, Davis says. He graduated from Villanova where he earned a BS in accounting. In 1983, he and a partner created a small specialty staffing company called Aerotek. Operating out of the basement of a rented townhouse, the company grew to become Allegis Group, one of the largest staffing companies in the world. WithErickson, Davis takes on a new challenge one that he believes isn t all that different from his previous job. I love operating companies that actually do things and have committed people and provide great service. Today Davis and his wife are raising two teenagers and are active in a number of philanthropic efforts. They are especially focused on efforts to provide access to education for needy children. While on this end we re really focused on making sure people in their later years of life have good, meaningful, vibrant lives, on the other side of the spectrum, it really bothers me to think of kids who don t ever have the opportunity to develop to their potential in life. Looking ahead, Davis believes the company will continue to be a leader and an innovator in the senior housing market. The business has great growth potential, he says. But what really sparks my interest is seeing how life-changingErickson communitiesare. Who wouldn t want to be a part of something that is literally changing peoples lives? And having the opportunity to match the business expertise that I have with a mission as vital as this one is tremendous. Reflecting on the job ahead, Davis says, Helping seniors discover the best ways to make the most of their retirement years is a very important responsibility and rewarding experience. It is truly a new day forErickson. We have all of the great things this company represented in the past, along with solid financial footing. Combined, these factors will provide a wonderful future for our residents, our staff, and the company overall.

Why Erickson Living?

Jim Davis: Changing the name fromErickson Retirement CommunitiestoErickson Livingis our way of communicating how wonderful it is to live in these communities. Having visited the campuses, it s clear to me these communities aren t about buildings they re about really living. We want to attract people to make the decision sooner rather than later because so often residents say, I m really happy here. I wish we had done it sooner. We believeErickson Livingbest represents what our communities are all about.