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Eagle’s Trace welcomes new executive director

Ben Cornthwaite moves from Maryland to Texas

Created date

February 21st, 2012

When Ben Cornthwaite landed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, he got a warm welcome literally. It was near freezing when I left Maryland, says Cornthwaite, who arrived in Houston in December 2011. When I walked out of the airport here, the warm breeze felt wonderful. Cornthwaite, the new executive director at Eagle s Trace the Erickson Living community in West Houston began his career with the Baltimore-based company at Greenspring in Springfield, Va. He spent six years there as the senior administrator for assisted living and skilled nursing. Most recently, he served as the associate executive director at Riderwood in Silver Spring, Md. I m excited to get to know the residents and staff at Eagle s Trace, says Cornthwaite. The biggest change for me coming from Riderwood is the size of the two communities. With nearly 3,000 residents and 1,500 employees, Riderwood is the country s largest continuing care community. Eagle s Trace feels so cozy and intimate in comparison. I hope I ll be able to connect with people on a more personal level here.

Finding his niche

Cornthwaite earned his B.A. degree in health services administration from James Madison University and his M.A. in management of aging services from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. As an undergraduate, I remember flipping through the course catalog and studying the description of health sciences administration, which was listed as 50% health care, 50% business, says Cornthwaite. I talked with the dean, and he encouraged me to take an entry-level course. One of my first assignments was to shadow a health care professional in a skilled nursing facility for a day, he says. I ended up working there for the summer. As I began to connect with the residents, something clicked, and I knew this was the right field for me. Under Cornthwaite s leadership, Greenspring received a deficiency-free state survey in 2010 and was awarded a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal government s highest quality ranking. Asked the secret to his success, Cornthwaite quickly credits his coworkers. A skilled nursing facility is such a highly regulated environment that it takes teamwork to achieve the zero-deficiency rating, says Cornthwaite. When staff members align their efforts to a common goal, the resulting interdisciplinary support and awareness ensures that all departments work together in the best interest of the residents.

Fulfilling a promise

Cornthwaite is confident that his experiences at Greenspring and Riderwood will help him lead Eagle s Trace into its next phase of growth. Obviously, the most pressing goal at Eagle s Trace is to get the new extended care neighborhood established. It s important to fulfill our promise to our current residents, and it s also what prospective residents expect. When the new facility is built, we will have it all right here on campus.

A new adventure

Cornthwaite and his wife of ten years, Adrienne, recently purchased a home in the Katy area. The couple has three children, daughters Bella (7) and Carrington (2) and son Cameron (6). My family and my wife s family live in Virginia, says Cornthwaite. At first, the thought of moving so far from family was tough. But now that we ve had time to digest what it means to live in Texas, we re excited. It s a new adventure for us. The family also enjoys the region s culinary offerings. We love Tex-Mex and barbeque, says Cornthwaite. When my wife and I came down to look for a house, we felt as though we went on the eating tour of Houston. There are plenty of great restaurants here. Asked if he has any plans to don a cowboy hat and go Texan for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Cornthwaite laughed. I would love to, he says. My kids each own a pair of cowboy boots. My wife and I need to step up and get a pair for each of us too.

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