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Ashby Ponds welcomes new executive director

Craig Karczmer has strong ties to Erickson Living

Created date

October 10th, 2016

Ashby Ponds announces Craig Karczmer as the Ashland, Va., Erickson Living community’s new executive director. 

Before joining Ashby Ponds, Karczmer served as associate executive director at Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J. 

Finding his niche

Graduating from the State University of New York at Oswego with a B.A. in communication studies and marketing, Karczmer began his career working in the fields of marketing and publications.

“My father instilled in me a solid work ethic, the desire to learn from every opportunity, and the drive to do more, to do better,” says Karczmer. “As a French immigrant who arrived in the U.S. at the age of 16, with four quarters in his pocket, he discovered quickly the many benefits of hard work and dedication.”

In 1995, Karczmer received his master of public health care administration from Long Island University and accepted a position with Manor Care, opening five assisted living communities in less than two years. 

“I decided I wanted to do something different with my life,” he says. “I looked to retirement living because working with older adults appealed to me. I also enjoy helping people and being a part of residents’ lives.”

Karczmer went on to work for several more assisted living and continuing care retirement communities until finding his place at Erickson Living.

“Throughout my career I continually asked myself, ‘How do I take what I am doing, what I am learning, and use it to impact the most lives?’” he says. “It wasn’t until I began working for Erickson Living that I knew I was where I was supposed to be.”

First 90 days

Since arriving at Ashby Ponds, Karczmer has thrown himself into day-to-day life at the community, making his number one priority to get out and meet the residents he serves. 

He’s attempted the hula hoop at a Caribbean-themed happy hour, walked through the gardens meeting residents at this summer’s garden party, attended the Ashby Ponds Olympics and Diversity Week activities, and hosted his first few monthly “Coffee and Conversation” meetings with residents. 

“I’ve worked in senior living for over 20 years, and what always strikes me is how wonderful it is to meet the residents,” he says. “There is something special about learning about a person’s life experiences and what their dreams are as they enter a new phase of life. Trying to match up residents’ dreams with what we do as a community truly energizes me.”

Accessible and devoted

As Ashby Ponds continues to grow, Karczmer wants all community members to know that he is accessible and eager to learn about their needs. The monthly “Coffee and Conversation” meetings will continue as a way of promoting a face-to-face exchange of ideas. 

“I want to make sure that the residents of Ashby Ponds know that my door is always open to them,” he says. “I will always be available to residents when they come by my office, even when they don’t have an appointment, or while I’m walking through campus. I am sure to give my undivided attention by actively listening and being present.”  

A new adventure

Since arriving in Virginia, Karczmer has jumped right into his new life, moving into a home in nearby Dulles. In his free time, he enjoys sports of all types, photography, and wine tasting.

“I love to immerse myself and learn from new things,” he says. “I’m very excited for what the future holds.”