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Seasoned leader

Riderwood Executive Director Gary Hibbs brings 20-plus years of experience

Created date

November 3rd, 2016
Gary Hibbs, who has worked for Erickson Living for more than two decades, recently became executive director at Riderwood.

Gary Hibbs, who has worked for Erickson Living for more than two decades, recently became executive director at Riderwood.

Earlier this year, Gary Hibbs took the helm at Riderwood as the community’s new executive director. 

While Hibbs is a newer face at the Silver Spring, Md., community, he has a long history with Erickson Living communities, the management company that operates Riderwood and its sister communities throughout the country. 

Homecoming

Hibbs has worked for Erickson Living communities in various roles for more than 20 years. Most recently, he served as executive director at Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville. 

Prior, he was a regional executive director for Erickson Living communities, where he oversaw eight properties in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Kansas. He also served as executive director at Erickson Living communities in Michigan and New Jersey. 

Hibbs is an adjunct professor at the Erickson School of Management of Aging Services at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Prior to joining the Erickson Living family of communities in 1995, Hibbs served as administrator of Wellington Manor, a long-term care facility in Clinton, Md. Additionally, he previously practiced law with the Senior Citizen Law Project in Prince George’s County, Md.

Coming to work at Riderwood has been a homecoming of sorts for Hibbs. He grew up in nearby Greenbelt, Md., and his parents lived at Riderwood for several years.

“I am seeing old neighbors, people who are from my town, and old friends,” Hibbs says. 

Extraordinary accomplishments

All Erickson Living communities are inhabited by retirees who are vibrant, active, and engaged in life. However, Hibbs says he has been particularly impressed by the professional accomplishments of the residents at Riderwood. 

Since coming to work at the community, he says he has met influential scientists, celebrated authors, and people who have made significant contributions to technological advancement.

“I have met more Ph.D.s here,” Hibbs says. “Now my default when I find out someone is named John Smith, I start with Dr. Smith instead of Mr. Smith because more times than not, that is the case—it’s extraordinary.”

Hibbs fits right in. He holds M.S.W. and J.D. degrees from the University of Maryland at Baltimore, is a certified L.G.S.W. and a member of the Maryland Bar. He received his nursing home administrator’s license while working with Global Health Management in Maryland and is also licensed in the state of Michigan as a long-term care administrator. 

Hibbs has worked with older adults in both local and national settings, having served with the Area Agency on Aging in both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. He has also worked with Congressman Claude Pepper in Washington, D.C., serving on the staff of the House Aging Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and Long-Term Care.

Positive outlook

As for his outlook on serving as a leader at Riderwood, Hibbs says he was fortunate to come into a community that is already thriving. He sees his role as executive director as empowering the smart and dedicated staff members to do their jobs well.

“If you get the right people in place, then I am like a symphony conductor,” Hibbs says. “I make sure people are playing off the same sheet of music. I make sure they know how to play their instrument and how they blend in with the orchestra.”

For Hibbs, getting to know residents is just as important as building relationships with employees. He holds town hall gatherings and smaller group meetings, and works closely with the Resident Advisory Council to make sure the lines of communication between residents and management remain open. 

He says his casual encounters with residents are as important as the formal meetings.

“I like to get out in the community, and that means blocking off time, not talking in between meetings when I am rushed,” Hibbs says. “I want to be completely relaxed and engaged, so I have meals regularly with residents.”

Hibbs and his wife Jennifer live is Sykesville, Md. The couple has four children, who share Hibbs’ love of baseball. His youngest son is on a traveling baseball team, which occupies a lot of the family’s spare time. 

A fun fact about Hibbs is that he still has all of his baseball cards from his boyhood. He was a Washington Senators fan until the team became the Texas Rangers, which he says was devastating for him as a ten-year-old boy. Now he roots for the Detroit Tigers and, of course, the Baltimore Orioles. 

“I love to read, and my family is involved with our church,” Hibbs says. “When I’m not working, I just love being with family.”

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