Matthews, North Carolina—Karen Kollmer, the project manager for Windsor Run, spends her days handling delivery schedules, service agreements and inspections. As the Erickson Living retirement community prepares to open this May, Kollmer plays a key role in ensuring that the new apartment homes and community amenities are of high quality to meet the expectations of incoming residents.
"I was thrilled to move to North Carolina with my husband and assist with the start of this campus," said Kollmer, a 27-year employee with Erickson Living. "It's a beautiful area of the country and a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something special."
The journey to Matthews…and a lifelong career in senior living…has taken Kollmer throughout the country, but its roots, ironically, began with her youth soccer team.
Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Kollmer practiced and played on fields that would eventually become part of Charlestown, the flagship campus of the Erickson Living network of communities.
"While in elementary school, my initials were carved into a tree that still stands on the campus of Charlestown today," Kollmer recalled.
In October 1990, she began her career at Charlestown as a receptionist during the evening shift, ideal for a student studying at nearby University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Seeing the campus grow before her eyes intrigued Kollmer, and she accepted positions within the General Services Department, serving as a facilities coordinator, assistant security manager and eventually project manager.
As other Erickson Living communities began to open, she volunteered to travel to campuses throughout the country to share best practices. In 2004, she was promoted to operations manager for the corporate office in Baltimore, Maryland.
Unexpectedly, a director-level position became available at a sister Erickson Living community in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. She accepted the job at Seabrook, where she would spend more than twelve years as both general services director and a project manager. "My husband was from Long Island, and my children really enjoyed the schools and the friends they made," noted Kollmer.
Moving south to the Carolinas was always on the bucket list for Kollmer and her husband. When the project manager position for Windsor Run opened, it seemed a natural fit.
"It is truly a blessing to find a company that can match your career goals with your life's dreams," said Kollmer.
Through the years, the tight-knit, mission-oriented culture of Erickson Living has been a primary motivation for Kollmer.
"The values of our company are what inspire me to come to work each and every day. The residents have become part of my extended family. Getting to know them opens your mind to many experiences and your heart to many lives. This will be rewarding to experience here at Windsor Run when our residents move in throughout the year," she said. "The company also makes its employees feel appreciated."
Employee benefits include tuition reimbursement, 401K, paid time off, comprehensive medical benefits, on-site employee health care, discount programs and much more.
"Karen is the type of everyday hero that Windsor Run is recruiting," stated George Comfort, Executive Director. "When people join our team, they earn more than a great job in a booming industry – they gain unparalleled access to an array of rich experiences, knowledge and opportunities that will prove invaluable to their personal and professional growth. What's also rewarding for them is that they get to change lives for the better."
The Erickson Living experience truly has become a family affair for Kollmer as her parents moved to Charlestown in 2016. "My mother tells me every week how this was the best decision for them and that they love their apartment and the additional social activities brought into their lives," she notes.
Kollmer intends to pursue these connections for a long time.
"I hope to continue my career at Windsor Run for many years to come. One thing is for certain. When I move into one of our communities, I can't wait to share all those 'when I was an Erickson employee…' stories with the young staff that I encounter," she said.
For more information about career opportunities at Windsor Run, please visit www.elmjobs.com. Visitors can register for email alerts about job postings by field of expertise and location.