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  • February 18, 2019
    Senior Living Hall of Fame 2019 Inductees

    The American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) announces the Senior Living Hall of Fame’s 2019 class of inductees who will be inaugurated during the association’s 2019 annual meeting in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA on January 31st.
    The following inductees will be honored:

    • Debra A. Cafaro, Ventas, Inc.
    • Paul Klaassen, Sunrise Senior Living
    • Tony Mullen, National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC)

    The Senior Living Hall of Fame recognizes the visionaries who have distinguished themselves through uncommon foresight and ground-breaking innovation. These are industry leaders with an unwavering commitment to community lifestyles that enhance choice, independence, dignity and personalized service.


    Debra Cafaro

    • CEO of a leading S&P 500 company
    • Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) owns approximately 1,200 seniors housing, health care and university-based research and innovation properties

    The trajectory of Debra A. Cafaro’s career is extraordinary. She has excelled by virtually any measure, with her ascent culminating in leading an S&P 500 company with a market capitalization reaching $26 billion at its peak.

    Seniors housing’s dynamic growth and emergence as a highly valued investment during her 19-year tenure as Chief Executive Officer of Ventas, Inc. are due in no small part to Cafaro’s vision and leadership. She saw early on that this burgeoning business was ripe for consolidation with the irrefutable, impending swing in demographics promising to power it forward. Investors took notice.

    Under her guidance, Ventas has amassed a diversified portfolio of approximately 1,200 senior living, university-based research and innovation, and health care properties spanning North America and the United Kingdom. The upside for Wall Street: a compound annual total shareholder return of 23 percent since January 2000.

    When Cafaro joined Ventas in 1999 after graduating with honors from Notre Dame, receiving her law degree cum laude from the University of Chicago and practicing real estate, finance and corporate law, the REIT had a market capitalization of only $200 million. Its principal tenant was Vencor, which operated primarily skilled nursing homes and long-term acute care hospitals.

    Under intense financial pressure Vencor eventually declared bankruptcy and reorganized later as Kindred Healthcare. But Cafaro deftly led Ventas through the aftermath of its tenant’s troubles and pushed ahead to diversify its holdings. She took on the additional role of Chairman of the Board in 2003.

    Ventas has made more than $30 billion in strategic investments since 2004. Today, it owns 727 seniors housing communities, just over half of its portfolio’s net operating income (NOI), in addition to medical office buildings, university-based research and innovation centers, post-acute care facilities and health systems.

    Throughout her tenure at Ventas, Cafaro has drawn widespread recognition and praise for delivering consistent growth and exercising prescient foresight.

    She was twice named one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes Magazine; a Top 50 Best-Performing CEOs in the World by Harvard Business Review every year since 2014; one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare five times by Modern Healthcare; and highlighted in The 70 Elite real estate executives who shaped the industry for the past 70 years by Real Estate Forum.

    Additionally, she was named as one of the Bankable 21 CEOs in the book Get Rich Carefully by CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer and as one of nine Game-Changers in commercial real estate since 2000 by Cafaro also was honored with the Industry Leadership Award by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT).

    She was named Chair of The Real Estate Roundtable in 2018, a public policy organization that brings together leaders of the nation’s top real estate ownership, development, lending and management firms to address key national policy issues relating to real estate. She is a member of the Business Council; serves on the executive committee of The Economic Club of Chicago and the Boards of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC), the University of Chicago, Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Executives’ Club of Chicago, and World Business Chicago.

    Cafaro grew up in Pittsburgh, where she was an avid fan of the city’s professional sports. In 2016, she became an owner of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins and a member of its Management Committee, just in time to celebrate the team’s back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2016 and 2017.

    Paul Klaassen

    • Founded publicly traded assisted living leader
    • Built portfolio of 450 communities in four countries

    It all started in 1981 in an abandoned, former nursing home. This was where Paul and Terry Klaassen’s vision for what soon became known as assisted living got its start.

    Their foresight and incomparable innovation triggered a national movement.

    Investors took their cue from the Klaassens’ new addition to the senior living continuum, unleashing a flurry of assisted living development that gave seniors a novel approach to receiving care by rejecting institutionalization in favor of a more traditional, home-like setting with support services.

    Sunrise Senior Living, with its signature Victorian-style communities, eventually grew under Klaassen’s leadership to more than 450 communities in four countries with approximately 50,000 residents and 43,000 employees.

    After starting in the suburbs of northern Virginia and opening three communities in three years, Klaassen set his sights on becoming a growth company and achieving scale. This was when the Sunrise Victorian prototype was developed.

    His criteria: “It had to be built on three acres anywhere in the country. It had to be reproducible. It had to have timeless appeal.”

    Additional funding for his expansion plans came after private equity in the early 1990s secured a 25 percent interest in the company. Development jumped from two properties a year to 10 annually.

    Sunrise went public in 1996 and the development pace accelerated to 20 a year. When Klaassen stepped down as CEO in 2008, 30 properties were under construction.

    The inspiration behind Klaassen’s assisted living archetype came largely from his childhood experiences in the Netherlands, where elder care communities were called “verzorgingstehuizen”.
    He watched his grandparents flourish in one of these communities as they aged. They enjoyed the independence and dignity of doing all the things they had always done – shopping, cooking and personal hobbies – but had access to assistance when they needed it.

    Anthony Mullen

    • Co-founded NIC and pioneered NIC MAP Data Service
    • Led annual Advanced Sales and Marketing Summit

    Tony Mullen’s legacy in senior living stretches far and wide.

    He was a multi-faceted talent with a supreme grasp of data and analytics who poignantly and persuasively enumerated during the formative years of the industry why its investment returns were equal to and often superior to those of the traditional commercial property types.

    He had a deep, intricate understanding of the unique fundamentals, strategies and tactics that are absolutely essential to successfully marketing and selling the merits of a senior living community. By applying his insights, operators across the country saw their market penetration rates surge.

    And knowing that the future of senior living is inextricably tied to preparing tomorrow’s leaders for the multi-disciplinary demands of the business, he co-founded graduate level seniors housing and care programs at two universities.

    Mullen, who at age 61 passed away in 2018, was in the vanguard of identifying, collecting and disseminating the myriad seniors housing metrics that financial institutions and operators rely on to benchmark the industry’s performance.

    He was a co-founder in 1991 of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) and served as its first research director before chairing NIC’s research committee and then becoming a senior fellow. He was instrumental in creating the NIC MAP Data Service, which tracks senior living metrics in the largest metropolitan areas across the country.

    The State of Seniors Housing, the annual compendium founded by the American Seniors Housing Association that tracks the industry’s financial and operating performance, was another milestone where Mullen played a pivotal role in drilling deeper into communities’ data.

    His mastery of senior living transcended analytics. In 1996, he founded the annual Advanced Sales and Marketing Summit, where for 21 years he assembled the foremost experts in senior living who shared their best practices in sales conversions. The symposium built a well-earned reputation for challenging the industry’s status quo and traditional sales methodologies, while advancing thought-provoking, customer-centric selling skills.

    He leaves a lasting heritage that will be passed down to the future generations of senior living management, thanks to his role in co-founding the graduate-level seniors housing and care programs at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

  • February 17, 2019
    Larry Cohen Honored at 2018 Alzheimer’s Association Brain Ball

    Longtime Executive Board member and Former ASHA Chairman, Larry Cohen, was the National Honoree at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Brain Ball on May 4, 2018 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. Cohen is the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Senior Living Corporation.

    The Brain Ball is an annual Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser that debuted in 2014, and has honored ASHA members each year, including Mark Ordan of Sunrise Senior Living (now with Quality Care Properties); Debra Cafaro of Ventas; Thomas DeRosa of Welltower Inc.; Arnie Whitman of Formation Capital; and Larry Cohen of Capital Senior Living Corporation.

    ASHA President David Schless served on the Brain Ball Committee, and the American Seniors Housing Association is proud to sponsor this tremendous event.

  • October 17, 2018
    2018 ASHA 50

    Click here for the 2018 ASHA 50, the definitive annual ranking of the nation’s largest 50 seniors housing real estate owners and operators.

    The five largest owners as of June 1, 2018 are: Brookdale (65,854 units), Welltower Inc. (65,141 units), Ventas Inc. (58,080 units), Boston Capital (32,985 units) and HCP Inc. (31,911 units). The largest five operators in the U.S. include: Brookdale (96,026 units), LCS (33,883 units) Holiday Retirement (31,862 units), Five Star Senior Living (29,185 units), and Sunrise Senior Living (26,982 units).

    The ASHA 50 has been produced annually since 1994, and is considered to be the authoritative source for market-rate senior living ownership and management.

  • October 16, 2018
    Senior Living Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

    Washington, DC — The American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) announced the formation of the Senior Living Hall of Fame and welcomed the inaugural class of inductees during the association’s 2018 annual meeting in Orlando, FL.

    The following inductees were honored: Granger Cobb, Bill Colson, Bill Kaplan, Jim Moore, Bill Sheriff and Stan Thurston.


    Granger Cobb

    During a 32-year span, Granger Cobb rose from executive director of an assisted living community to CEO of Emeritus Senior Living, the largest assisted living company in the nation, before spearheading a $2.8 billion merger with Brookdale. When Granger passed away following a battle with cancer at age of 55 in 2015, he was a member of Brookdale’s board of directors.

    He began his senior living career shortly after graduating from UCLA, and five years later in 1989 founded a California-based assisted living company with his wife Tina, called Cobbco, Inc.

    After Cobbco was acquired in 1998 by Summerville Senior Living, Granger served as the combined company’s president, CEO and director from 2000 to 2007. Seattle-based Emeritus Senior Living merged with Summerville in 2007, and during Granger’s tenure as president and CEO of Emeritus, the company grew to more than 500 communities in 45 states with over 31,000 employees serving almost 54,000 residents.

    Granger’s lifelong commitment to developing future industry professionals was recently recognized with the creation of the Granger Cobb Institute for Senior Living at Washington State University.

    Bill Colson

    Bill built an international enterprise over the course of 36 years with more than 300 independent living communities that ultimately sold for $6.5 billion.

    Bill and his father founded what became Holiday Retirement Corp. in 1971. Based in Salem, OR, the Colson organization developed, constructed, acquired and managed a portfolio that eventually spanned the U.S., Canada, France and the United Kingdom.

    Bill is widely recognized across the senior living profession as a visionary who saw the potential in building independent living apartments that featured food service, transportation and social activities long before others began to take notice.

    He was one of the ASHA founders and played an instrumental role in ensuring the success of the American Seniors Housing Association.

    Bill Kaplan

    Senior living communities emphasizing independence, choice and gracious hospitality have been the hallmark of Senior Lifestyle since it was founded by Bill Kaplan in 1985. Chicago-based Senior Lifestyle created a broad strata of product lines over the years to serve the entire market, reaching across the high end to the affordable side. Senior Lifestyle communities are located in 22 states.

    One of Bill’s most noteworthy achievements was partnering with the City of Chicago to develop Senior Suites, an affordable housing brand that provides income-qualified residents with quality apartment homes in neighborhoods throughout greater Chicago.

    Unlike traditional affordable housing, Senior Suites includes daily resident programming, weekly local transportation, à la carte dining options, and a daily check-in service. Senior Suites serves over 2,000 seniors in 24 locations, each property financed with a combination of investments from the private sector through the sale of low-income tax credits coupled with assistance from local, state and federal resources.

    Jim Moore

    Over the course of 50+ years, Jim Moore has been engaged in virtually every facet of the seniors housing business.

    His Fort Worth, TX-based Moore Diversified Services has provided several thousand consulting engagements including market feasibility studies, detailed financial pro forma analysis, strategic planning, operations analysis, and investment advisory services in more than 1,200 markets spanning the entire U.S.  In addition, Jim also conducted numerous international engagements in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Canada, Europe, Central America and Mexico.

    With market intelligence from thousands of consumer and business focus groups and firsthand experience residing in hundreds of senior living communities, Jim is a widely recognized authority on the intricacies of successful development and operations.

    He has been a mainstay on both the for-profit and not-for-profit sides of the seniors housing profession while serving national and regional organizations.

    Bill Sheriff

    After taking the reins of his family’s truck stop business at age 22, Bill expanded it and nine years later it was sold to the Ryder System’s new national network of truck stops. Bill stayed and under his leadership from 1975 to 1984, the Ryder division grew to become the largest chain of corporate-owned-and-operated truck stops in the country. Sohio acquired it in 1984.

    He then made the transition to CEO of American Retirement Corporation (ARC), a seniors housing developer and operator in Nashville backed by the founders of Hospital Corporation of America.

    Specializing in continuing care retirement communities, ARC went public in 1997. Nine years later, Brookdale Senior Living acquired ARC. With Bill moving over as CEO following the transaction, Brookdale became the nation’s largest operator of senior living communities. Throughout his tenure, he stressed the importance of an integrated continuum of services at Brookdale that included skilled nursing, home health care, rehab therapies, and hospice.

    When Bill retired in 2012 after 28 years in the senior living business, he had assembled 647 communities in 35 states, with Brookdale operating independent living, assisted living, and dementia-care communities, as well as continuing care retirement communities.

    Stan Thurston

    Life Care Services, an LCS Company in Des Moines, IA, is best known for its extensive involvement in continuing care retirement communities, Life Care Services has partnered with over 140 communities serving more than 35,000 seniors. Over the course of nearly 30 years, Stan led the development division and oversaw the operations management division prior to becoming Life Care Services’ president and CEO in 1995. He retired in 2006.

    One of his most noteworthy innovations was creating the 90 percent Refundable Entrance Fee Contract for continuing care retirement communities, which was a major breakthrough in exponentially expanding the market for potential residents. This also gave communities greater control over their capital structures, while residents benefited from more affordable monthly service fees.

    And he was instrumental in working with ASHA to guide legislation that changed the tax code to protect entrance-fee CCRC residents from encountering negative tax consequences. Continuing care retirement communities for many years were traditionally the province of not-for-profit sponsors.  Stan, however, saw an opportunity to bring for-profit participants to the table. By collaborating with various legal and regulatory groups, he came up with a business model that mitigated risk and provided a going return for the eventual owner of a continuing care retirement community.

    The Senior Living Hall of Fame Selection Committee will be chaired by Larry Cohen, CEO of Capital Senior Living and former ASHA chairman. Committee members are Lois Bowers of McKnight’s Senior Living, Steve Monroe of The SeniorCare Investor, Matt Valley of Seniors Housing Business, and John Yedinak of Senior Housing News.

  • October 15, 2018
    Arnie Whitman Honored at 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Brain Ball

    Longtime ASHA Executive Board member, Arnie Whitman, was the National Honoree at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Brain Ball on May 5, 2017 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC.  Whitman is the Founder and Chairman of Formation Capital, a leading equity investor in the seniors housing and care industry, and Co-Chairman of Genesis Healthcare.

    The Brain Ball is an annual Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser that debuted in 2014, and has honored ASHA members each year, including Mark Ordan of Sunrise Senior Living (now with Quality Care Properties); Debra Cafaro of Ventas; Thomas DeRosa of Welltower Inc.; and Arnie Whitman of Formation Capital.

    ASHA President David Schless served on the Brain Ball Committee, and the American Seniors Housing Association is proud to sponsor this tremendous event.