A new Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care has been chosen, and she is no stranger to Plymouth Harbor. Congratulations, Brandi Burgess!

With a degree in Sociology and Psychology from the College of William and Mary, Brandi started working at Plymouth Harbor in 1999 as an activities coordinator. She also helped manage the social services in the Smith Care Center. When the SCC was opened up to the community, Brandi moved into the role of Admissions and Marketing Coordinator and helped Plymouth Harbor earn a reputation for being not only a great retirement community, but also an excellent skilled nursing and rehab center. She worked as Plymouth Harbor’s social worker and the Positive Approach® to Care educator before being asked to step into the role of Interim Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care.

“Over the last five months, Brandi has lead by example and worked effectively with residents, family members, staff, and contractors to help our Seaside Assisted Living and Starr Memory Care Residence complete a successful first full year of operation,” said Joe Devore, Senior Vice President of Health Services.

Now, after completing her Assisted Living Facility regulatory training and earning her license, she officially takes on her role of Administrator of Assisted Living, the Seaside and the Starr Memory Care Residences.

“As we began our search for an Administrator for Assisted Living and Memory Care, we profiled a professional who had all of the credentials required, coupled with the strong organizational, leadership, and interpersonal skills necessary to administer our Positive Approach® to Care philosophy,” said Harry Hobson, CEO. “We identified Brandi early on as THAT person and so much more. We know Brandi’s heart aligns with our Plymouth Harbor mission, and we are so pleased to see Brandi move into this important leadership position.”

“I am grateful for the support of my husband, Warren, who takes such good care of our family while I have taken on more responsibilities here,” Brandi said. “I am proud and blessed to be a part of what I believe will be the premier Assisted Living and Memory Care home in the Southeast.”

In 2014, our Board of Trustees and Leadership Council committed the time and financial resources to ensure that every single Plymouth Harbor staff member is given premier education on dementia care.

Our goal is to have staff who are knowledgeable about dementia, aware of the unique manifestations of dementia, who understand the impact of dementia on family and environmental dynamics, and who are adept at interacting with those with dementia. Using Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) philosophy, we ensure that this happens.

Teepa Snow is a leading educator on dementia. As an occupational therapist with more than 30 years of clinical experience in the field, Teepa has become an advocate for those with dementia. She has made it her mission to help people better understand what it is like to live with the challenges that accompany the condition and to change the way people think about it. In 2005, she founded her own company, the Positive Approach™ to Care, to teach people how to effectively and compassionately work with those living with neurocognitive degeneration. The Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) uses the GEMS® States model for brain change, Teepa’s own creation that focuses on retained abilities instead of those that are lost. Through the PAC and using the GEMS® States model, she now educates family and professional care providers across the world, but mainly in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K

Four years ago, Brandi Burgess, Interim Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, became a nationally certified trainer in PAC and developed an education plan for all levels of our staff with responsibilities in any of our licensed facilities.

“I really love when staff members from all departments share an interaction they had with a resident and say ‘I felt myself getting defensive and upset, and then I realized I was talking to a diamond,’ or an emerald, or a ruby,” Brandi said. “When they can take a step back, use what they learned in their PAC training, and approach the situation with a different mindset, they can better understand and care for our residents.”

Health Services staff receive annual training, which consists of education on normal aging, dementia, current research, and the progression of dementia through the GEMS® model. They also learn positive physical approaches and skills to use during care. Many different techniques are used to teach our staff these skills: video clips of Teepa demonstrating how to sort out what GEM someone is for visual learners; lectures and Q&A sessions for verbal learners; role playing and hands-on care practice for existential learners.

Our Care Partners in the Starr Memory Care Residence receive a three-week training, the most intensive of all our employees. Their PAC training is heavily interactive and hands-on, allowing them to practice the skills they will need and also put themselves in the shoes of someone with dementia. Even those who work outside of Health Services receive an introduction to PAC in their new employee orientations.

“If we can teach our staff how to purposefully change the environment and approach to our residents, then we can ensure they have the proper setting to shine at their best,” Brandi said.

It is with deep respect that we bid farewell to three Foundation board members who have served two terms each on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees. The Foundation Board is comprised of at least three resident trustees, three non-resident corporate board trustees, and three at-large trustees, plus the CEO and CFO.

Tom Towler (Resident Trustee)
Tom began on the Foundation board in 2013, serving two consecutive terms. We are grateful for his knowledge of Plymouth Harbor, the Sarasota Community, and of philanthropy.

Lee Byron (Non-Resident Trustee)
Lee served on the Foundation board beginning in 2013 and was appointed as a corporate board trustee at that time. Her long tenure as trustee at Plymouth Harbor has been extremely generous and valuable to our leadership. Now a Harbor Club member, we know we will continue to benefit from Lee’s involvement.

Cade Sibley (At-Large Trustee)
Cade began as an At-Large trustee in 2013 and became Chair of the Board in 2017. Completing her sixth year on the board and second as chair, we are extremely grateful for her leadership. She will begin her first term as a corporate board trustee in January.

We are excited to welcome the following three new members to our Foundation Board:

John D. (Jack) Kidd (Resident Trustee)
Jack and Jane Kidd became Plymouth Harbor residents in December of 2017. They moved to Longboat Key in 2004, having spent most of their family life in Jackson, Ohio. Jack and a partner bought Oak Hill Banks in 1970, which after much success was merged with WesBanco of Wheeling, West Virginia in 2007. He served on that board until 2011. Jack has most recently served two years as President of the Board of The Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center in Sarasota (2014-2018). He also served the Bird Key Yacht Club Board of Governors, the Sanctuary Condo Board of Trustees, and the Waterclub Condo Board of Trustees, as well as countless boards in Ohio. He and Jane have three children and five beautiful grandchildren.

Robert (Bobby) Overall (At-Large Trustee)
Bobby Overall has become very familiar with Plymouth Harbor, as his parents, Bob and Mathilda Overall, lived here from 2001 until their recent deaths (2018 and 2016, respectively). Bobby was president and majority owner of Coastal Bridge Company, a 250-employee highway, bridge, and marine construction company in Louisiana, which he sold and retired from in 2013. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University. He is currently a director of Associated General Contractors of America and a past board member and past president of Louisiana Associated General Contractors. He has been involved on several volunteer boards including Junior Chamber of Commerce of Baton Rouge, Jefferson United Methodist of Baton Rouge, and Sarasota Yacht Club. He and his wife Cindy reside in Baton Rouge and have a second home docked at Sarasota Yacht Club.

Kathryn Angell Carr (Non-Resident Trustee)
Kathryn Angell Carr is a member of our corporate board, and is a partner at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP where she is Board Certified in Real Estate Law. She has been involved in the representation of both purchasers and sellers in residential and commercial real estate, including several shopping centers, hotels, apartment complexes, restaurants, and office buildings. Kathryn also has experience in the leasing and financing of both residential and commercial projects, including securitized financing and bond financing. Kathryn received a BS degree in Political Science from Iowa State University and earned her law degree from the University of Florida. In addition to Plymouth Harbor’s, Kathryn previously served on several community Boards, including, but not limited to, The Argus Foundation and the Animal Rescue Coalition. She has three stepchildren and six grandchildren, ranging in age from three to 27.

The State of Jobs Conference (SOJC) is Florida’s largest conference focused on college and career development. The conference introduces high school students, mostly sophomores, to career tracks and industry leaders early on in their education. Several tracks are offered for students, including healthcare, engineering/manufacturing, information technology, hospitality, art/culture, and business.

Presented this year by CareerSource Suncoast, BIG (Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast), and Gulf Coast CEO Forum, SOJC began in 2013 as an offering of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the brainchild of Chris Laney. In 2016, Chris recognized the need to expand SOJC to make it a regional event. He took the idea to CareerSource Suncoast and subsequently expanded to the surrounding counties. SOJC now hosts 1,000 students from surrounding high schools and includes an evening event that focuses on college students nearing graduation and looking for jobs in our community.

Plymouth Harbor became involved with SOJC in 2016 after recognizing the workforce shortage would continue and that we needed to find a way to introduce young people to our industry as a viable and steady career choice. For the third year now, Plymouth Harbor is the healthcare track sponsor. In 2016 and 2017, our nurses participated in one of the three sessions in the healthcare track, engaging over 150 students in nursing as a career choice.

This year we were again the healthcare sponsor, which invites visibility with an exhibit booth and hosting of the healthcare track. We were able to connect with hundreds of high schoolers throughout the day and college students in the evening.

New this year was an offering for the high schoolers called Executive Roundtables. Each roundtable was hosted by an executive, defined as someone who had been in their business for at least 10 years. Plymouth Harbor was asked to supply host executives for some of the 45 different roundtables. Several employees and residents were willing to participate:

George McGonagill, Vice President of Facilities, hosted a table and led the conversation in careers related to the building trades. Alyson Harris, Director of Accounting, hosted a table that talked about the accounting field.
Paul Groen, resident and orthopedic surgeon, hosted a table and spoke about careers in the medical field.
Bill Johnston, resident and former president of the New York Stock Exchange, hosted a table focused on careers in the business and finance industry. Other staff involved in the SOJC this year included Becky Pazkowski, Tena Wilson, and Stephen Moros.

There seems to always be guests who recognize Plymouth Harbor as an icon in Sarasota. Last year, the son of a resident who teaches in Sarasota visited our booth. This year, one of the panelists in the healthcare track was Sarasota Memorial Hospital ER physician Reuben Holland. Dr. Holland spoke highly of Plymouth Harbor, saying ER patients presenting at SMH from Plymouth Harbor are always obviously well-cared for patients. Additionally, some people mention that their first jobs were at Plymouth Harbor.

“Two different people came up to me this year and said their first job was at Plymouth Harbor,” recalled Becky Pazkowski, who hosts the healthcare track sessions. “One was a teacher of 40 years who retired last year from Emma Booker Elementary. She was a nursing assistant here before she went into teaching. The other was a chef in USF’s hospitality program. He said his first job was in dining services here at Plymouth Harbor!”

Among our goals for being involved in SOJC is to show leadership in our industry, an industry often not mentioned as an option for those seeking career tracks. Plymouth Harbor has been around for over 50 years, and our industry is one of the largest in the state of Florida. It is our duty to remind people that we are here, we are not going anywhere, and we value good employees. We remind them that this could be their first job!

The Plymouth Harbor Foundation awards scholarships annually to employees and, in some cases, children of employees who are seeking to further their education. This year we were able to award 16 scholarships to the following individuals, thanks to the more than 100 generous donors who have made gifts over the last few years to support this important program.

Fernando Limon
Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship ($1500)
Fernando is a busser in the dining room, and the son of Nataly Duran in our Housekeeping department. Fernando is a multi-talented man studying at State College of Florida’s nursing program. He aspires to be a Registered Nurse in the future, and wants to make a difference in people’s lives.

Allison Nahrwold
Jane T. Smiley Scholarship ($2000)
Allison is the daughter of Nancy Nahrwold, a Registered Nurse in the Smith Care Center. Allison will be attending the University of South Florida this fall, majoring in Marketing, with a minor in Apparel Merchandising. She aspires to be a fashion marketer, hopefully with Lilly Pulitzer or Vineyard Vines.

Hayden Menzies
Jeanette Gehrie Music Scholarship ($1500)
Hayden is the daughter of Danielle Menzies, operations manager in Dining Services. Hayden is in Junior High and currently plays the trombone at school. She is also a self-taught saxophonist, wishing to learn more about both instruments. Her goal is to help more people, especially girls, get interested in playing these instruments at school. She is taking lessons at Sam Ash Music in Sarasota.

Krystle Harvey
Evelin Corsey Scholarship ($1305)
Krystle is the marketing office coordinator at Plymouth Harbor. She is working toward earning a Certificate in Professional and Technical Communication at USF Sarasota-Manatee. She also holds a BS in Biology from University of Mobile, Alabama. She is adding this credential to her portfolio so that she is able to do more of what she loves in her career–communications.

Gisel (Gigi) Sanchez Jimenez
Charleen Sessions Scholarship ($2000)
Gigi is a Certified Nursing Assistant in our Home Care department. She is studying at Keiser University to earn her degree in Medical Assisting. Gigi also has the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Cuba, her native country. Coming to the United States has helped her discover a passion for the medical field, and she wishes to continue to work with older adults after she earns her degree.


Luis Santiago
Collinsworth Scholarship ($2000)
Luis was recently employed for 6 years as a houseman supervisor in our Dining Services department. He is in his last year toward earning a bachelor’s in Information Technology with a concentration in Systems Administration.

Claudia Cavero
Gaylord Nursing Scholarship ($2000)
Claudia Cavero is a Certified Nursing Assistant in our Home Care department. She is enrolled in the nursing program at Rasmussen College and plans to graduate in December as a registered nurse. Her long-term goals include earning a bachelor’s and master’s in nursing.

Melissa Berthold
Residents Association Scholarship ($2000)
Melissa is a server in Dining Services. She is enrolled in the dental hygiene program at State College of Florida. She hopes to graduate in 2021 and begin her career as a dental hygienist.

Nathan Stotler
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Nathan is a student at State College of Florida studying communications. He is the son of Kay Stotler in our Home Care department, and this is the second year Nathan has received a Foundation scholarship.

Jessica Taylor
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Jessica Taylor, daughter of Cindy Taylor in our Home Care department, is a student at State College of Florida in their pharmacy program. She plans to become a pharmacy technician. This is the second year Jessica has received a Foundation scholarship.

Dayle Cortes
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Dayle Cortes, son of Hernando Cortes (a nurse in our Smith Care Center) has been attending University of Florida Innovation Academy to pursue a marketing degree. He is undecided at this point at what path of business he will pursue with his marketing education. This is the third year Dayle has received support from the Foundation.

Vernicia (Nici) Crenshaw
Foundation Scholarship ($1500)
Nici is a server in our Dining Services department. She is in the final stages of earning her credentials as a Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound technician from Meridian College. She is currently completing her internships and will take her boards sometime this fall.

Devin Vancil
Foundation Scholarship ($1500)
Devin is the son of Fran Vancil in our Maintenance department. He is taking private violin lessons at the Allegro Music Academy. Devin is entering high school this fall, and maintains a 4.0 gpa. He was supported last year through the Gehrie Music Scholarship.

Yaima Comas
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Yaima Comas has been a Certified Nursing Assistant in our Home Care department for 8 years. She is studying Business Administration and Management, majoring in International Business and Trade at the State College of Florida. She is three semesters away from completion. Yaima had been formerly supported through the Jane T. Smiley scholarship.

Lillian Aravena-Rodriguez
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Lillian is an LPN in Smith Care Center. She is studying nursing at Manatee Technical College and plans to finish as an RN in 2019. She loves nursing, especially in the field of geriatrics and wound care.

Waverly Tanner
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Waverly Tanner recently worked as a server in the Smith Care Center Chart Room. She is a Pine View High School graduate who has just started at University of South Florida. She is studying Business Administration, and thinks she may pursue a career in our industry eventually.

Congratulations to Cathy Laponius
Cathy was supported last year through the Harry and Nancy Hobson Leadership Development Grant program, pursuing her Certified Dietary Manager credential. Cathy has completed her program six months early, passed the test, and is now officially a Certified Dietary Manager. Congratulations, Cathy!

 

We were very sad to recently say goodbye to Jim Gaylord in the Smith Care Center. Mr. Gaylord’s work life centered around the Colonel…yes, that’s Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He owned as many as 18 franchises during his lifetime, all in the Midwest, for which he was accustomed to many business operations. This was a big and important part of his life.

Upon his death, Jim’s wife Dee came to us and wished to make a gift to benefit the Smith Care Center, for whom she was eternally grateful for the great care Jim received. Her gift will fund an upgrade of the West Lounge in Smith Care Center to make it a functioning media center, much like the one in the new Northwest Garden Building. Her hope is that more rehab patients, guests, and long term residents will have better and more up to date access to secure internet, a printer/scanner, all in a comfortable and updated environment.

Thank you, Dee and Jim, for your generous and much appreciated vision for the Smith Care Center.

 

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce Marty Martel as our new Director of Maintenance. Marty joined the Plymouth Harbor team in July 2017.

In his role as Director of Maintenance, Marty is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of Plymouth Harbor’s infrastructure, including the repair of all building functions, grounds, equipment and appliances; implementing an ongoing facility preventive maintenance program; supporting the remodeling/upgrade program; and supporting capital projects.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Marty served as Director of Engineering for Brookdale Senior Living in Sarasota. There, he was responsible for overseeing maintenance of the entire community; managing its team of technicians; maintaining building-maintenance budgets; and establishing maintenance contracts, policies, safety programs, and training.

Before that, Marty spent nearly 14 years at Post Properties, a developer and operator of multifamily communities. He served as Area Lead Engineer in their Tampa office before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2005 to serve as their Director of Property Services Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region, where he managed 10 residential communities in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and New York. Marty also served as Maintenance Supervisor and Maintenance Technician at two additional companies in Tampa, and attended Northern Virginia Community College in Manassas, Virginia.

In addition to his maintenance expertise, Marty served in the U.S. Army from 1987 until 1996. He spent seven years in Germany, five of which were spent patrolling the borders between East and West Germany. He experienced first-hand the end of the Cold War and the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Marty was also deployed during Desert Storm, and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Valor during this conflict.

Plymouth Harbor is excited to have Marty on board, and we look forward to the continued enhancement of our maintenance program.

 

Throughout history, building design and construction has adapted to reflect design trends, technological advances, and most importantly, to address social needs. For example, take the evolution of the skyscraper in the early 1900s. As more and more Americans flocked to major cities, available real estate became harder to come by. With the addition of new steel framing technology, the concept of the skyscraper became possible — capturing exponential growth within a contained footprint.

Today, builders are focused on reducing a different kind of footprint: our environmental footprint. It may come as no surprise that the “green” movement is becoming more mainstream — however, in most cases, energy-reducing technologies have become a standard requirement in today’s building codes. This is due in part to continually emerging technologies that are not only lowering our impact on the environment, but are also minimizing overall operating costs.

At Plymouth Harbor, residents and employees alike have made conservation efforts a priority in recent years. The same rings true in the construction of our Northwest Garden building, which has incorporated many green elements. Some of these conservation items include:

Our overall building site uses recycled crushed concrete as the base material for pavement; a portion of the new asphalt also uses recycled materials; the landscaping that has been selected is indigenous to Florida (reducing water usage); and demolished concrete and asphalt are diverted to local landfills for recycling. Additionally, building materials, including all concrete, CMU block, and asphalt are produced locally, and any raw materials, are sourced from Florida. The new structural steel is made up of recycled material, and all paints, sealants, and adhesives are low odor and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) — limiting the release of toxic emissions into the air.

Energy conservation in the exterior of the Northwest Garden is mainly exemplified in the form of insulation. The exterior windows are insulated to minimize heat gain from the sun, keeping a cool temperature throughout the building. The same can be said for the roof and exterior wall insulation. You also may have noticed a white material incorporated into the building’s roofing system — this material helps to reflect rather than absorb heat from the sun.

Inside the building, you will find elements such as LED lightbulbs, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and occupancy sensors to control the lighting of appropriate common areas when not in use. In the building’s garage, electric car-charging stations are available. The exact number and locations are being determined.

Furthermore, non-residential HVAC units are controlled by a building automation system. This is connected to the campus energy system rather than adding remote equipment, which would require additional power. An Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system is also being used, which exchanges the energy contained in normally exhausted building air and uses it to treat (or precondition) the incoming outdoor ventilation air in an HVAC system.

While this is certainly not a complete list of each and every green element used in the construction of our new Northwest Garden, we hope it provides a look into its sustainable design. We look forward to sharing many of these elements with you in person as we continue to approach our Grand Opening in November.

 

Plymouth Harbor recently participated in CareerSource Suncoast’s Career Academy program, running from June 12th through July 20th. In its third year, the Career Academy is a five-week program that provides high school students the opportunity to learn about careers in a variety of fields. These fields, or “career tracks,” include: Foundations, Healthcare, Information Technology, Manufacturing & Construction, and Business/Entrepreneurship.

The Career Academy grew out of a state grant to create annual programs targeted at low-income teens facing a barrier in one way or another. Forty students (juniors or seniors in high school) were admitted into this year’s program – 20 from Sarasota County and 20 from Manatee County. Each week, students visit various organizations in the community pertaining to that week’s career track to increase leadership skills, network with industry professionals, and learn a variety of skills.

In addition to receiving $1,000, each student earns college credit through State College of Florida for participating. Students are assigned a program mentor, with whom they meet each Monday and Wednesday; and on Tuesdays, they take a “field trip” to two different participating organizations. Additionally, throughout the program, they are invited to attend networking events at Manatee Technical College and Suncoast Technical College.

On Tuesday, June 20th, the Career Academy’s Sarasota County students visited Plymouth Harbor as part of the Healthcare career track. While introducing students to the healthcare field within a Life Plan Community was a top priority, our overall goal was to introduce students to the many different career paths available within an organization like Plymouth Harbor.

After receiving a general overview of Plymouth Harbor by President/CEO Harry Hobson, students were given a tour of the campus and introduced to the following career tracks and opportunities within our organization: Health Services, Wellness, Security/Concierge/Transportation, Sales/Marketing, Maintenance/Grounds, Communications, and more. The students ended their tour with a meal and presentation by Dining Services, Accounting, and Resident Programming.

We are proud to be part of this exciting partnership within the community, helping students to identify, at a young age, careers and opportunities that are available to them right here in their backyard. We hope to continue to partner with CareerSource on similar initiatives in the future.

 

Over the last year, you may have heard Plymouth Harbor reference the Community Education Program we plan to offer as a part of our new Memory Care Residence. It is our goal to offer education and training on dementia and brain decline to the greater Sarasota community, demystifying and normalizing the behaviors associated with dementia-related diseases. As we approach our Grand Opening date, we wanted to share with you some details on how we plan to implement this much-needed program.

Introductory Presentations
One-time presentations will be made to community groups, such as service organizations, Chambers of Commerce, civic groups, and faith-based organizations with basic information on the different types of dementia, community resources available, in-home care vs. residential care, and what to expect throughout the journey. These presentations will open the door to the possibility of a workshop series, residential care, or one-on one training for those who have an immediate or emerging need for further assistance.

Workshops
A series of small group workshops will be held in easy-to-access community locations, such as churches or community centers, with experts in the field of caregiving and providing support for the caregivers themselves. The topics will rotate, building on the skills needed to care for a person with brain decline: such as handling difficult behaviors, nutrition and cooking, emergency planning, and more.

One-on-One Training
Plymouth Harbor offers short-term rehabilitation in the Smith Care Center. Frequently, those short-term residents are experiencing brain decline and are discharged to their private homes at the end of the rehab under the care of a loved one. Many times this loved one is not equipped with the training or resources needed to confidently provide care. For this reason, we will offer education to the caregiver during the stay, or after the return home, so that a safe and successful return home is achieved.

Tailored to Audiences
Over time, the content of these presentations and workshops will be specifically tailored to address broad audience groups: families and caregivers, first responders, business and commerce, healthcare professionals, and service organizations. As an example, first responders will receive information on the behaviors of persons with brain decline and how to address their emergency needs. Retailers, such as restaurant owners, will receive training on how to identify and interact with persons with dementia so they can maintain quality customer service. Service organizations, like Rotary clubs, will receive training on how to continue meaningful volunteer opportunities for persons with dementia.

Expert Staff
A team of trained, community educators will be assembled to lead this effort. With partnerships from the local Alzheimer’s Association, Positive Approach® to Care, and our own certified trainers in Positive Approach® to Care, we will design a curriculum and market and deliver this program.

We look forward to making this program a reality in the coming months and to becoming a leading resource in the community.