LeadingAge Florida, an affiliate of the national professional organization for the senior housing industry, honored Harry Hobson as their 2013 “Executive of the Year” at the annual conference held in Orlando, Florida, July 14-18, 2013. The announcement was a complete surprise to Harry who was enjoying his coffee surrounded by colleagues and Plymouth Harbor staff during the awards luncheon on Wednesday, July 17 at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando.He was listening to the description of the individual to be named Executive of the Year. Only when certifications in Ohio emerged at the end did he look up to say, “Uh-oh, this is embarrassing.”  He went on to accept the award at the podium and graciously thank his industry colleagues.

Unbeknownst to Harry, the senior staff at Plymouth Harbor had collaborated on the nomination that resulted in this recognition of his exceptional leadership and management style as well as specific accomplishments of the past year.  Among those accomplishments is the establishment of The Plymouth Harbor Foundation, which garnered charitable contributions of $760,000 in the first year to support life at Plymouth Harbor.  His team also fully implemented Electronic Medical Records in the Skilled Nursing and Short Term Rehabilitation Center. And during this year, the design and capital campaign for a newly renovated and expanded Wellness Center at Plymouth Harbor is underway and the conceptual planning of a new assisted living facility which will also serve memory support residents. 

These accomplishments all occurred during a financially secure year of high occupancy rates while achieving a 5-Star rating for the skilled nursing facility with U.S. News & World Report and the Governor’s Gold Seal Award for Excellence in Long-Term Care.


Harry thanks his wife, Nancy. They truly work as a team.

Harry has served as CEO of Plymouth Trustee of Plymouth Harbor since 2004.  From the beginning, he employed his transparent, communicative, and participatory style of leadership to pull together teams that would work together for the good of the whole.  The result of his early leadership were a new structurally sound electrical and plumbing system, an economic stabilization program led by employees that resulted in no layoffs and a balanced budget, and a satisfied resident population, as evidenced by Holleran resident satisfaction surveys. 

After hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, Harry’s leadership skills revealed themselves among his senior housing peers when he recognized that those in our industry in and around Sarasota could and should pull together during these catastrophic disasters.  He reached out to five peer organizations in the area to form a consortium that would work together in a supportive nature during any impending emergency. The consortium continues today.  The executives from all member organizations meet on a regular basis to share best practices, so that every provider of services to seniors in our area has the most recent and comprehensive information possible to deliver the best of care to those we serve. 

With a career in both hospital and retirement community administration, he holds advanced degrees in Business Management and Healthcare Administration, and has completed gerontological studies at George Washington University.  He is also a licensed Nursing Home Administrator in Ohio and Florida. 

Harry is an educator as well and has held adjunct faculty and lecturer positions in the Fisher College of Business and College of Public Health at The Ohio State University where he taught Executive Leadership and Long Term Care Policy, respectively. He has served two terms as a member of the House of Delegates of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging and was elected to the Virginia Association of Homes and Services for the Aging Board of Directors.  He served as Chairman of the Health Services Agency’s Certificate of Need Review Board for hospitals and nursing homes in Ohio.  He currently serves on Governor Scott’s Continuing Care Advisory Council in Florida. 

Is this enough evidence that Harry deserves the recognition he has received?  Perhaps, yes. But there is more.  We can’t measure the admiration, appreciation and affection that Harry inspires, but it was present in full force at a reception thrown in his honor at Plymouth Harbor the Monday after the award luncheon. Residents, staff, board members, and former board members lined up to congratulate the honoree and to sign Harry’s banner of honor. Guests enjoyed cake, punch and many stories of how Harry, and his wife Nancy, have enriched the community of Plymouth Harbor through their leadership and care.

LeadingAge Florida was established in 1963 as a Florida not-for-profit corporation, as the only statewide association representing the full continuum of care for seniors.  The organization serves nearly 400 mission-driven communities trusted with providing quality care and services.  LeadingAge Florida promotes practices that support, enable, and empower people to live fully in the Third Age.  This year’s conference marked the 50th anniversary of the organization.