“In the short time that I’ve been here at Plymouth Harbor, I have experienced a camaraderie with staff and residents that you don’t get to see in other campuses. I am excited to be part of the team and I look forward to using my experience in the field to help establish in-house construction here at Plymouth Harbor.” – Brian Bly

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce Brian Bly as our new Construction Superintendent. Brian joined the Plymouth Harbor team in August 2017.

In his new role as Construction Superintendent, Brian is responsible for organizing and directing the work of field personnel and trade contractors to meet Plymouth Harbor’s construction objectives, including cost, quality, schedule, equipment conservation, and safety for all assigned projects. Brian is part of our new Facilities Department, working closely with Vice President of Facilities, George McGonagill.

Before coming to Plymouth Harbor, Brian served as construction superintendent for Questar Construction Inc. from 1998 until 2013. He was responsible for overseeing the organization’s subcontractors, ensuring their work was performed correctly and ahead of schedule, in addition to daily work reports and working in partnership with project managers to identify and address any issues that arose, including delays, cost, time requirements, and the like. From June 2014 to August 2017, Brian worked with Kellogg and Kimsey, a commercial building and construction company, serving on projects including Hampton Inn Tampa, Aloft Sarasota/One Palm residences, Mallard Law Firm, and more.

Additionally, Brian attended Barclay Career Institute and served in the United States Marine Corp from 1987 to 1990. With more than 20 years of construction experience, Plymouth Harbor is thrilled to have Brian as a our new Construction Superintendent.

 

Two years ago, the State of Jobs Conference, hosted by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and aimed at high school sophomores, did not recognize the senior services industry as a known career track. This year, for the second time, Plymouth Harbor participated in the day-long conference by sponsoring the Healthcare track, staffing an exhibit booth filled with employment and volunteering opportunities, and representing the field of nursing to students interested in healthcare as a career.

On October 10th, more than 850 students from Sarasota and Manatee counties attended the State of Jobs Conference, now hosted by CareerSource Suncoast. Held at Robarts Arena, students arrived at the arena at 8:00 a.m. and were free to visit exhibits for colleges and sponsors (yes, Plymouth Harbor had a booth!). The keynote address was by Blair Bloomston, vice president of Game On Nation, a respected consulting group that works with high-profile corporations, teams, and other organizations to build leadership, teambuilding, and communication. Following the keynote, students were ushered to their respective tracks, where three sessions were held for each track, led by experts in the field, such as business/entrepreneurship, arts and culture, manufacturing/engineering, information technology, healthcare, and hospitality/tourism. Lunch was provided by Jason’s Deli, and career track sessions were followed by two final panel presentations addressing College Preparation and Career Preparation. Students returned to school at 2:00 p.m.

The healthcare track is the conference’s largest track, with more than 250 students in attendance. During Plymouth Harbor’s session, Stephanie Leathers, April Gillespie, and Danny Bushman, all nurses at Plymouth Harbor, led an interactive scenario. In this scenario, a gentleman (played by a student in the audience) fell and experienced a head wound and brain trauma. Each of the three nurses represented a different level of care for the gentleman, and an aspiring nurse in the audience helped to dress the patient’s wound. The students learned how residents move through our system, receiving the appropriate and compassionate care they deserve as their needs change.

This year, for the first time, the evening offered a Parent’s Night, where 140 parents were invited to have dinner and listen to presentations from each of the six careers tracks. Healthcare was again represented by Plymouth Harbor, with Senior Vice President of Philanthropy Becky Pazkowski discussing the variety of careers available in the healthcare field.

As we continue to be challenged by workforce issues — such as the shortage of workers in our community — it is important that Plymouth Harbor stands out as an employer of choice. We will continue to keep our industry at the forefront, and you can bet that this inspiring and respected field of services for older adults is now recognized as a viable career track, and, indeed, Plymouth Harbor is leading the pack!

 

“Whatever talents we have ought to be used to make the world better…and to make the human family happier.”

That is what Martha Jane Phillips Starr’s father told her as a child. Many of us might make a note of this and carry on, but she took this notion to heart, remaining devoted to it throughout her life.

There is no doubt that this spirit of philanthropy, which was ingrained in her at such a young age, is what led to the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Field of Interest Fund pledging a generous gift of $1 million to the A Commitment to Memory campaign, naming The Martha Jane Phillips Starr Memory Care Residence.

Many of you may recognize the name “Starr” – yes, Martha Jane was the mother of resident Phil Starr and mother-in-law to Barry Starr. But before this, Martha Jane was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1906 – 11 years before the U.S. entered World War I and 14 years before Women’s Right to Vote. She was the daughter of L.E. Phillips, co-founder of Phillips Petroleum Company (Phillips 66), and can be described as an extremely determined and dedicated woman.

Martha Jane was not given the opportunity to go to college like her brothers, and instead attended finishing school. In 1929, she married John Wilbur Starr, otherwise known as “Twink,” a University of Kansas-educated geologist, who happened to be a classmate of her brothers.

Originally, Twink worked at Phillips 66, but after they married, he decided to explore other careers. In 1931, they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and had two sons. During World War II, Twink volunteered for the Navy and was called away for duty in the Pacific. At this same time, Martha Jane enrolled their sons in Pembroke Country Day School. It was here that she got her true start in philanthropic work, helping with fundraising efforts and eventually becoming a trustee.

Martha Jane went on to volunteer in her local community with Junior League, the Red Cross, and Planned Parenthood, eventually serving as president for each. In the 1950s, she became involved with research at the University of Kansas Medical Center that focused on human reproduction. She believed this same attention could be applied to healthy marriages – preparing men and women for marriage as they prepared for careers. This became a major goal of hers, and in 1959, Martha Jane worked with the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) to create the Research Center for Family Development.

In 1963, she became one of the first women trustees at UMKC, where she was later awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. She also established the Family Studies Center and its Endowment Fund. In 1967, she created the UMKC Women’s Council, its Graduate Assistance Fund, and later, the Starr Education Committee.

When asked of his mother, Phil says, “She was a good mother and a committed volunteer.” Barry adds, “She was an incredible mother-in-law. She was so passionate about women’s issues and education.”

In 2011, Martha Jane passed away, and left her money to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, where she established the Field of Interest Fund. She named her son, Phil, and friends Mary Kay McPhee and JR Majors as trustees.

Her Will stipulated that her Fund be used to support causes that were close to her heart, and that they support the development of educational programs that assist youth and adults, and promote stable marriages and healthy family life. In May 2016, the trustees heard our case for why the new Memory Care Residence programming aligns with her life work.

We shared that our residence will be dedicated to promoting healthy family life by removing the daily burdens of hands-on care by loved ones of those affected by dementia, restoring spousal and family relationships that suffer during the caregiving phase of life. Because of our program, relationships between wives and husbands, daughters and sons, and grandchildren and friends can again be restored. The trustees unanimously agreed to authorize this major gift.

Most notably, this gift marked only the second time the Fund made a donation outside of Kansas City. The Starr family also has a special tie to the Sarasota community. After the war, Twink began working for RB Jones Insurance when none other than the Ringling Bros. Circus became a potential client. Twink was asked to visit with the circus, and later, after he won them over, he purchased a vacation home on Longboat Key, where their family visited for more than 40 years.

By example, Martha Jane taught her sons the importance of giving. Today, Phil sits on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board, and he and Barry are leading the A Commitment to Memory campaign.

Phil says, “I saw both of my parents live a long life, longer than expected – dad to 95 and mother to 105. Barry and I want to have the most caring experience possible when the time comes. We want to know that we, and our family, will be taken care of.”

Plymouth Harbor is most grateful to Martha Jane and the generous gift by her Field of Interest Fund. There is no doubt that the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Memory Care Residence will be dedicated to fulfilling her legacy.

 

“I am extremely happy to be part of the Plymouth Harbor family, and I am excited for the opportunity to serve as Director of Nursing for Home Care as well as the new Assisted Living and Memory Care residence. I look forward to working with the residents and bringing my 25 years of nursing experience to this position.” – April Gillespie

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce April Gillespie as our new Director of Nursing for Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Home Care. April joined the Plymouth Harbor team in August 2017.

In her new role as Director of Nursing, April is responsible for overseeing the professional nursing care and delivery of services for the Assisted Living and Memory Care departments in the new Northwest Garden Building as well as Home Care. In addition to establishing departmental policies and procedures, April is tasked with managing all personnel who provide direct patient care and ensuring that professional standards of community nursing practice are maintained.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, April worked at the Sarasota Health & Rehabilitation Center for six years, most recently serving as Assistant Director of Nursing. In this position, April oversaw nursing personnel, recommended the establishment of policies and procedures, and set objectives and goals for the 143-bed facility. Before that, April worked as Assistant Director of Nursing at Harmony Healthcare & Rehab Center and as Staff Development Coordinator for Magnolia Health & Rehabilitation.

A Registered Nurse, April has more than 25 years of experience in clinical settings, primarily focused in long-term care. She graduated from Sarasota Vocational Institute’s Practical Nursing Program in 1992, went on to earn her Associate of Science degree in Nursing from Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida) in 1996, and attended Hodges University in Fort Myers, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2004.

April is also the stepdaughter of Bert Adams, a concierge in our Smith Care Center who has been with Plymouth Harbor for more than 26 years.

Plymouth Harbor is thrilled to have April as a part of our team and truly values her expertise as our new Director of Nursing for Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Home Care.

 

In February of 2015, a new idea was presented by the employee wellness OnBoard team that would help build strong relationships between residents and employees by bringing them together on a more personal level – enter Insights. Insights is a monthly event where a resident shares their story with employees at Plymouth Harbor on the fourth Friday of each month during January–October, from 12:00–12:30, typically in the Private Dining Room. Residents are invited to be the featured speaker, employees sign up to attend, and lunch is provided by the Plymouth Harbor Foundation. Part of the inspiration for the Insights series was the notion that, by residents sharing the paths to their remarkable lives, our employees would perhaps feel invigorated and inspired to achieve some of the things they otherwise felt were unattainable. What we have found is that there are many benefits to the series: connections, inspiration, admiration, and self-fulfillment.

The deepening of relationships that have been cultivated through these monthly connections has been noteworthy. Karen Smith, an employee in Resident Programming, has attended nearly all presentations. She shared, “…The Insights program has been tremendously valuable to me as I seek a more personal connection with our residents.” Paul Pazkowski, an eTech at Plymouth Harbor, says, “When I heard Anne Burroughs speak, I learned that it is important to have a passion in life, but you may or may not make your living at it. From Charles Gehrie’s talk I learned that many people have innovative ideas, but it takes an inventor and a team to make one successful.”

Some of the stories that are shared have deep life lessons and some are riddled with what we might consider strife, yet the storyteller found it to be part of their fulfilling journey. For instance, Sue Johnson’s story began in Manhattan, where she slept in the living room or hallway of their apartment most of her childhood. She wasn’t complaining. This was part of her life and contributed to what has made her the resilient and positive woman she is today. Reina Jay Aavri Troiano was reticent about telling her story, saying that her life was rather unremarkable. However, going through the process of reviewing her life, she found the experience to be uplifting and fulfilling, and she delivered a review of her life that was quite remarkable.

Insights is videotaped by resident Phil Starr every month, who then edits and produces a digital recording that is loaded onto our website at PlymouthHarbor.org/Category/Insights/. DVDs are produced and given to the speakers to share with their families, and a copy is placed in the Resident Library. If you are interested in telling your story through Insights, please contact Becky Pazkowski at Ext. 398.

Current Insights collection:
Charles Gehrie (March 2015)
Don and Peggy Wallace (April 2015)
Beverly and Bill Vernon (May 2015)
Jane Smiley (June 2015)
Senator Marlow Cook (July 2015)
Ted and Fran Rehl (August 2015)
Walt Mattson (September 2015)
Susan Mauntel (October 2015)
Terry and Maureen Aldrich (January 2016)
Phil and Barry Starr (February 2016)
Paul and Macky Groen (March 2016)
Tom and Marie Belcher (April 2016)
Judy Liersch and Al Jennings (May 2016)
John Goodman (June 2016)
Wendy and Jim Underwood (July 2016)
Jerry and Nancy Kaplan (August 2016)
Joe Berkely (September 2016)
Anne Burroughs (October 2016)
Lou Newman (January 2017)
Tom Elliott (February 2017)
Connie Meadows (March 2017)
Reina Jay Aavri Troiano (April 2017)
Sue Johnson (May 2017)
David Beliles (June 2017)
Connie Sanders and
Carl Koenig (July 2017)
Tom Towler and Nancy
Lyon (August 2017)

 

In previous issues of the Harbor Light, we have largely featured residents’ involvement within the greater Sarasota community. However, there are so many ways that residents give generously of their time within Plymouth Harbor, particularly in our Smith Care Center (SCC).

Residents lend a hand in the SCC in several ways. Activity Director Judy Sarnowski stresses that she has both official and unofficial volunteers — those who may not consider themselves formal volunteers, but make a point to stop in and check in on their neighbors on a consistent basis, in one way or another. Judy stresses that no matter how big or small their time commitment, both of these types of volunteers play an important role in the lives of SCC residents.

Currently, Judy has 19 Plymouth Harbor residents on her official volunteer roster, along with six community volunteers. Together, they contribute more than 50 hours each month, helping to accomplish a large number of activities and programs that otherwise would not be possible without their time and dedication. Volunteering takes on many different forms — bingo buddies; room visits; arts and crafts; table games; seasonal decorating; distribution of communications like the Harbor Light or Weekly Flyer; and so much more. “We are blessed to have an in-house base of volunteers,” Judy says. “Because of them, we are able to increase our programming, and you can really see first-hand the positive difference in the lives of our residents.”

The most important part of working with a volunteer base is ensuring that the volunteer is doing something they truly enjoy and are passionate about. As an example, resident Jerry Kaplan began volunteering a couple years ago and indicated an interest in offering a type of current events program. Today, he holds a well-attended newspaper reading and current events discussion on Monday mornings in the SCC Living Room.

There is always a need for more volunteers, especially as we come closer to the Grand Opening of our new Assisted Living and Memory Care Residences. If you would like to learn more, or if you are interested in working in the SCC, whether that be on a regular or as-needed basis, please contact Judy at Ext. 260. As a volunteer, you will be given an informative orientation manual and asked to complete a short questionnaire in order to best match your interests and time commitment with resident need.

We thank our resident volunteers for devoting their time to enhancing the lives of their neighbors.

 

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.

 

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce Stephanie Leathers as our new Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care. Stephanie joined the Plymouth Harbor team in July 2017.

In her new role as Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, Stephanie is charged with helping to open our new Assisted Living and Memory Care residences in the Northwest Garden Building as well as planning, organizing, developing, and coordinating overall operations. Stephanie will also help to establish policies and procedures, but most importantly, she will be instrumental in the development and implementation of our premier programming in the new residences.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Stephanie served as Administrator at Mount View Assisted Living in Lockport, New York, where she was responsible for the daily operations of the 150-bed facility with an internal certified Home Health Care Agency. In her time at Mount View Assisted Living, she was instrumental in the establishment and opening of a 118-bed sister facility in a nearby county, and managed a staff of over 80 employees. Before that, Stephanie served in several different capacities at Elderwood Senior Care in Williamsville, New York. Her positions there included Administrator, Resident Care Manager, Assistant Director of Nursing, and Unit Manager.

A Registered Nurse, Stephanie attended Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, New York, where she received her Associate in Applied Science degree with a major in nursing. While there, Stephanie received the Elena T. Perone Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Plymouth Harbor is thrilled to have Stephanie as a part of our team, and we look forward to seeing her personal touch on the opening of our new Assisted Living and Memory Care residences.

 

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is among the largest public health systems in the state of Florida, offering specialties in heart, vascular, neuroscience, and cancer services, in addition to a far-reaching network of outpatient, long-term care, and rehabilitation centers and programs. That said, it is also one of Sarasota County’s largest employers, with over 5,000 employees, 900 physicians, and 600 volunteers.

There are many facets to Sarasota Memorial, which was founded in 1925 and is governed by a nine-member elected Sarasota County Public Hospital Board. This is one of the only politically-elected public boards where members serve on a volunteer basis, at no cost, weighing in on major issues such as overall hospital function, its operations and challenges, real estate acquisitions and expansions, and more. Plymouth Harbor residents have served as members on this board, including John de Jongh and Tom Towler. Tom served on the board for more than nine years and resigned in January 2016. John, who has been actively involved with Sarasota Memorial and Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc., for many years, was appointed to fill Tom’s vacant at-large seat and served for one year. 

Sarasota Memorial also depends on its hospital volunteers, who are given a variety of assignments, usually once per week on a four-hour shift basis. Resident Nancy Lyon has been a volunteer for nearly 20 years in many different capacities, alongside Tom Towler who volunteered from 1991 up until last year. Additionally, Alida de Jongh became involved several years ago, formerly working in the gift shop and now serving in the dispatch office. “We’re assigned jobs throughout the hospital, so we’re walking a lot,” Alida says. “But we’re so glad to help because it frees up the nurses for the more important jobs they need to be doing.”

Another element, mentioned previously, is the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation. Established in 1976 as an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Foundation was formed to help raise and distribute funds to improve programs, education, and technological advancements. As such, the Healthcare Foundation may receive gifts, grants, and bequests for restricted or unrestricted funds, and expends those funds for equipment, clinical studies, research, training, education programs, and capital improvements. Resident Bill Stanford has worked with the Healthcare Foundation for close to 20 years. He currently sits on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees as Vice-Chair and formerly served as Treasurer and Chair. John de Jongh now serves on the Healthcare Foundation’s marketing and development committee, and Tom Towler also served on the board of the Foundation for nine years.

Furthermore, Sarasota Memorial’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for the ongoing review of research conducted at the hospital and protecting the rights of those who volunteer to participate in that research. It is guided by the principles set forth in the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research report, and IRB members are appointed by the President/CEO of Sarasota Memorial. Members include physicians, pharmacists, nurses, community members, legal counsel, and hospital employees. Residents Tom Towler and Barbara Balaban have served as community representatives of the IRB.

To learn more about the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, you may visit www.smh.com.

 

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.