Seniors Housing Business

ASHA 2018

Seniors Housing Business is the magazine that helps you navigate the evolution of the seniors housing industry.

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AS H A 50 16 2018 ASHA 50 2018 By Jane Adler R. Alan Butler knows that the best brands survive the test of time. As CEO of Erickson Living, Butler understands that the Erickson name is a big plus, even in tough times. Founded by industry pioneer John Erickson, the 35-year-old com- pany based in Catonsville, Mary- land, focuses on private-pay continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) that require a refundable entrance deposit and monthly service fee. The Erickson brand has always been associated with an active lifestyle for moderate-income independent seniors. Brand loyalty helped reboot the company after Butler led the investment group that purchased Erickson out of bankruptcy in 2009. Butler — and a dedicated team of hard-working professionals — stabi- lized the company and has since leveraged the brand to grow the portfolio to 19 communities. What follows is a conversation with Butler about the evolution and durability of the Erickson brand, the future of the company, and what's ahead for the industry. What is your background? Alan Butler: I was the president of the investment company, Redwood Capital, when we started to look at Erickson as an opportunity. We took a pass on that opportunity at the end of 2008 because we felt the econ- omy was too volatile. But we stayed connected with the organization. We were very interested in the senior housing industry and we thought the culture at all of the Erickson communities was outstanding. In December 2009, we won the bid for Erickson and I was asked to lead the new company in January 2010. Frankly, when I was leading the acquisition effort on behalf of Redwood, I had not anticipated being asked to be the CEO, but I have been running Erickson Living now for almost a decade. How is the company different now from when you joined it? Butler: The first five years of my tenure were spent working with a dedicated team of staff to stabilize the company and build out the existing portfolio. When we bought the company, it had seven communities still in the development stage. We had to build healthcare facilities at those campuses, strengthen our corporate infrastructure, and add a development team. In 2010, we owned and operated 16 communities, and now we have 19. Our number of residents has grown from 21,000 to 26,000; and our employees from 12,000 to 15,000. We've built over 3,000 new units in that timeframe. Looking ahead, we have a very strong desire to bring the Erickson Living lifestyle to more seniors, and we expect to be the most active developer in the industry throughout the next decade. What surprised you about senior living? Butler: The business is far more complex than the average person might think. We are a combination of a lot of different types of businesses: development and construction, sales and marketing, healthcare, finance, dining, IT, etc. It takes a combination of a lot of skill sets to be successful in this business and you have to achieve excellence — consistently — in every area of the organi- zation. It is very complex, but incredibly rewarding. Is senior living a good long-term investment? Butler: Yes, I believe it is. You have to be patient and disciplined in order to be truly successful. It takes time to find a piece of land, obtain the necessary entitle- Q&A with Alan Butler The seasoned developer, owner and operator of well-branded, large-scale CCRCs is rolling out several new projects, investing heavily in existing communities and outperforming the industry. Erickson Living in full growth mode

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