Seniors Housing Business

MAY-JUN 2018

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

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34 www.seniorshousingbusiness.com Seniors Housing Business n May-June 2018 Tim Fossa, Senior Vice President Group Head, Healthcare Banking. With more than 27 years of commercial banking experience, Tim focuses on the healthcare and senior living lending market. Byline Bank and Tim bring a strong capital base and financial acumen to meet your banking needs. Contact Tim today tfossa@bylinebank.com p: (312) 660-5812 c: (630) 886-1908 180 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60601 bylinebank.com/shbmag National Senior Housing Lender Ā©2018 Byline Bank. Member FDIC. partners. The last we operate on a third-party management contract, though we do also have an invest- ment in that property. We're very selective of who we partner with. It's very strategic from a growth standpoint. SHB: Do you prefer develop- ment or acquisitions, and what does your current pipeline for each look like? Nowokunski: We've grown through acquisition of value-add assets, acquisition of distressed assets, ground-up developmentā€¦ we've done it all. We're dedicated to New Eng- land, which makes it very difficult to grow a portfolio from develop- ment because the lack of availabil- ity of land. The development cycle is anywhere from one to 3.5 years. We currently have three ground- up developments in the pipeline and two value-add acquisition opportunities in the pipeline as well. Our whole growth strategy is being very prudent, making sure each property stands on its own, sticking to our geographic market area and meeting the needs of the particular market. We have no intention of being the biggest. We just want to be the best at what we do. We've been asked many, many times, "When are you going national?" It's not something we want to do. SHB: Why not go national? Coughlin: We're very involved in every community. We go out to the communities once or twice a year for listen-and-learns. We talk about what we're doing well, what we can do better, insights the asso- ciates have. So it's really important our communities are accessible to the home office. Staying local also helps us know the talent we're hiring. Having 30-plus years of experience in this space, there are a lot of relation- ships we can leverage to bring in the appropriate talent to be leaders. We also have a competitive advantage. We grew up in the area. We have very close ties to the experts here. It's very chal- lenging for the competition to develop scale in this market. They typically buy their way in if they want to get into the New England marketplace. Solving the labor puzzle SHB: What is the biggest chal- lenge facing seniors housing today? Coughlin: You'll hear it from every operator: Attracting and retaining the right labor pool is the biggest burden we're faced with right now. We've been successful because we've invested a lot of time, energy and enthusiasm into our culture. They say it's difficult to attract millennials to this sector, but we've been able to tap into some incredible associates that have adopted the Northbridge way and provide incredible care. Nowokunski: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we'll need 1.3 million new caregiv- ers in the next five years. That's pretty daunting, especially given the shortage that we're seeing today in the labor pool. A lot of companies are partner- ing with colleges. We're starting at the high school level because we believe we've got to instill in them that desire and drive about this industry before they make [career] decisions in college. That's how we build our future workforce. We have a program specific to one of our Avita projects in Need- ham, Massachusetts with an all- boys school. Kids come over and learn foodservice, or program- ming, or activities or the business aspects. Over the years we've grown that program from five kids per year to 25. Coughlin: At the end of the semester, we invite the families of the kids to come in and provide them with recognition. A fam- ily member came up and said, "Thank you for changing my fam- ily's life. My mom has full-blown dementia. We as a family were really struggling to manage her needs. It was destroying us. "With the guidance that you provided to my son, he taught our entire family what was going on in mom's world. We were able to adjust our thinking of what we could do with my mom. This has been the best part of his whole high school experience." Nowokunski: We have to be so creative as an industry when it comes to labor. We need to look at new and different ways to get people involved in this business and show them how rewarding it is. It's a huge challenge, and it will continue to get more and more challenging over the next few years. Coughlin: Many of our compet- ing operators are doing "predic- tive indexing" that figures out the traits of good workers. Our team, being a tad bit rebellious, was not going to ever succumb to us mak- ing our hiring process stringent. We threatened to come up with a program that tested aptitude and personality. We tested the idea on a core group. We had a large contingent Northbridge Cos. owns Avita of Brunswick, a memory care community in Brunswick, Maine. Approximately half of Northbridge's units are in stand-alone memory care communities.

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