By Jim Feldman
Have you ever wondered how Riderwood compares to other Erickson Living communities? I asked an expert who has been with Erickson from the beginning— our executive director, Gary Hibbs, who may be the most experienced executive director in the Erickson system.
He has been at Riderwood for just over a year now, but it is his fourth time in this position and he also has been a regional executive director. He has been executive director at Henry Ford Village, in Detroit (which no longer is in the Erickson system), Cedar Crest, in New Jersey, and Oak Crest, in Parkville, MD. He also worked for a while at Charlestown, in Catonsville, MD.
He says that while there are many similarities between residents in all of these communities, there are some differences. New Jersey folks are pretty outspoken. “They tell you what is on their minds,” says Gary. “People in Michigan are more laid back.”
What about our sister communities, Oak Crest and Charlestown? Gary says that they are much more Maryland oriented than Riderwood, looking to Baltimore as their metropolis while Riderwood, in a suburb of the nation’s capital, is Washington, D.C. oriented.
Because of our location, says Gary, we have a more diverse population than other Erickson communities, whose residents mainly are drawn from their local regions. Riderwood residents come from all over the country and the world and their general education level is very high.
Gary has dedicated his whole career to making life as good as it can be for older people. He says the seed was planted when he was a young boy and his grandmother moved in with the family.
“She had many problems in her older years,” he says. “I decided then and there that I would do everything I could to improve things for people like her.” He became superbly qualified for this mission, obtaining a law degree, a masters degree in social work with a specialty in gerontology, and a license in nursing home administration.
Gary is an exceptionally good judge of executive talent. While at Cedar Crest he had to choose a replacement for a departing associate executive director. One applicant for the job was a Naval Academy graduate named Chip Warner. Gary offered Chip the job and trained him in the ways of community management. Chip departed Riderwood after a highly successful five years to become regional executive director for midAtlantic and other Erickson Living communities.
I would say we are very lucky to have Gary Hibbs in charge of our management. For him it isn’t just a job; it is a calling.
CAMPUS CAPERS BY R. WOOD
Riderwood keeps me going
Observer says: In every older person there’s a young person wondering what happened