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Gardant CEO Message – April 2023

The latest news from Gardant!


From the Desk of the CEO 

Rod Burkett 


Twenty-four years ago, I cofounded Gardant Management Solutions with a former business colleague, Blair Minton. Our goal was to increase accessibility and affordability in the assisted living sector, and we had a fairly simple, straightforward business plan. As we discussed the formation of the company, Blair stated that he would find the investors and make it ‘big’, and my role was to develop the management platform and make it ‘work’. After decades of investing blood, sweat and tears into this mission, as of April 1, I will be transitioning from CEO to Board Chairman and turning over the reins of day to day management to my successor. 

My successor is actually a Co-Presidency scenario in which our current Chief Operating Officer, Julie Simpkins, and current Chief Financial Officer, Greg Echols, are collaborating together in shifting up into this new shared position. I envision that this action will provide our company and our hundreds of employees with continuity and forward momentum, along with a new energy they will bring to this movement. 

We have grown to be the 10th largest management company nationally in the assisted living industry, while serving rural, suburban, and urban communities. While we have realized both successes and challenges over the years, there are a few recent events that have illustrated how far we have come from our humble beginnings. As of 2022, over 85% of the 60 communities in our portfolio have been designated as Bronze or Silver Award winners in the national prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Quality Awards Program. In addition, over a third of our assisted living communities were designated as “Best in Market” in the inaugural year for the assisted living sector to be included in US News and Word Report’s national survey, and just last month our portfolio was designated as “A Great Place To Work” by the international organization, A Great Place To Work Institute. 

I have a great comfort level and confidence in Julie and Greg stepping up to further lead the company in their new positions, and I look forward to my continued engagement with them as Chairman. I have long cherished a quote by the former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, that I think sums it up nicely: “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible!” I have witnessed for many years Julie and Greg’s passion and commitment to our mission and to the thousands of lives that our collective work has positively impacted. I want to express my sincere thanks to them and the thousands of other teammates over the years who have brought our mission to life on a daily basis. 


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