Rod Burkett – co-founder and CEO of Gardant Management Solutions in Illinois – was today named the 2022 recipient of the Jan Thayer Pioneer Award by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), the assisted living voice of the American Health Care Association (AHCA). During his 24-year career in senior living, Burkett has pioneered accessibility and affordability for assisted living and has sparked awareness, conversation, and advocacy within the profession.
“Rod is an inspiration to the profession,” said LaShuan Bethea, NCAL executive director. “His work as an action-driven advocate and leader within assisted living makes him truly worthy of this award. His vision and dedication to affordable assisted living has laid a path for providers across the country and put quality care within reach for thousands of people who need it most.”
Burkett and his co-founder were one of the first responsive operators approved by the state of Illinois for development and certification under the uniquely licensed Supportive Living Program. He has been instrumental in leading and growing the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition, which remains the driving force in advocating, promoting, and protecting the Illinois Supportive Living Program. Because of his vision, Gardant Management Solutions serves over 5,600 residents in the Midwest who receive dignified lifestyles and care through services supported by the Medicaid waiver program.
Burkett also developed and hosted two “National Summits” in 2016 and 2017 for key influencers in assisted living to focus on existing and future needs for Affordable Assisted Living (AAL). He partnered with other providers and developers to petition multiple state governor’s offices to bring awareness to AAL. Furthermore, Burkett embraces the quality measures identified in the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program. Eighty-five percent of Gardant Management Solutions’ portfolio are Quality Award recipients, including one Silver Award winner in 2022.
He is also a leader at the national level. He has served on Argentum’s CEO roundtable, chaired NCAL’s Finance & Policy Committee for five years, and has served on the NCAL Board of Directors since 2015.
Burkett earned his Bachelor of Science with honors in Community Health and his Master of Business Administration from Eastern Illinois University. He has also earned graduate hours toward his Master of Health Administration from St. Louis University.
The Jan Thayer Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who have moved the senior care profession forward, positively affecting the lives of those served and those who serve. Recipients must demonstrate dedication, leadership, and considerable contributions to the profession. Burkett will be presented the Pioneer Award during a formal ceremony at the 73rd AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo in Nashville, Tennessee this October.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers, and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.