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Senior Living Company Silverwave Pivots From Consulting to Third-Party Operations

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Transitioning from senior living consulting to operating a senior living community might be tougher than surfing a wave. Add in a global pandemic at the inception and that wave turns into a tsunami.

But Silverwave founder and CEO Katie Kleinsmith knew the switch was necessary to meet future senior living demand, and with that in mind her executive team built out a vision for a robust future as a third-party senior living management company.

Third-party management has become more common as senior living owners seek horizontal brand development, and regional growth across senior living brands.

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“There was fear around what was going to happen and we pivoted resources, clinical and operations experience of our team, to help other senior living owners,” Kleinsmith told SHN in a recent interview. “The pivot to third-party management was really what was needed at the time in the industry from our perspective.”

That stemmed after Kleinsmith, who worked with Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) and oversaw Marriott Senior Living’s service division after working with now-ProMedica’s ManorCare, and others formed a management consulting group. In January, Silverwave expanded its executive team with former Artis Senior Living, Rittenhouse Senior Living and Performance Senior Living founder Frank Wehr as partner and COO.

“We feel like those combinations of experiences positioned us well to work with owners today who are weary from Covid,” Kleinsmith said. “We feel like a unique offering in the market and we’ve been involved in our previous roles in hundreds of openings across the country.”

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As the executive nucleus formed amid the pandemic, fast-forward to present and Silverwave is now ready to sign its first contract with an ownership group. Kleinsmith noted several future opportunities, but none she was able to talk about as of mid-February.

“We’re at a capacity to grow, and we’re ready to do that,” Kleinsmith said on adding communities to its management portfolio. “We’re open to all regions of the country and we’re exploring our options in attractive markets.”

Ideal ownership groups going forward will be “campus settings” across the care continuum and large enough to support “quality leadership on site.”

For operations-level buildout, Kleinsmith and the Silverwave executive team have prepared regional staffing models for the “mid-Atlantic and Midwest” ahead of the first third-party agreement. Silverwave has recently chosen its tech platforms and systems in place to support operations-level teams, she added.

“We have access to everything at our fingertips and everyone on the team can see the data as it’s happening,” Kleinsmith said. “We’re aiming to grow steadily with multiple partners and our approach is to be very responsive to owners rather than reporting monthly.”

That means, Kleinsmith believes, the Silverwave team would shy away from high-profile management opportunities should they arise because “we know the pressure of investors down the hall from you.” As the acquisitions market thaws, she believes impending debt maturities of distressed operators will make way for a deluge of opportunity.

“Our goal really is to work with progressive owners who are in this space for the right reasons and know that there are going to be some ups and downs with it and are ready to,” Kleinsmith added.

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