One of Moore County larger and most prominent employers is undergoing leadership change at the top.
Lori Portfleet, regional vice president of operations for Trinity Senior Living Communities, has been named interim president for St. Joseph of the Pines, replacing Steven Kastner. Kastner was recently promoted to president and CEO for Trinity Senior Living Communities in Livonia, Mich.
“I am very excited about working with the team at St. Joseph of the Pines, and I feel blessed to be part of a very special community,” Portfleet said. “The history of SJP and its service to the community is inspiring. I look forward to working diligently with the board and community to continue this mission,” she said.
St. Joseph of the Pines offers a full continuum of retirement housing, health care and community-based services for older adults. Its two main campuses are Pine Knoll and Belle Meade in Southern Pines, but it also operates affordable housing and health services for seniors in Aberdeen, Robbins and Carthage, and its community operations extend to Cumberland, Lee, and Robeson counties. The company employs more than 700 people in the region and is a Trinity Senior Living Community continuing the legacy of the Sisters of Providence.
Portfleet brings more than 25 years of health care experience to her new role, including stints as CEO of a 484-bed hospital and president of Spectrum Health Continuing Care, both located in Michigan.
She started her new role on Aug. 21.
“I am thrilled to be here and part of this. It is very heartwarming to be a part of this ministry,” Portfleet said. “I have been learning about the far reaching services that St. Joseph’s offers. People think about Belle Meade and Pine Knoll but there is so much more. I couldn’t grasp the scope of services until I got here.”
Portfleet said she is enjoying getting to know the staff, board and residents.
“I’ve been impressed with the wellness center. It is in use. This is not just something that looks good on the brochure but is something actively used. Every time I walk by, I see residents in there working out with big smiles on their faces,” she said. “There is a real focus here on health and wellness and keeping people at their highest level of function.”
She sees her primary role as continuing the organization’s progress and growth established under Kastner’s direction. In previous positions in Michigan, she also served in a transitional role assisting communities that had lost their leadership, for one reason or another.
“The interim role is a bridge between what was and what will be. In this case, it is all positive. The staff and our residents all appreciated Steve’s leadership and are happy for his promotion. It’s just been very positive. I want to continue his good work,” she said. “As long as it takes the board to find the right fit to make a decision, I am happy to serve in the interim.”
Kastner had been president and CEO for St. Joseph of the Pines since July 2014. He said he had mixed emotions about leaving St. Joseph of the Pines.
“I am proud of the many accomplishments we have made and continue to make each and every day,” he said. “I feel blessed to have been a part of this organization for the last two years. I look forward to staying connected to St. Joseph of the Pines in a different capacity.”
Kastner added that he and wife Michelle will keep their primary residence in Southern Pines.
“We will split our time in Michigan,” he said. “We enjoy the people and the community here, and look forward to retiring here full time one day in the future.”
In other staffing news, Robert Dickson, executive director of the LIFE Center in Fayetteville for St. Joseph of the Pines, has been promoted to vice president of health services. He will oversee The Health Center, a 176-bed skilled nursing facility; The Coventry, a 60-bed assisted living facility; and three Family Care Homes, all located in Southern Pines.
“Robert embodies all the qualities of a true leader,” said Caroline Hendricks, vice president of home and community based services for St. Joseph of the Pines. “His drive and desire to provide the highest quality care and services will be a great addition to our health services.”
Dickson served as director of nursing at The Health Center from 2006-2011 before leaving St. Joseph of the Pines to become vice president of clinical services at Meadowlark Hills in Manhattan, Kansas. He returned to St. Joseph of the Pines as executive director of LIFE in May 2012.
Debra Bateman, clinic supervisor and nurse practitioner at LIFE, has been promoted to fill Dickson’s position there.
“Robert certainly left his mark on our LIFE program, so Deb will have big shoes to fill,” Hendricks said. “But Deb has been an asset to LIFE since she joined us over three years ago and will be able to use her patient-centered approach to continue to grow our PACE (Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) program.”