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Augustana Care Leadership Team

Augustana Care is inspired by the grace and wisdom residents and families share with us every day.

Our commitment is exemplified through compassion, integrity, pride in our work and being responsive to the needs of those we serve. Our leadership team is dedicated to living these values.

Tim Tucker
President and Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer Timothy H. Tucker

Tim Tucker
President and Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer Timothy H. Tucker has been employed by the organization since 1984. His responsibilities include planning, implementing and evaluating Augustana Care’s overall direction. Mr. Tucker earned a BFA from the University of Minnesota and is a member of the American College of Health Care Administrators.

Matthew Kern
Vice President of Operations and COO

Vice President of Operations and COO Matthew Kern

Matthew Kern
Vice President of Operations and COO

Matthew Kern has more than 18 years of leadership experience in the post-acute, skilled nursing and rehabilitation sector, including roles serving non-profit, for profit and multi-facility organizations. He holds a master of business administration from the University of Phoenix and is licensed as a nursing home administrator in multiple states.

Craig Kittelson
Vice President of Finance and CFO

Vice President of Finance and CFO Craig A. Kittelson

Craig Kittelson
Vice President of Finance and CFO

Craig A. Kittelson has spent the last 21 years at Augustana Care as controller and is currently chief financial officer and vice president of finance. Recently, Mr. Kittelson was awarded the Kal Michels Executive Leadership award by Aging Services of Minnesota for outstanding leadership in the senior services field.

Katherine Kopp
Vice President of Senior Development

Vice President of Senior Development Katherine Kopp

Katherine Kopp
Vice President of Senior Development

Katherine Kopp worked more than 25 years in proprietary and nonprofit senior housing organizations. She has extensive experience partnering with public and private entities to develop projects that meet the needs of the community and was involved in development and/or oversight of over 50 senior housing facilities in Minnesota and Colorado.

Kay A. Gudmestad
Vice President of Philanthropy

Vice President of Philanthropy Kay A. Gudmestad

Kay A. Gudmestad
Vice President of Philanthropy

Kay Gudmestad has vast experience with major and planned gift programs, capital campaigns and foundation and government grants. Prior to her current position, she served on fund development teams for Resources for Child Caring and Minnesota Public Radio, and was President/CEO of WomenVenture and of the parenting organization Meld.

Michael Johnson
Vice President of Human Resources

Vice President of Human Resources Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson
Vice President of Human Resources

Mr. Johnson joined Augustana in May 2003 and was previously employed at Universal Hospital Services for 25 years, as senior vice president of administration. Mr. Johnson is responsible for the overall human resources and benefit activities for approximately 2,200 employees at Augustana Care locations.

Dave Saemrow
Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations

Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Dave Saemrow

Dave Saemrow
Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations

With more than 25 years of experience, Dave Saemrow has aided more than 150 communities nationwide with occupancy development plans, including continuing care retirement communities; assisted living and memory care residences; short-term rehabilitation, adult day programs, hospice, therapy and other services. He is responsible for the occupancy growth at Augustana Care and provides expertise in niche development, sales and marketing systems, public relations, brand development and social media while using a broad range of innovative concepts.

Shawn Johnson
Director of Information Technology

Shawn Johnson
Director of Information Technology

Mr. Johnson has been employed at Augustana for 14 years. He has worked in the technology field for more than 17 years. His areas of expertise include security, systems design and implementation, network and database administration, product development, telecommunications management, support management, electronic health records administration and business continuity. Mr. Johnson is responsible for the overall information technology operations for approximately 2,700 employees at over 26 locations company-wide. He holds an Associate of Applied Science degree; other certifications include Microsoft certified systems engineer, Microsoft certified systems administrator, certified Novell engineer, CompTIA A+ and N+, and nationally registered emergency medical technician.

Shabir Walji
Corporate Director of Environmental Services

Shabir Walji
Corporate Director of Environmental Services

Shabir Walji has been with Augustana Care more than 40 years. He is responsible for planning, organizing, developing, evaluating and effectively directing the environmental services staff and programs in order to ensure a safe and secure environment for all residents, staff and others consistent with regulations and established best practices.

Sharon M. Wilson, RN, CPHQ
Corporate Compliance Officer

Corporate Compliance Officer Sharon M. Wilson, RN, CPHQ

Sharon M. Wilson, RN, CPHQ
Corporate Compliance Officer

Sharon Wilson has worked with Augustana Care 22 years as a unit nurse, in quality management and in staff development. She works with alternative care facilities and programs on compliance, quality management, housing/community based services and clinical support. She is a licensed nursing home administrator, certified in health care quality.

Julie Thurn-Favilla
Corporate Director of Nursing Services

Julie Thurn-Favilla
Corporate Director of Nursing Services

Julie Thurn-Favilla has career-long experience in nursing and long-term care. Before arriving at Augustana Care, she was a clinical consultant at CliftonLarsonAllen and director of nursing in a long-term care hospital. Ms. Thurn-Favilla is a registered nurse, certified registered nurse assessment coordinator and an active member of Aging Services of Minnesota.

Jan Kohout
Corporate Director of Clinical Services

Jan Kohout
Corporate Director of Clinical Services

A registered nurse with more than 30 years experience, Jan Kohout is director of clinical services for sixteen Augustana Care assisted living locations. Previously, Jan served older generations as a director of nursing; executive director/director of nursing for a tertiary geriatric psychiatric facility and regional manager of clinical services at an international eldercare organization.

Mike Bastian
Corporate Director of Purchasing

Mike Bastian
Corporate Director of Purchasing

Mike Bastian’s responsibilities include oversight of vendor relationships, product/vendor selection and contracts. He focuses on standardizing products/services to achieve the best possible service for those we serve. He is also involved with large renovations, site improvements and smaller remodeling projects, and holds a BA in marketing from Loras College in Iowa.

George Serra
Corporate Food Services Director

Corporate Food Services Director George Serra

George Serra
Corporate Food Services Director

George Serra brings over 30 years culinary arts experience to Augustana Care. He worked for Hilton Hotels International, where he was instrumental in hotel start ups in global markets at the Waldorf Astoria and at Hilton’s Los Angeles headquarters. He is one of only 58 internationally certified chefs in the country.

Jeff Placzek
Creative Director

Jeff Placzek, Creative Director

Jeff Placzek
Creative Director

Jeff Placzek has been employed with Augustana Care for thirteen years. His areas of expertise include photography, graphic design, digital layout, web design and marketing. His photography has been featured in local news media and national magazines. He has been producing artwork professionally for more than 25 years. Jeff recently added aerial drone photography and video to his capabilities.

Jenna Zark
Director of Communications

Jenna Zark
Director of Communications

Jenna Zark joined Augustana Care in 2012. Previous positions include director of development at Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities; communications manager at Resources for Child Caring and director of public relations/development at Melpomene Institute. She is also a published playwright and columnist.

Jay Pizinger
Regional Director of Campus Operations

Regional Director of Campus Operations Jay Pizinger

Jay Pizinger
Regional Director of Campus Operations

Jay Pizinger has site responsibility for seven campuses. He graduated from the University of St Thomas and is a CPA (inactive). Jay was a national senior living consultant for six years and has held a variety of leadership roles in nonprofit communities for older adults for more than 25 years.

Mary Jo Thorne
Regional Director of Housing

Mary Jo Thorne
Regional Director of Housing

Mary Jo Thorne has more than 20 years experience with housing and assisted living settings and oversees various housing locations at Augustana Care. Areas of expertise include market identification; project coordination; section 8 requirements; alternative care, elderly waiver programs and leasing; and market rate, independent, memory care and enhanced assisted living.

Craig McDaniels
Regional Director of Marketing - Senior Living

Craig McDaniels
Regional Director of Marketing - Senior Living

Craig McDaniels brings over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing to his role at Augustana Care. His background includes sales and marketing leadership roles in a continuing care retirement community setting, assisted living, memory care and new home communities. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Amanda Paligraf
Regional Director of Marketing and Post-Acute Development

Amanda Paligraf
Regional Director of Marketing and Post-Acute Development

Amanda brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to Augustana Care. She began her career in commercial insurance with Lloyd’s of London, transitioned into the health care field in 2001 and never looked back. Amanda graduated summa cum laude from Indiana State University with a bachelor of science degree in human resource development. She and her husband are raising four children. She is passionate about her family and about making a difference in older adults’ lives.

Terri LaBerge Berndt
Director of Employee Benefits at Augustana Care

Terri LaBerge Berndt
Director of Employee Benefits at Augustana Care

Teri LaBerge Berndt has been with Augustana Care since 2004.  She has 30+ years experience in human resources management, with expertise in the areas of employee benefits, compensation/payroll, recruitment/retention, workers compensation and employment law.  Her current focus at Augustana is employee benefits and ACA compliance.

Sara Shore
Director of Recruitment

Sara Shore
Director of Recruitment

Sara has more than 12 years of staffing industry experience recruiting employees in the executive, health care and maintenance fields. She directed career services at Minnesota School of Business, responsible for placement of nurses, medical assistants and health care students. “I’m excited to work with residents at Augustana Care because I want them to experience compassionate care, happiness and respect. I have the opportunity to positively impact residents’ lives by finding employees who embrace the vision of Augustana Care." Sara received a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from Gustavus Adolphus College and a MBA from Globe University.