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Our Team

Augustana Care’s work is built on the premise that every organization is unique, with its own needs and approach. In creating and managing housing communities for older adults, we tailor our strategies to your goals so you can focus on the future:

  • Anticipating the changing needs of our communities
  • Providing cost-effective solutions
  • Developing new housing and services with optimum effectiveness and reach

We are pleased to introduce you to Augustana Care’s team members placing their knowledge, skills and proficiency at your service:

Development Team

President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Tucker

Tim-Tucker-Augustana-Care.jpgAugustana Care has employed Timothy H. Tucker since July 1984. Previously, he was employed by Fairview Hospital from 1974 to 1984. His current responsibilities include planning, implementing and evaluating the overall direction of Augustana Care and all its business entities. Mr. Tucker is currently the chief executive officer of Augustana Care, a $170 million health care provider in Minnesota. Mr. Tucker has assisted in business development, strategy and management as an investor and consultant for numerous start-up and high growth companies. He earned a BFA degree from the University of Minnesota and is a member of the American College of Health Care Administrators. Mr. Tucker also currently holds his nursing home administrator license with the State of Minnesota.

Vice President of Operations and COO Matthew Kern

Photo-Matthew-Kern-web.jpgMatthew 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.

Vice President of Finance and CFO Craig Kittelson

Craig-Kittelson.jpgCraig A. Kittelson has spent the last 21 years at Augustana Care in the capacity of controller and is currently the chief financial officer and vice president of finance. He earned a BS degree from Moorhead State University and is a certified public accountant - inactive. Mr. Kittelson has been instrumental in assisting the senior housing and long-term care industries with designing appropriate reimbursement systems and has served on the Health Care Insurance Reciprocal Board since 2001. He has experience in HUD financing, reporting and asset management. Recently, Mr. Kittelson was awarded the Kal Michels Executive Leadership award by Aging Services of Minnesota for outstanding leadership in the senior services field.

Vice President of Senior Development Katherine Kopp

Kathy-Kopp.jpgKatherine Kopp has over 25 years of experience working in both proprietary and nonprofit senior housing organizations. Areas of expertise include market identification, site selection, program analysis, financial analysis, design development, project coordination and Medicaid and Medicare eligibility. She has extensive experience partnering with public and private entities to develop projects that meet the unique needs of the community and was directly involved in development and/or management oversight of over 50 senior housing facilities in Minnesota and Colorado. Ms. Kopp has served on numerous committees to advance appropriate regulation and reimbursement for senior services. She earned a BS degree and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and is a licensed nursing home administrator.

Vice President of Philanthropy Kay A. Gudmestad

Kay-Gudmestad.jpgKay Gudmestad, Augustana Care’s vice president of philanthropy, has extensive experience in leadership of non-for-profit organizations and fund development. She previously served as president and CEO of WomenVenture, a Minnesota-based economic development organization and as executive director of Meld, a national parenting education organization. She also served as Minnesota Public Radio’s (MPR) senior development officer for institutions. She has vast experience with foundation, corporate and government grants programs as well as the development of organizational structures and volunteer/staff teams supportive of comprehensive development efforts. She is applying her expertise to build the donor base for the overall organization and help Augustana Care’s campus staff initiate new philanthropic strategies.

Director of New Business Development Tom Opatz

Tom-Opatz-DSC_2975_website.jpgTom Opatz has worked in the health care field for more than fifteen years. He is a licensed nursing home administrator who worked ten years as director of real estate development for an eldercare provider before joining Augustana Care. He holds a degree in health care administration from Saint Cloud University.

Management Team

Director of Reimbursement Barbara Hope

Ms. Hope has worked in the long term care industry for major chain organizations as director of reimbursement since 1987 and has considerable experience with all third-party-payer billing. She has also worked as a business office consultant for CliftonLarsonAllen where she spent many days on the road doing seminars and assisting clients with billing issues. Currently, Ms. Hope is working for Augustana Care heading up their centralized billing department.

Vice President of Human Resources Michael Johnson

Michael-Johnson.jpgMr. Johnson joined Augustana in May 2003. He was previously employed at Universal Hospital Services, Inc. (UHS) for 25 years, as senior vice president of administration. Universal Hospital Services is a $250 million for-profit organization that provides various equipment and services to 5,000 acute and alternate care customers from 75 nationwide offices. In his position as senior vice president of administration at UHS, Mr. Johnson managed the human resources, compensation, benefits, training, facilities, legal, quality assurance and technical services departments. Mr. Johnson is responsible for the overall human resources and benefit activities for approximately 1,400 employees at Augustana Care locations. Mr. Johnson earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota.

Director of Information Technology Shawn Johnson

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.

Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Dave Saemrow

Dave-Saemrow.jpgDave Saemrow develops, implements and oversees marketing and advertising for Augustana Care’s health care centers, housing properties, adult day programs, therapy services and community-based programs. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in acute health care, managed care and in service to older adults. He has managed start-up marketing for assisted living and memory care and initiated several specialty care programs. Mr. Saemrow has considerable experience in both for-profit and nonprofit communities and organizations. He also has a significant marketing management background, including experience in business and marketing plan development; strategic planning; sales training and supervision; and consumer brand loyalty programs. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota.

Corporate Food Services Director George Serra

George-Serra.jpgGeorge Serra brings over 30 years of culinary arts experience to his position at Augustana Care. Chef George worked for Hilton Hotels International, where he was instrumental in hotel start ups in global markets. He also worked at the world-famous Waldorf Astoria in New York City; and at Hilton’s Los Angeles headquarters where he served as a member of the corporate executive committee, the only chef in Hilton history to do so. He is one of only 58 internationally certified chefs in the United States today. Chef George is responsible for menu planning, product quality and creativity in the planning process. He is also responsible for supervising a professional staff and catering team. Chef George is a member of the American Culinary Federation.

Corporate Director of Nursing Services Julie Thurn-Favilla

Julie Thurn-Favilla has career-long experience in nursing and long-term care. Prior to arriving at Augustana Care, she was employed at CliftonLarsonAllen as a clinical consultant and before that was the director of nursing in a long-term care hospital. She is responsible for managing patient care services in Augustana Care’s long-term care facilities including, but not limited to, quality of nursing care, effective utilization of personnel and compliance with facility policies, development and implementation of nursing goals and objectives. Ms. Thurn-Favilla is a registered nurse who received a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota. She is a certified registered nurse assessment coordinator and an active member of Aging Services of Minnesota.

Regional Director of Housing Mary Jo Thorne

Mary Jo Thorne has more than 20 years of experience in housing with services settings and is a passionate advocate for older generations and for all those we serve. She is responsible for the oversight of a variety of housing locations at Augustana Care. Her areas of expertise include market identification, project coordination, section 8 requirements, alternative care and elderly waiver programs and leasing. Her responsibilities include fiscal and personnel management, quality assurance, resource development, public relations and marketing.

Corporate Director of Environmental Services Shabir Walji

Shabir Walji has been with the Augustana Care team for more than 40 years. He oversees housekeeping, maintenance, janitorial and laundry duties for all Augustana Care locations. Mr. Walji 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. He oversees maintenance technicians, engineer technicians, engineers, housekeepers and the use of contracted services for the building, ground and equipment maintenance. Other duties include hiring, training and supervising staff, including assigning tasks and completing performance evaluations, managing department budgets, purchasing supplies and keeping abreast of federal and state regulations.

Corporate Compliance Officer Sharon M. Wilson, RN, CPHQ

Sharon-Wilson.jpgSharon Wilson has been employed with Augustana Care for the past 22 years. Within the Minneapolis Health care center she has worked as a unit nurse, in quality management and in staff development. Previously, she worked on a hospital medical surgical unit and as a volunteer working with homeless people. Ms. Wilson works with alternative care facilities, entities and programs in the areas of compliance, quality management, housing/community based services and clinical support. She holds a BA degree from College of St. Benedict, an RN degree from College of St. Catherine and a masters in health and human services from St. Mary’s University. She is also a licensed nursing home administrator and is certified in health care quality.

Contact us at kkopp@augustanacare.org or 612-238-5445 to learn more about how Our Team can help keep you focused on the future.