Marlin Thomas began his professional life working in his family’s poultry business. As this business grew, the Thomas Family had a desire to be involved in the hospitality field and opened a 30-unit motor inn and 100-seat family restaurant in 1966 and 1967.
Under Marlin’s leadership, these endeavors grew and now, four decades later, his business portfolio includes the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Lancaster, Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton in Harrisburg, Property Management & Development, Corporate Services and the recently announced expansion of the Willow Valley Inn & Suites.
In the early 1980’s, Marlin and Willow Valley Associates also began the development and management of the retirement communities with a vision of bringing the hospitality model to senior living. Today, the award-winning Willow Valley Communities are among the most respected and largest retirement communities in the United States, with more than 2,500 Residents from 37 states.
Marlin has received numerous Awards/Recognitions including “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” from Ernst & Young; Lancaster Chamber of Commerce distinguished “Exemplar Award”; Delegate to the Republican National Convention representing the 16th Congressional District; and Societas Generalis, honorary society of Lancaster General Health.
Through the years, Marlin has been active in numerous charitable and business foundations and boards including the Lancaster Health Alliance, Water Street Ministries, and Global Disciples International Board.
Marlin lives south of Lancaster with his wife. They have two daughters, four granddaughters and two grandsons.
Chief Executive Officer
John Swanson joined Willow Valley in 1991. As CEO, he is responsible for overseeing the development and management services provided by Willow Valley Living to Willow Valley Communities.
Prior to joining Willow Valley, John was senior director with A.V. Powell & Associates, an actuarial and consulting firm providing services to continuing care retirement communities nationally. Before entering the field of retirement housing and long-term care, his experience included employment with Toll Brothers, Inc., a publicly held NYSE residential home-building company, and with a national public accounting firm specializing in real estate development.
John serves on the NAHB 50+ Housing Council Board of Trustees Committee. He has also served on the Boards of Directors of Teachers Protective Mutual Life Insurance Company, the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United Way of Lancaster County, and the National Chronic Care Consortium.
A graduate of Lehigh University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Economics, John earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Business. His professional affiliations include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
President and Chief Financial Officer
Dennis Griest joined Willow Valley in 1990 as divisional controller and has since held positions of increasing financial and leadership responsibilities. In April of 2017, he was promoted to his current role as President and Chief Financial Officer, a role in which he is responsible for overseeing the management services provided by Willow Valley Living, as well as the financial operations and risk management for Willow Valley Communities.
Prior to joining Willow Valley, Dennis held a number of various finance and accounting positions with various local and regional companies including Schreiber Wholesale Services, Commonwealth National Bank, and Kuntz Lesher Siegrist Martini & Associates-CPA.
Dennis is a member of the Board of Directors of Hospice and Community Care (Lancaster, PA), serving on their audit (chairperson) and finance committees. In addition, he is a member of the Board of directors of CARE, Ltd.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Scott Summy has spent most of his working life at Willow Valley, where he recently celebrated his 41 year anniversary. His career began at the Willow Valley Inn and Resort, where he learned the art of hospitality from the Thomas family and became passionate about customer service. After joining Willow Valley Communities in 1984 with the opening of Willow Valley Manor, Scott served as the Manager of Dining Services.
The continued growth of Willow Valley Communities provided Scott the opportunity to expand his responsibilities and serve as Executive Director for Willow Valley Communities’ Manor Campus for 13 years. This experience gave him a greater appreciation for working directly with Residents and their families, as they navigate changing health needs and was beneficial in his subsequent role as Director of Business Development, in which he expanded our Mission to Home and Community Based Services and led pursuits of new business opportunities to better serve our customers.
In his current role as Chief Human Resources Officer, Scott leads the team responsible for attracting and retaining the talent – at all levels – that allows Willow Valley Communities to deliver on its mission.
Scott currently serves on the Board of Directors for LeadingAge PA, the state association for not-for-profit retirement communities. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Lancaster Area Senior Services, the Lancaster County Career and Technology Foundation, and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Executive Forum for Aging Services Providers.
Chief Marketing Officer
Brian Rutter joined Willow Valley Living in 2017, where he is responsible for leading marketing, sales, public relations, and community engagement for Willow Valley Communities.
Prior to joining Willow Valley, Brian held a number of marketing, communications, and sales leadership roles at various companies including Delta Air Lines, Deloitte Consulting, KPMG Consulting, and Armstrong World Industries. Most recently he was Vice President, Marketing for the National Association of Convenience Stores outside of Washington, DC. Brian, a Lancaster, PA native, returned to the city to join Willow Valley after a 30-year career spanning eight cities across the United States.
Brian is a member of the American Marketing Association, where he is a past president of the Washington, DC chapter. He is immediate past president of the board of the Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Association, where he also serves on the Marketing & Communications Committee of the F&M Board of Trustees.
A graduate of Franklin & Marshall with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business, Brian earned his Master of Business Administration degree from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Executive Vice President of Residential Operations
Craig D. Thompson joined Willow Valley Living in 2018 as Executive Vice President of Residential Operations. He oversees Property Management and Services, Information Technology, Resident Life and Wellness, and Residential Operations.
Prior to joining Willow Valley, Craig enjoyed a 35-year career in operations management positions at High Steel Structures, Case New Holland, and Armstrong World Industries. Most recently he was Vice President of Operations at High Steel Structures in Lancaster, PA.
A native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Craig earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management from The Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Drexel University, and a Master of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Craig is a Founding Member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Organizational Dynamics and is certified in Production & Inventory Management (CPIM) from the American Production & Inventory Control Society (APICS). He is also a past Junior Achievement Business Economics Instructor and Penn State Smeal College of Business mentor to honors students.
Willow Valley Communities
Vice President of Culinary Services
Sharon Habanec has spent 27 years at Willow Valley Communities, where her joy in daily interaction with Residents and passion for service excellence allowed her to assume progressively responsible positions within the Culinary Services department.
Sharon also spent a few years as Director of Life and Wellness, where she developed a Corporate Wellness Team and spoke at the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce about successful initiatives for team member wellness.
Since returning to Culinary as the Vice President, she and her team have been developing creative options for residents, including al fresco dining, take out and a farm-to-table initiative that provides residents with an abundance of fresh, local produce and also supports our local farmers. Sharon’s passion for team satisfaction and continued growth and development have been the key to the success of her department.
Willow Valley Communities
Vice President of Healthcare Services
Kendall Hunsicker, a highly qualified healthcare professional, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management from York College (PA) and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame. Kendall is a Registered Health Information Administrator and has her Nursing Home Administrator (NHA) license.
With more than 30 years’ experience in various areas of healthcare, Kendall appreciates the opportunity to continually expand her knowledge and apply it to innovations that benefit our residents.
She has been with Willow Valley Communities for more than a decade and delights in observing or hearing about the many ways team members go above and beyond to demonstrate their care for Residents.
Senior Director of Home and Community Based Services
Jennifer joined the SmartLife VIA Willow Valley team in June, 2016. As the Senior Director of Home and Community Based Services, her responsibilities include overseeing SmartLife, Connections at Home VIA Willow Valley, and the Audiology department at Willow Valley Communities. Jennifer has 25 years of progressive experience in health related organizations. Most recently, she served as the Director of Community Relations and Marketing for a hospice and palliative care organization in Central Pennsylvania. Prior to that, she was a Marketing Liaison for a rehabilitation hospital, and an Occupational Therapy Clinician, at area hospitals and continuing care retirement communities. Jennifer is proud to be part of the SmartLife team, and the Willow Valley Communities family. She enjoys making a difference, helping others, and takes pride in delivering extraordinary customer service.
Willow Valley Communities
Senior Director of Manor Campus
Danielle Geyer serves as the Senior Director of Manor Campus for Willow Valley’s Manor Campus. She joined Willow Valley Communities in 2001 and serves as the Administrator for approximately 1,000 Residents and is responsible for providing oversight to the Administrative Team, Residential Nursing, Chaplaincy, and Social Work.
Prior to assuming her current position, Danielle served as the Manager of Resident Services for Willow Valley’s Manor community. She loves building relationships with Team Members and Residents and feels privileged to serve at Willow Valley Communities. Danielle holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Millersville University and has devoted her career to working in the field of aging.
Willow Valley Communities
Senior Director of Lakes Campus
Glennda Hart first joined Willow Valley in 1985 as a part-time Social Worker at the Manor. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work from Millersville University.
Glennda likes to say that she “grew up” with Willow Valley. Over the next 16 years, as Willow Valley expanded, Glennda also expanded her responsibilities and accepted various management positions in the Supportive Living settings, including obtaining her Personal Care Home Administrators license and Nursing Home Administrators license.
In 2010, after a 9-year period of time expanding her career outside of Willow Valley in various Supportive Living environments, Glennda was pleased to be able to return to Willow Valley Communities, first as a Personal Care Home Administrator. In her current role as Senior Director of the Lakes Campus, she is responsible for providing oversight to the Administrative Team, Residential Nursing, Chaplaincy, and Social Work for the Lakes, Spring Run, Villas, Gables and Midrise.
Willow Valley Communities
Senior Director of Resident Life and Wellness
Stacy Musser has maintained a steadfast commitment to Willow Valley throughout her 30 years of service. Beginning her early working career in the Culinary Services Department, she quickly developed her skills and held various positions. Her next professional move at Willow Valley was in residential Administration, where she spent 13 years assisting the Executive Director and managing a team of 15 receptionists at multiple sites. It’s here where her passion for customer service and her dedication to all those she served led to her being presented with the Facilitator of the Year award by LeadingAge, our Pennsylvania association of not-for-profit senior services.
In 2010 she accepted the position of Director of Resident Life and Wellness where she is responsible for Willow Valley’s state-of-the-art Cultural Center and our activities and wellness programs. She is proud of the team she has developed and utilizes their various expertise to continuously elevate programming at Willow Valley. In 2013, under her leadership, Willow Valley was awarded the Best 50+ Lifestyle Award for our Fitness & Wellness Program by the National Association of Home Builders. More recently, in 2015, Willow Valley Communities was a gold winner in the National Mature Media Awards Program for our Renaissance magazine The program recognizes the nation’s finest marketing, communications, educational materials, and programs designed and produced for older adults, based on overall excellence of design, content, creativity and relevance to the senior market.
Stacy has a passion for collaborating with other departments and going the extra mile to enhance the overall experiences of our residents and team members.
Willow Valley Communities
Senior Director of Property Management & Services
James (Jim) Tracy, Senior Director of Property Management and Services, has been a member of the Willow Valley Communities team since January 2013. Jim’s responsibilities include the oversight of the Property Management and Services’ Teams which includes Maintenance, Grounds, Housekeeping & Floor Care, Security & Transportation, and Renovations, to ensure the maintenance, viability, and renewal of strategic assets for Willow Valley Communities.
Jim has over 30 years’ experience as an Electrical Engineer, Project Manager, and Facilities/Maintenance Manager. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh and is a registered PA Professional Engineer. Jim also serves as an evening technical instructor at Lancaster County Career and Technology.
Jim is proud to be part of the Willow Valley family. He feels great satisfaction in making a difference, helping others, and delivering extraordinary customer service to our Residents and Team Members.
Senior Director of Information Technology
Bob oversees all aspects of information technology for Willow Valley Communities and SmartLife VIA Willow Valley.Bob joined Willow Valley Communities in 1996 as a Network Administrator. He took ownership of the technology systems, greatly reducing external consulting costs. As Willow Valley Communities’ infrastructure and applications expanded, Bob was promoted to IT Manager and over time hired a dedicated IT Team to support the technology needs of the organization. In 2012, Bob was promoted to Director of IT, and in 2017 became Senior Director of IT.While at Willow Valley Communities, Bob earned certifications as a Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) and Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA).Prior to his roles at Willow Valley Communities, Bob worked for Sci-O-Tech as database administrator, for Vartan Enterprises as network administrator, and for Allied Communications as database programmer.Over the 23 years Bob has been with Willow Valley Communities, he has helped to build a solid and secure infrastructure designed for future growth. Bob’s passion for leadership and the personal growth of his team has led the IT Department towards its goal of providing excellent customer service, transparent communication, and longevity.