Bev­er­ly Res­i­dent Marks 20 Years with Smith Senior Living

November 19, 2018 • Source: 19th Ward Quarterly

While in his senior year at Marist High School in 1992, Kevin McGee, now pres­i­dent and CEO of Smith Senior Liv­ing, vis­it­ed his grand­moth­er, Helen O’Con­nor, at Wash­ing­ton and Jane Smith, Smith Vil­lage’s fore­run­ner. As an active Bev­er­ly res­i­dent, she had just tak­en up res­i­dence at the life plan com­mu­ni­ty locat­ed at 2320 W. 113th Place.

Now mark­ing 20 years of ser­vice at Smith com­mu­ni­ties, McGee points to the orga­ni­za­tion’s most recent achieve­ment — 95 per­cent occu­pan­cy at both Smith Vil­lage and its sis­ter com­mu­ni­ty, Smith Cross­ing — as an affir­ma­tion of the wis­dom and ded­i­ca­tion of Smith trustees and staff as the not-for-prof­it cel­e­brates 94 years of unin­ter­rupt­ed ser­vice to old­er adults.

It may have been those first impres­sions that inspired McGee to study soci­ol­o­gy at East­ern Illi­nois Uni­ver­si­ty. In 1997, McGee com­plet­ed an intern­ship at Smith while earn­ing a mas­ter’s degree in geron­tol­ogy, also at East­ern Illi­nois University.

After my intern­ship, I took a job with anoth­er orga­ni­za­tion for seniors, but it just did­n’t have the same per­son­al approach to res­i­dents and employ­ees,” McGee said. When he received an offer to become admis­sions coor­di­na­tor at the Smith Home in 1998, McGee recalled, I was reluc­tant at first because at the time Smith was a sin­gle-site orga­ni­za­tion, but then I was assured there were plans for growth and that I would have oppor­tu­ni­ties for advancement.”

The bev­er­ly res­i­dent and father of four with Dr. Moira McQuil­lan McGee has seen many changes. When I first start­ed at Wash­ing­ton and James Smith, some res­i­dents were WWI vet­er­ans,” McGee said. Then came the Great­est Gen­er­a­tion. Now, we’re wel­com­ing those who served dur­ing the Kore­an War and start­ing to talk with Viet­nam veterans.”

Today’s age 62-pus adults are for­ward-look­ing and con­cerned about the qual­i­ty of their lifestyle. Thanks to the GI Bill, more have had the ben­e­fit of high­er edu­ca­tion and enjoyed oppor­tu­ni­ties to trav­el. And they’re more health con­scious, accord­ing to McGee.

Res­i­dents today want more ameni­ties, both in their apart­ments and in their com­mu­ni­ty,” McGee said. They want full kitchen in their one- and two-bed­room apart­ments, but they also want to enjoy healthy meals pre­pared by an exec­u­tive chef. They also exer­cise more, so our fit­ness cen­ters are state-of-the-art. HUR exer­cise equip­ment auto­mat­i­cal­ly adjusts to wrist­bands res­i­dents wear to mon­i­tor their indi­vid­u­al­ized work­out rou­tines. Like Smith Cross­ing, Smith Vil­lage has a salon and spa, onsite movie the­ater and library. At Smith Vil­lage, we’re in the process of adding a pub.”

In 2000, McGee was pro­mot­ed to asso­ciate exec­u­tive direc­tor at Wash­ing­ton and Jane Smith. In 2003, he com­plet­ed an MBA with a con­cen­tra­tion in health­care at St. Xavier Uni­ver­si­ty and took the helm for Smith Cross­ing in Orland Park, a life plan com­mu­ni­ty then still under construction.

Smith’s Board has a his­to­ry of being pru­dent stew­ards of resources for our orga­ni­za­tion as well as our res­i­dents,” McGee said. So in the late 1990s, it was a big com­mit­ment to open Smith Cross­ing on a 32-acre cam­pus that was once farm­land. While Smith Cross­ing was still under con­struc­tion, it became appar­ent it was essen­tial to rein­vest in the Bev­er­ly Mor­gan Park com­mu­ni­ty and rede­vel­op the Smith Home into what is now Smith Village.”

As part of Smith Senior Liv­ing’s renewed com­mit­ment to the 19th ward, McGee assumed respon­si­bil­i­ties such as Smith Vil­lage exec­u­tive direc­tor in 2007. In 2012, the Smith Senior Liv­ing board of trustees pro­mot­ed McGee to serve as CEO.

Like many Smith Senior Liv­ing trustees and staff whose rel­a­tives live at Smith com­mu­ni­ties, McGee has wel­comed sev­er­al of his own to Smith Vil­lage: his great aunt, Bet­ty O’Con­nor; his aunt and uncle, Rita and Char­lie O’Con­nor; his moth­er-in-law, Pat McQuil­lan; his moth­er’s first cousin, Wal­ter O’Grady and — as of April 2018 — his father and moth­er, Phil and Noreen McGee.

I have enough rel­a­tives liv­ing at Smith Vil­lage for a good size Thanks­giv­ing din­ner,” he said. Hav­ing rel­a­tives live here, shows how much Smith trustees and staff believe in Smith com­mu­ni­ties. My extend­ed fam­i­ly is all in.’ ”

In recent years, McGee has shep­herd­ed the fed­er­al­ly man­dat­ed tran­si­tion from paper files to elec­tron­ic med­ical records, and he’s over­seen major expan­sions and enhance­ments on both Smith cam­pus­es. Most recent­ly, Smith Cross­ing broke ground for anoth­er wing with 46 pri­vate suites for short-term reha­bil­i­ta­tion programs.

Through every­thing, Smith Senior Liv­ing com­mu­ni­ties have main­tained a five-star rat­ing with the fed­er­al reg­u­lat­ing agency, Cen­ters for Medicare & Med­ic­aid Services.

We know that sus­tain­ing a high lev­el of ser­vice requires not just ded­i­cat­ed peo­ple, but gen­er­a­tions of ded­i­cat­ed peo­ple. We had our start in the Bev­er­ly Mor­gan Park com­mu­ni­ty, and thanks to a gen­er­ous endow­ment in 1929 from Emi­lie Smith we can con­tin­ue as a not-for-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion backed by resources that ensure peace of mind.”

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