Our Team

“I am very proud to be part of such a wonderful team. I have always lived by a simple principle that if you surround yourself with talented people and treat them well, great things happen. Great things do happen at Watermark Retirement Communities. Over the years, we’ve developed state-of-the-art systems, and we’re proud of them. But it’s really our amazingly committed associates and residents that make Watermark communities such uncommon places. I continue to find inspiration in that every day.” – David Barnes

David Freshwater Ever since he and his brother started a garage band in junior high school, David has been a consummate entrepreneur. With an undergraduate degree in environmental design (architecture) from Miami University and a graduate degree in finance from the University of Arizona, David finally found his niche in senior housing when he founded The Fountains in 1985.

Based in Tucson, Arizona, The Fountains was engaged in development, acquisition, ownership and management of a variety of companies that provided housing, hospitality and health care to mature adults. Twenty years after creating The Fountains brand and business with virtually no capital investment of his own he sold the venture to a publicly traded company in June of 2005 for approximately $500 million dollars.  David is recognized in the senior living industry especially for his innovative vision, solid management track record, financial strength, and long term growth strategy.

A member of ASHA since 1992, David is currently on the Executive Board of that organization which serves as an industry think-tank, plotting the future direction of seniors’ housing.

David BarnesI am very proud to be part of such a wonderful team. I have always lived by a simple principle that if you surround yourself with talented people and treat them well, great things will happen. Over years, great things have happened at Watermark Retirement Communities and continue to happen every day.

My career began with Fountains Retirement Communities in 1988 when I served as an operational trouble-shooter. Traveling to communities across the United States, typically living at the community and working with the Executive Director to implement our policies, procedures and systems, I could not have asked for a better primer in healthy aging. I met a resident who worked with Harry S. Truman and still spoke of him with fond enthusiasm, and another who, never having learned to swim, picked a date to swim with Bottle-nosed dolphins in Boscay Bay for her 98th birthday celebration. Another resident went sky diving as a remedy for a seriously debilitating muscular disease. Talk about expressing your Self!

In October of 2006, we changed our name from Fountains Retirement Communities of Arizona to Watermark Retirement Communities. As President of Watermark Retirement Communities I ensure that we have the right people, in the right place, doing the right thing: serving our associates, residents and clients. Over the years, we’ve developed state-of-the-art systems, and we’re proud of them. But it’s really our amazingly committed associates and residents that make Watermark communities such uncommon places. I continue to find inspiration in that every day.

Misty HansenThere are not many industries in which financial leaders feel they directly impact the quality of peoples’ lives. Healthcare is one which is why I have dedicated over 20 years to the healthcare finance industry. I began my career as a certified public accountant serving many industries and ultimately felt that Healthcare provided the greatest challenge with the opportunity to make a difference in the community. As the CFO of an Integrated Academic Medical Center I was responsible for leading the organization through significant strategic initiatives while always taking the time to listen to and talk with doctors and nurses on the frontlines of caregiving, educating them about finances to give them a real understanding of the sometimes complex financial concepts they face in their work and community. This education allowed them to make informed choices on care delivery models. With the right financial stewardship, higher quality care and a better patient experience can be delivered at a lowered cost.

With my background in university-based Academic Medicine, I am excited to be part of a Watermark team that is recognized for its willingness to forge partnerships in research, education and clinical care that lead to innovations in care delivery models and lifestyles. Working from both a management and operations perspective, as well as project development, I help create and implement the cohesive strategic financial approaches that foster innovation, partnership and profit, while still having the opportunity to talk with and educate individual care associates on the frontlines.

I have a BS in Finance with an emphasis in Economics from Saint Mary’s College of California and an MBA from University of Phoenix. I find supporting my community particularly rewarding and serve as Board Member, Children’s Clinic for Rehabilitative Services and am Past President and Board Member of the Pima Community Access Program (PCAP), a not for profit bridge to healthcare for the uninsured.

Chris Casteel, Managing Director

I’ve worked in healthcare since 1990, starting with my time in the United States Air Force. I’ve been in the senior housing and healthcare field since 1999 and my experience ranges from the management of free-standing skilled nursing centers to large CCRC campuses. I have degrees in nursing and in business administration and I am currently licensed as a Registered Nurse and a Nursing Home Administrator.

I worked for The Fountains for approximately 2 years before the Sunrise acquisition and was then transferred to Illinois where I eventually took on the role of Cluster Executive Director/Associate Area Manager of 3 communities. I most recently served as the Campus Executive Director for a CCRC in Cincinnati, OH.

It’s an amazing time to join Watermark as a Managing Director and have the opportunity to lead multiple teams as we grow and create communities where residents and associates thrive every day. The culture, vision and enthusiasm that Watermark creates are unparalleled in the seniors housing and hospitality profession and empower individuals to achieve their best in life. I’m excited about the present and the future with Watermark as we lead the way in creating “un-retirement” living.

When I’m not in a community serving as a resource to our residents and associates, I’m enjoying a wide range of activities with my wife, our three children and two dogs. I also enjoy the opportunity to hit the links for a round of golf with friends or take to the slopes to carve up a fresh layer of snow.

Richard M. Howell, Managing DirectorMy career with The Fountains started in 1998 when I joined the company as a financial analyst. After making a couple of trips to communities, I quickly realized how much more fun and rewarding it is to work with residents and associates rather than just the numbers.

Before long, I was given the opportunity to work as Assistant Executive Director at The Fountains at La Cholla in Tucson, Arizona. As a part of this role, I traveled around the country to provide coverage as an Interim Executive Director at a variety of Fountains communities. This gave me the opportunity to experience many great communities, and help solve an extremely wide variety of challenges. Eventually, I became a full-time Executive Director, first in Michigan and later back at The Fountains at La Cholla.

Today, I oversee four communities in Arizona as Managing Director. This is my most recent stop on the exciting journey I am taking with Watermark Retirement Communities.

Lynn Navolio, RN, Managing DirectorI sincerely believe there is no job more gratifying than mine. As a Managing Director for Watermark, I foster the passions of our associates while celebrating the myriad ways our residents express themselves. As an RN fueled by a need to ensure the wellbeing of others, Watermark provides an environment where I can express myself.

I have worked with seniors and caregivers for over 20 years, witnessing the gradual but necessary changes in our industry. I am proud to be one of Watermark’s leaders. Together we are committed to effecting change in the future of senior living. Few employers offer the opportunity I have to influence the quality of life for our residents and associates. Charged with the initiative of re-defining healthcare in our communities, I am thrilled at the prospect of making a difference now and in the years to come.

In my 13 years with Watermark, I have been fortunate to serve in a number of capacities ranging from Director of Nursing, Quality Partner, Executive Director and my current role as Managing Director. I have enjoyed each role and look forward to the next 13 years.

Mike Hughes, Managing DirectorI’ve worked in the senior housing industry for over 30 years, serving in several positions including Director of Marketing, Administrator/Executive Director, and Vice President of Operations. I joined the Fountains in 1998 and during my tenure I managed communities in CA, AZ, OK, MI, IL WA and NY. After the sale of The Fountains in 2005, I became a Regional Director of Operations with Sunrise Senior Living to oversee many California assets and all of the Fountains communities that were transferred to Sunrise. I truly appreciate all the personal relationships that I’ve fostered over the years with residents, family members, associates and homeowners associations.

I’m passionate about senior living and especially enjoy making a positive impact on the lives of the seniors. Often times, the “little” things are what truly matter to the residents. Quality service and a genuine, caring disposition are a large part of what makes a difference for our seniors and I’m proud to serve each day to improve their quality of life.

When not traveling between communities, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, pretending to be a chef, savoring good wine, playing golf, collecting art and cruising around the world. I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Watermark family. It is my pleasure to contribute to Watermark’s commitment to creating communities where people thrive.

Cathy Lubanski, Managing DirectorSoon after receiving my BA in Communication Arts and Sciences and a MA in Speech Language Pathology from Michigan State University, I discovered my life’s passion – serving seniors. In 2002, with eighteen years in the profession, I joined Watermark Retirement Communities as the Executive Director for The Fountains at Franklin in Southfield, Michigan. In 2014, I became a Managing Director, overseeing Watermark communities in Michigan, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas.

I love my job because every day is another opportunity to provide quality resident care. I sincerely enjoy spending time with residents and helping them continue to thrive. Plus, working with the WRC team has provided me the opportunity to grow professionally and develop relationships with many inspiring, dedicated associates.

When I’m not at work, I spend as much time as I possibly can with family and friends. I also enjoy being outdoors, working out and reading.

Kristi Roberts, Managing Director I embarked on a career in the senior housing industry in 1998 and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the varied challenges of roles ranging from Director of Operations, Regional Director of Sales, Executive Director and Managing Director. Just over a decade into my career I joined Watermark as an Executive Director in the Phoenix, Arizona area. In 2012 I was promoted to the position of Managing Director, overseeing Watermark communities in Iowa, Missouri and most recently, New York.

As part of the Watermark family, I’m most excited about the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of our residents and associates. I enjoy watching our associates develop, learn and grow professionally each day. It’s extremely rewarding to work for a company where creating and celebrating success is a vital part of our culture. Hearing from our residents and family members how happy they are to make one of our communities their home is always the highlight of my day.

When I’m not working with my communities I spend as much time with my family as possible, enjoying the great outdoors, either on the lake, camping or vacationing at the beach.

Kristi Roberts, Managing Director Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful to work in senior housing with the Watermark team. Back in 1991 – which seems like a lifetime ago – I took my first senior housing position as a part time activity assistant and never looked back. I’ve continued to work with seniors ever since. I went on to earn my BA in Public Relations and Communications at the University of Kansas, and that educational experience has helped me work with my teams.

In 1996 I was recruited for a Sales Director position at The Fountains at La Cholla by a former co-worker and was instead, asked to serve as the Executive Director. This was an incredible opportunity and a great beginning to many happy years at Watermark Retirement Communities. I now serve as Managing Director for our Arizona communities as well as The Fountains at the Carlotta, in Palm Desert, CA.

The best parts of my job include coaching and training Executive Directors. Their success is my success, and watching an Executive Director, department head, housekeeper, maintenance associate, concierge or other associate resolve an issue and make the communities a better place for our residents, truly makes me thrive.

Outside work, as a self-proclaimed car freak, I love attending auto shows. I’m currently working on the renovation of my home and also enjoy exploring Tucson and seeing places and things I’ve never seen before, spending time with new friends and traveling.

Mary Beth Farrell, Chief Compliance OfficerI am very excited to have joined such an outstanding team. I have always been happiest in a fast-paced, stimulating and challenging environment and that is definitely Watermark Retirement Communities. We are always looking to create and share best practices with our teams and always looking to change the paradigm of health services in our senior care environments.

My career began as a Registered Nurse. Completing a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) allowed me the opportunities to impact health services through administrative and educational roles. A law degree enables me to advise on regulations and measures to lower risk. I work closely with the Directors of Health Services and Programming to keep our residents safe.

I joined Watermark in January of 2008 after consulting with the Watermark Retirement Communities administrative team for six months. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and coaching others. I have a good imagination, a lot of energy and I’m very enthusiastic. I have always believed I could do anything I set my mind to; it is a pleasure to work with a team that envisions possibilities, commits to action and makes it a reality.

Greta Fruhling Frazier, Director of Licensing and ComplianceGreta brings more than fifteen years of senior housing experience to Watermark Retirement Communities. She began her career in senior housing as a Senior Analyst, conducting operational analyses as well as financial and market feasibility assessments, including valuations of potential purchases. Greta served as Vice President of Operations with The Fountains and created and managed standards of operational performance that address every detail of operation, including resident and employee satisfaction, community financial performance and staffing, as well as health care and regulatory compliance.

Greta earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Arizona with a concentration in finance.

Debbie Penn, Director of RecruitingMy first job as a student at Northeastern University was in a nursing home in Cambridge, Ma. Apprehensive at first to work in a nursing home I knew after my first day that I would dedicate my career to working with seniors. Over 20 years later I’ve never looked back. Working in this industry has been an amazing career choice and I feel that I have been able to make a difference and touch many lives.

I got my nursing home administrators license in Pennsylvania in 1992. In 1993 I came to work at Logan Square East.. It was so encouraging to see that people can grow old so gracefully; there was something magical about Logan and the residents that lived here that made it a pleasure to come to work every day. In 1999 we had the good fortune to become part of The Fountains, and I was afforded the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally with this amazing organization.

The Fountains and Watermark allow me to think out of the box and fulfill my visions of what senior housing can be. As a part of this team I am able to meet and exceed my goals and focus on the residents, to empower them to express their passions, learn new things, stay physically fit and keep active.

I also have the privilege to sit on the board for Watermark for Kids. Our not-for-profit organization empowering kids to express their true selves. I am passionate about what I do and grateful that Watermark shares and encourages this passion.

Mike Burkhart, Director of Human Resources/ CompliancePrior to joining Fountains Retirement Communities, I served as a Regional Human Resource Director for both Horizon/CMS Healthcare and Integrated Healthcare in Dallas. I came to Fountains Retirement Communities, now Watermark Retirement Communities back in October of 1998 as the Human Resources Director.

In my fifteen years as a healthcare human resource professional, I can truly say that I have enjoyed my entire career with Watermark Retirement Communities. The professional environment at Watermark has allowed my career to flourish and enabled me to better serve the associates and residents in our communities. In addition to providing human resource management direction for Watermark, my responsibilities include serving as Chief Compliance Officer, Director of Risk Management, Director of Diversity, and I also provide oversight of recruiting, associate benefits and payroll services.

When I’m not doing all that, I enjoy a beautiful Arizona day out on the golf course or the soccer fields with my kids. I look forward to many more opportunities to participate in charting the direction of care for seniors as we continue our innovative approach to senior hospitality and wellness. Watermark is poised to serve as the leader of life-long learning for seniors as well as our valued associates and I’m excited to be part of that future.

Ryan Ritter, Director of MarketingAs Director of Marketing, I have the privilege of assisting each Watermark Community express its own unique identity. On a daily basis I get to showcase our communities challenging assumptions, redefining senior living, and how our residents are some of the most engaged, dynamic people of any age.

I joined the Watermark family in 2008 after 16 years in the luxury hospitality industry working at organizations such as Starwood, Miraval and Steve Case’s Revolution. After experiences in Food and Beverage, Spa, Real Estate, and in particular marketing I jumped at the chance to join Watermark Retirement Communities to help tell the story of a company that’s changing the way that aging is perceived by society.

Bill Zachau, Director of SalesBill joined Fountains Management Services in August 2005 as the Agency Director, bringing with him more than twelve years of practical marketing experience, four of which were in commercial real estate and property management markets. He has served on-staff and as a consultant for various local and national companies, government agencies, and even worked on a contractual basis for Fountains for more than two years before joining the team full-time.

Bill supports the multi-site marketing efforts and provides creative support through in-house staff and talented contractors to meet the needs and goals of each community.

Bill has been active as a board member in the local American Marketing Association, nonprofits and charitable organizations.

C. Jill Hofer, Watermark for KidsAs Director of Communication and Public Relations, I have the opportunity and challenge to convey the Watermark vision and to capture and communicate the spirit of our communities. Each and every day, Watermark residents and associates are thriving in their own unique ways and it’s my pleasure to share their inspiring stories. Best of all, I get to do so with my creative and talented team members in the Watermark Marketing Group.

In addition to my communication role, I am privileged to serve as Executive Director of Watermark for Kids, a nonprofit organization reaching out to underserved youth. Watermark residents, associates and community partners work together help Watermark Kids thrive by expressing their true selves. You can learn more at www.watermarkforkids.org.

When I came to Watermark in 2006, I brought with me a degree in marketing, an MBA and sixteen years of experience in advertising, public relations, marketing, writing and research. My first decade as a Watermark resource was a pleasure and a joy, thanks to the inspiring leaders, residents and kids I’ve encountered. Here’s to the next ten years, and beyond.

Jack HerklotzI’ve spent over two decades in Information Technology (IT) and every day I love the fact that what I do connects people to information and to each other. I started working with Watermark Retirement Communities in 2010 as Director of IT and I appreciate the unique challenges of serving both those who live and work in the communities. My passion is to help as many people understand technology in a way that makes it useful in their lives.

I earned my BS in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute) and a Masters of Arts in Management. My degrees have led me to an increased, and ongoing, curiosity of discovering new technologies and seeing how they can benefit everyone at Watermark Retirement Communities. I am particularly proud of our Engage – Powered by Google initiative which brings residents and technology together in a way that is beneficial and meaningful for each individual.

In my free time I love to travel with my family, whether it is cruising, camping or otherwise. I am also an amateur Craft Brewer and an avid University of Arizona basketball and football fan.

Jim Goebel, Director of Design and ConstructionWith a passion for creating innovative ideas, Jim is always looking for ways to make each project unique as well as maintain the high standard of which our communities are known. Jim and his teams continue to be recognized nationally for their designs throughout the senior housing industry.

Jim has recently rejoined David Barnes and David Freshwater at Watermark Retirement Commnities after spending the last several years working as a Development Officer for Sunrise Senior Living and was integral in the start-up of their Renovation Division. Prior to joining Sunrise, Jim was an Assistant VP of Design for The Fountains along with consulting for The Fountains while owning The Goebel Design Group.

Jim attended Arizona State University and holds a degree in construction management.

Kelly Smith, Director of Financial ServicesI graduated from the University of Arizona in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a focus in finance. I began my career as a staff accountant for Sierra Tucson, an internationally recognized treatment center.

My accounting career encompasses over sixteen years, including thirteen years in the healthcare industry. I started with The Fountains as a Regional Accountant in 1998 and feel very fortunate to be serving in my current role as the Director of Financial Services for Watermark Retirement Communities. I lead a talented team of accountants working with our communities to prepare accurate and timely financial information.
Additionally, I concentrate on the financial analysis of community data to promote increased profitability so as to better serve our residents, associates and economic partners. For me, the best part of working at Watermark, is being surrounded by inspiring people who truly enjoy working together as a team.

Rob Bobbitt, Director of Dining ServicesBefore I joined Watermark I had years of experience and a variety of titles ranging from VP Operations, Dining Services… Senior Director of Hospitality – Full Service Operations… Director of Food & Beverage… and Director of Operations just to name a few. As part of the Watermark family, I’m most excited about supporting our talented dining services teams and bringing together the best of our current systems and processes to establish best practices and improve the business. I’m passionate about providing great hospitality, attentive service, tasty foods that invoke happy memories, and menu choices that provide opportunities to explore the exciting and diverse culinary world so our residents thrive! My wife Jacquie and I live in the Mt. Vernon area of Alexandria, Virginia with Madeline, our Border collie. Now that our two sons are “out of the nest” we love to send time cooking, grilling, walking, working out and bicycling. We also enjoy home renovation and improvement projects.
Tammy Farris, Senior Project Manager
I love getting into the middle of big ideas and helping launch them to reality. At Watermark, big ideas for delivering the highest quality care for our residents come from every direction—from staff, residents, leadership and the community and these ideas need champions who can enthusiastically lead the process for ushering them into reality. I enjoy working with diverse teams, and the success that comes from members contributing through unique lenses.

At Watermark, I’m involved in cutting-edge innovation and program development in support of Thrive Living for our residents and associates; what could be better than making a difference and having fun doing it!

My recent experience was in development for the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. It was here that I began working with the Watermark team, helping to shape value-add projects for Masters of Business students and working with faculty to sponsor pioneering research in Integrative Leadership. My passion for health care innovation originated from working with students interested in careers in health care and the advancement opportunities that I observed at the intersection of health care and business.

I have a Master’s Degree in Business and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from the University of Arizona. I’m a Tucson-native with two grown children and love all aspects of the spectacular desert and culture of the Southwest as well as travel to other interesting cultures across the globe.

Jeff Jarnigan, Regional Director of Financial ServicesFor the last 12 years I have had the privilege of working for three major companies in the senior living industry. My positions have varied from community-based business office manager/controller roles, to area/regional positions within Accounting/Finance, to a national support role in accounting compliance. In the midst of all of this, for two years I was an Executive Director of an Assisted Living community. I am pleased to have joined the Watermark family in January, 2010. My focus within Watermark is ensuring that our community-based business offices are equipped to handle the multi faceted requirements of this industry. Training, trouble shooting and filling in during vacancies are my passions. In my opinion, our business offices are critical in providing leadership with the information they need to effectively manage day-to-day operations. When I’m not working, I enjoy reading, travel and music of all types. My favorite quote is from Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those to mind don’t matter and those who matter won’t mind.”