Wednesday, July 15th, 2015...5:00 pm

The Goodman Group at 50

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An innovator in developing senior living communities, The Goodman Group looks to be self-sustaining far into the future

By MORDECAI SPECKTOR

Signs reading “QUIET — VIDEOTAPING IN PROGRESS” were posted around the reception area of The Goodman Group’s offices in Chaska last week.

John B. Goodman, chairman of the company that develops and manages more than 30 premier senior living communities around the United States, was being interviewed for promotional videos marking The Goodman Group’s 50th anniversary.

At the end of four hours of taping, Goodman welcomed a reporter from the American Jewish World, and talked about his company and philosophy for another two hours.

The Goodman Group has attained a stellar national reputation as an operator of senior living, health care and rehabilitation facilities, children’s learning centers, and residential and commercial properties, since its founding in 1965.

Recently, The Goodman Group was named as a recipient of the 2014 Performance Excellence Award from the Performance Excellence Network (PEN), formerly the Minnesota Council for Quality. The award is based on the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, which involves a rigorous evaluation of an organization’s management system. The Goodman Group joins such previous award recipients as the Mayo Clinic and Allina Health.

John Goodman: We are doing everything we can to help people transition in their lives.

John Goodman: We are doing everything we can to help people transition in their lives.

Originally known as The Sage Company, the firm was founded by Goodman’s father, Sidney Goodman, the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia and Romania. His father, Harry Goodman, who died in 1941, at the age of 43, became the first bottler of Dr. Pepper in Minneapolis.

After World War II, Sidney Goodman, a graduate of North High School, joined the Goody Pop Bottling Company; and later distributed Hamm’s beer. After selling his Hamm’s franchise, in 1968, Goodman got into the real estate business full time, buying and managing commercial properties and senior communities.

Among his purchases was a half interest in the Meadowbrook Medical Building, in St. Louis Park. While pursuing a business degree at the University of Minnesota, John Goodman became active in the family business, leasing Meadowbrook offices to doctors. After graduating with honors from the U of M, in 1972, and six months active duty in the Coast Guard, Goodman and his father began bidding on properties that had defaulted on HUD-guaranteed mortgages. The Goodmans earned a reputation for their expertise in turning around problem properties.

In 1976, John Goodman took over management of the company, which changed its name to The Goodman Group, in 2007. Sidney Goodman died Oct. 20, 2013, at the age of 93.

In a conference room near his spacious, art-bedecked office, John Goodman screened some promotional videos about The Goodman Group’s facilities and programs. Trim and dapper at age 66, Goodman talked about plans for celebratory and educational events, July 20-24, marking the company’s 50th anniversary. Team members from around the country gathered in Chaska for the company’s National Conference.

Kim Woollen Campbell, wife of legendary country/pop star Glen Campbell, was the special guest and speaker at The Goodman Group’s National Conference. Team members enjoyed a screening of the film Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me followed by a surprise performance from the Campbell children, Ashley, Shannon and Cal, at the company gathering.

The company has recently rebranded: the “G” logo and the theme line — “Envisioning the Future” — has been changed. The new logo shows two “G”s, facing each other and forming a circle, with a graphic of a person in the middle.

The-Goodman-Group-new-logo

The new “double ‘G’ logo” suggests something “more inclusive, holding people in our hands and caring for people,” Goodman comments. The company’s new tagline is “Moments matter. Live them well.” Kat Perkins, recently on The Voice, performed The Goodman Group’s original song and brand anthem “Moments Matter” at their Awards Gala. To view the anthem video, visit www.thegoodmangroup.com/video-gallery.

At the Awards Gala, 250 esteemed Goodman Group team members were joined by the respected Major General Richard C. Nash who presented the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Award to John Goodman. By signing the Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve statement, The Goodman Group is the first long term care provider to be proclaimed as a supporter of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.

Goodman says of the logo, “We’re proud of our new design, because we are doing everything we can to help people transition in their lives — whether it be health issues or regarding their living environment … And the way we do it is by helping them with body, mind, spirit and emotional wellbeing.”

From Food for Life™ to FIT Functional Fitness™ to music and arts programs, the company’s aesthetically refined senior living communities integrate varied cutting-edge programs to enhance residents’ lives.

For example, in 1992, Goodman created Intergenerational Living and Health Care, Inc., a nonprofit organization that links senior living communities and learning centers for children, for the mutual benefit of elderly residents and youngsters. The Commons on Marice, in Eagan, features the intergenerational program. (In the Twin Cities, The Goodman Group also operates Chandler Place Assisted Living and St. Anthony Health Center. Old Main Village, an independent living and assisted living community, is located in Mankato.)

On April 29, The Goodman Group opened its newest facility, the Villa at Terracina Grand (villaatterracinagrand.com), in Naples, Fla. The attractive 60-bed, 61,000 square-foot building, on the campus of Terracina Grand, cares for individuals with all stages of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The Villa at Terracina Grand employs The Goodman Group’s proprietary Pearls of Life memory care program, which, according to company literature, “recognizes the value of each individual and helps residents live dignified, well-rounded lives,” through “opportunities for personal pursuits and social activities.”

Participating in a ribbon-cutting at the April 29 grand opening of the Villa at Terracina Grand, in Naples, Fla., were (l to r): Robyn Johnson, The Goodman Group’s director of brand and strategic initiatives; Kim Campbell, wife of country music star Glen Campbell; John Cox, president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce; John Goodman, chairman of The Goodman Group; Peter Hendrickson, executive director of Terracina Grand; Craig Edinger, The Goodman Group’s vice president of senior living and healthcare; and Burt Elmer, The Goodman Group’s director of architecture.

Another company program, FIT Functional Fitness™, has been developed for residents in all of The Goodman Group’s senior living and health care communities. The program aims to increase residents’ heart health, stamina and mental wellness, and reduce anxiety, falls and reliance on assistive devices.

Food for Life™ is The Goodman Group’s culinary program that features whole, unprocessed foods delivered from a professional chef driven kitchen. The program emphasizes delicious plant-based, vegan, sugar-free and low sodium options. Dishes are thoughtfully plated to stimulate appetites with flavor, color, texture, and beauty.

The panoply of the company’s programs extends well beyond the limits of this article.

Of particular interest, Goodman showed a video that told the story of profoundly handicapped children receiving intensive medical care in The Children’s Center at Sabal Palms Health Care Center, which is located on the sprawling campus of The Palms of Largo, in Florida, the company’s largest community.

The hospital-like Sabal Palms pediatric unit provides around the clock medical care for children who have suffered near-drowning accidents, multiple trauma and closed head injuries, or are experiencing severe seizure disorder.

“You need a four-to-one staffing ratio,” explains Goodman, regarding the need for respiratory therapists, nurses and other skilled rehab staffers in the state-of-the-art pediatric unit.

While the State of Florida was willing to fund the 29-bed ward, The Goodman Group had to lobby the Legislature to raise the patient-funding age from 18 to 21. However, when the young patients on ventilators — many of whom were not expected to survive their early years — reach the age of 21, the reimbursement rate goes down to that for the normal nursing home population. “It’s almost impossible to take care of them at the Medicaid rate,” remarks Goodman, “so some of them have to go to other places and the care is not very good.”

The situation facing some children at Sabal Palms is just one facet of the dauntingly complicated health care landscape in the United States. In the senior care segment, 80 million baby boomers and their health needs present a significant growth opportunity for firms like The Goodman Group, which has demonstrated a capacity to embrace change and innovation.

And looking beyond 50 years in business, John Goodman says that his privately-held company has made plans to continue on after he’s gone — for the benefit of the communities’ residents and more than 4,000 employees.

Many equity deals for The Goodman Group’s managed properties involved investors who were friends of the Goodman family. Today there is a succession plan in place “to ensure the company will continue to run for another 50 years or longer. It can’t be dependent on one person,” says Goodman, regarding the future of his company. “And it’s not for someone to buy and sell and trade.”

And John Goodman, the author, has collected his philosophies on life and business in two books published this month (available on Amazon.com). The Road to Self: Reflections from a Soulful CEO springs from a 2,500-mile road trip Goodman took in 1990, after 20 years with the company. In the preface, he mentions, “although I was successful in business, I was not successful in my personal life. I found myself alone and struggling in my relationships. I was searching for greater happiness but did not know what path to take.”

In a blurb for the book, Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, says, “From social to personal responsibilities, John exemplifies the new breed of soulful CEOs. His Road to Self clearly describes how we can learn from others and learn from nature. John’s motives are clear: share the wisdom so everyone can prosper and thrive at work and on the road of life.”

His second book is titled Moments Matter: Everyday Inspiration from a Soulful CEO, and was created to help inspire and encourage readers in their everyday living.

(In the interest of full disclosure, John Goodman is a partner in Minnesota Jewish Media, LLC, the parent company of the American Jewish World.)

Following the interview with the AJW, John Goodman strolls down the hallway and into the office that was his father’s. Everything has been left in place, since Sidney Goodman stopped coming into work, at the age of 92. There are framed family photos on the walls. On top of a stack of papers on the desk is a copy of a 2013 edition of the American Jewish World, attesting to the reading habits of The Goodman Group’s founder.

John Goodman picks up the paper and smiles.

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