EXPERT OPINION: A Conversation with Dan Madsen - April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012. In this “Expert Opinion” interview, Dan Madsen, CEO and Chairman of One Eighty, discusses seniors housing at different price points, development opportunities overseas, making senior living fun for residents, and more...
 

Dan Madsen, Leisure CareWatch the video      Read the transcript

Dan joined Leisure Care as a General Manager, first serving in the field in 1988. Since becoming the sole proprietor for Leisure Care, Dan has steadfastly grown the company from managing $400 million in assets to now over $1.2 billion throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and India. This puts Leisure Care among the most profitable retirement community management companies in the nation. In June 2008, Dan introduced One Eighty as the new parent company to Leisure Care. He is the Chairman of One Eighty and also serves as the CEO of Leisure Care.


His vast industry expertise has provided opportunities to help educate political leaders about the current state of senior housing and shape public policy impacting seniors. Dan has testified to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in support of 50 national organizations representing the senior service and long term care industries.

As part of his philanthropic mission, Dan is currently serving on the board of PONCHO, an organization dedicated to supporting the arts, and of Swedish Hospital. He has also recently launched The One Eighty Foundation, a philanthropic organization that is passionately committed to improving the lives of children and families.
 

Contact Information:

Dan Madsen 
Chairman & CEO
One Eighty
dmadsen@oneeightytwist.com
(206) 436-7827

 

Watch the video of the interview: 

 

Read the interview transcript:

Steve Monroe
I’m here with Dan Madsen. He’s the CEO and Chairman of One Eighty, which is the parent company of the senior housing company Leisure Care that we’ve all known for many years. Dan, it seems like your company has been evolving over the years and you’ve split the operating businesses up: you have Leisure Care, you have Leisure Care Premier and then you have Signature One Eighty. Can you tell me briefly what the difference is between the three?

Dan Madsen
I think we needed to, from an operating and also marketing perspective, differentiate our brands and our product types. We had grown over the years in some smaller markets and different price points than some of our Premier products that we’ve been developing. We didn’t want to confuse the consumer or operations or our staff on what it is we were providing for what price point. And so very much like hotel brands have done for years, we took a page out of their book.

Steve Monroe
Okay. I know in one of your Signature One Eighty communities, which is the high end, you have the Bellettini in downtown Bellevue, Washington. What I like about that is you have a street side five-star dining room. How has that worked out for you in terms of that particular community?

Dan Madsen
It’s been great. There were some requirements there, but it allowed us to take advantage of that and really market to the public. So having a restaurant open to the public that does very well, it keeps us competitive. It makes us train hard, get good food and beverage folks and there are good chefs, and so on. It’s a very open kitchen, too, so you can actually see everything being cooked, which has been neat. So it’s added that to it. It’s a great competitive advantage because our residents also feel very entertained. An open kitchen, lots of new faces in every day. It keeps the variety very good. It keeps the environment from being stale. It has a lot of energy and our residents are happy and so is the public.

Steve Monroe
It’s probably not a bad idea for marketing having that 65- 70-year old couple coming in to sit down and say, “This is retirement living?”

Dan Madsen
It’s pretty good when they see the wine list and they’re with their grandkids or their kids and they can sit and enjoy. It’s a pretty nice entree for family members to say, “Hey, maybe you should look at this.”

Steve Monroe
So with the economy the last three years and three different price points for your communities, how have they been impacted differently?

Dan Madsen
Our most expensive has been impacted the most negatively because folks could afford to wait. The homes weren’t selling at the price point that they thought they should, so that’s just been staggered, kind of taken longer in the sales process. The mid-market and our lower end, which isn’t very low, has done real well. It’s been the price choice for a lot of folks moving down the scale. But we’re back and doing great.

Steve Monroe
And you currently manage 33 communities in the US and three in Canada. Most of these are in the western half. Are you going to be moving east?

Dan Madsen
Yes. We’re as far east as St. Louis in the US, but we’re in Toronto in Canada, so we figured out how to get a plan right out and keep our brand consistent throughout the country. I think we’d be very opportunistic to include those.

Steve Monroe
And how about building versus buying? Open to both? I know you’re still building, but I think of you more as building more than buying.

Dan Madsen
I think we’re ready to buy. Like anyone, we want to find reasonable sellers and find a way to match what it is they’re looking for in a buyer because I think that’s important. We’ll be launching a pretty good market campaign to do just that, to try to find a good match between buyer and seller that gets everybody reasonable and the execution of some deals. But we’re also going to continue to develop. We’re under construction now in Los Angeles and also in Colorado.

Steve Monroe
And speaking of development, you’re also going far away to India and Mexico. How is that so far working out for you?

Dan Madsen
That’s been very exciting. I think it’s been a neat opportunity that came our way. We looked at it. We built relationships over time, a period of years, and found good development and operating partners in both those countries. We had 50/50 joint ventures in both those countries and presidents that are there on the ground, which is very important, that run those operations for us.

Steve Monroe
Okay. And how about financing domestically on the construction side? Are you finding lenders, Bank of the West does construction in the west?

Dan Madsen
No, we like Bank of the West. We’re looking at them and we’ve been talking seriously about a project in Los Angeles.

Steve Monroe
Good, good. And tell me about a “happy” time. You are a “happy” company. You try to make people laugh. Give me a “happy” time experience.

Dan Madsen
Well, we have lots. Every day better be happy because we hire happy and fun people. Just in that process, it’s a high energy. We play good ‘70s music, rock and roll music, whatever in our communities, not elevator music. It creates a great spirit. We just had several residents that trained to go sky diving in one of those simulators and that comes to mind. They trained and it just blows me away. Then they went out and did it. It’s in our ad, so it’s kind of fun to do what we say our residents do, which is fun.

Steve Monroe
All right. Well, I wish you continued success and maybe one day I’ll be able to tour your Westlake, California facility.

Dan Madsen
I would love it.

Steve Monroe
All right. Thank you.

Dan Madsen
Thanks, Steve..

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Dan and Steve interview 2012

I love the idea of doing something similar on a routine basis, with company updates/news. I would make one suggestion; do the interviews while walking through different communities, or seated at a table in one of our restaurants or poolside. Great energy. Both the public and employees love seeing their leaders.

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