Huebert steps into interim role at Parkside

Eric Huebert says he has been welcomed in his role as interim administrator at Parkside Homes in Hillsboro.

Parkside Homes Inc. has engaged an interim administrator while the search begins to find a permanent successor to Gretchen Wagner, who resigned last month as CEO and president.

Eric Huebert has stepped in to fill the leadership void.

?I very much enjoy working with everybody here,? said Huebert, one of five partners with ARI, a Topeka-based company that offers consulting services to single-site, non-profit retirement communities, assisted-living facilities and skilled nursing homes.

?I?ve had a very warm reception here,? Huebert said. ?People have been very nice.?

As for his assignment at Parkside, Huebert said, ?I?m the licensed administrator and executive director?the interim to help hold things together. I help out with the day to day, and then also lead the recruitment process to find a permanent person for the position.

?A lot of my focus has been to try and be visible, to get out and see people and get introduced and acquain?ted.?

Huebert and Parkside are not new to each other.

?Some of the other partners in my firm have been working with Parkside for a while now,? he said. ?So we know Parkside and have worked with them for quite a few years in different capacities.

?We knew Gretchen really well, and the board. So when she alerted us that she was making a change, she asked if we?d be interested in covering as the interim and then also doing the executive search piece.?

Huebert, who grew up in Halstead, is no stranger to the Hillsboro community.

?Halstead played Hills?boro a lot, so I?m very familiar with coming over here,? he said. ?Then I actually went to Southwestern (College) when I graduated with a football scholarship. Playing in the KCAC, we came up here to play Tabor. I was already familiar, because we played on a lot of the same fields.?

ARI, an acronym for Aging Resource Institute, was once a part of Lead?ing?Age Kansas, an association of 160 not-for-profit skilled nursing homes.

When ARI?s consulting revenue began to jeopardize the non-profit status of the broader association, ARI went off on its own.

?I?ve been with ARA for 10 years,? Huebert said. ?Some of the services we do are operations consulting, strategic planning, executive search and recruitment. We also do interim arrangements like this from time to time.?

Huebert said he will organize the search process for Parkside, but the local board will be making the hiring decisions.

?We?ll start placing ads, doing some networking, reaching out and trying to bring them candidates,? he said. ?We?ll be working with (the board) and the management team to help develop the criteria they?re looking for in a candidate.

?They?ll get to see all the candidates,? he added. ?It?s their pick as to who they?re interested in. Our job really is to bring candidates to the table and help them understand the pros and the cons of each candidate so they feel they are making a well-informed decision.?

Huebert said the length of an interim assignment depends on a variety of factors, but 60 to 90 days is common.

?It all depends on the pool of applicants they get and how quickly they come in,? he said. ?Then there?s the screening and interviewing process. If the applicant is currently employed and has to give a two- to four-week notice, usually a 30-day notice is pretty common.?

He added, ?Parkside has had a good reputation as a quality provider that does things right, so that?s very attractive (for applicants) and something I?ve respected.?

During his stay, Huebert has access to one of the Parkside duplexes so he doesn?t have to make a daily commute to and from Topeka. It also provides occasional lodging for his wife and 2-year-old daughter.

?I very much appreciate that, so I can stay here on campus and be close by?and then my wife can come down here and stay part of the time, too,? he said.

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