January 3, 2019
SEATTLE–Aegis Living, a leading senior living owner, developer and operator known for its disruptive approach to assisted living and memory care, has hired Kris Engskov to the role of president.
In his 16 years with Starbucks, Engskov successfully led a number of the company’s global businesses in roles including president of the company’s flagship U.S. Retail business leading 170,000 employees across 8,300 stores, and president of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) division where he spent five years building the Starbucks brand across 30+ countries. Most recently, Engskov served as executive vice president of Business Integration. Having impacted all parts of the organization—from brand strategy and marketing, to real estate development, to technology implementation, to customer experiences and operational excellence, Engskov brings particularly valued operational expertise to Aegis Living.
“Kris brings exceptional experience driving business development and enterprise growth that is highly relevant as Aegis Living continues to innovate and offer a premium assisted living experience,” said Dwayne J. Clark, founder and CEO, Aegis Living. “His passion for fostering a nurturing and caring workplace also stands out as a fit for Aegis Living’s hallmark ’employee first’ culture that is at the heart of how we help our residents live their best lives each day. With a winning combination of operational expertise and focus on people, Kris is the right person to sustain our culture and lead our organization through future growth, and to continued success.”
Engskov joins Aegis Living as it moves forward with a vision of smart growth to meet the demand of a rapidly aging U.S. baby boom generation. Aegis Living’s innovative, standard-setting communities feature award-winning building design, engaging mind, body, spirit focused Life Enrichment™ programs, and a progressive, positive approach to caring for seniors that celebrates the possibilities of each day. The company currently has eight new assisted living communities under development in Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Seattle, Washington, and in San Rafael, California. New communities include inspired, upscale buildings in urban neighborhoods, with vibrant natural features like living walls, waterfalls, and a rainforest conservatory, with public amenities such as coffee shops, dog day care and public courtyards enabling residents to mingle with people in the neighborhoods where they are located.
Of joining Aegis Living, Engskov said, “I have known Aegis and its stellar reputation for a long time and have been particularly impressed with its culture and mission helping residents live their best lives with dignity and respect. That commitment alongside the Aegis people-first culture that supports it, creates an amazing platform for care quality, excellence and growth. I can’t wait to join a team that shares such strong values and look forward to bringing my own experiences in pursuit of this critical mission.”
Hiring outside the senior living arena is standard practice for Aegis Living. Since its inception, the company deliberately draws senior leaders from the hospitality, high end retail, and restaurant industries for fresh, creative perspective that fuels business and program transformation. Recent hires include leaders from Amazon, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and Wynn Hotels, and Nordstrom—improving standards and bringing innovations that lead to improved employee experiences, a heightened holistic approach to health and wellness, restaurant quality meals, and high-end building features and designs.
Aegis Living’s employee-focused culture features an array of unique benefits—including an annual cash lottery, Winterfest holiday giveaway event, and the Potato Soup Foundation offering assistance in times of need. This culture focus creates overwhelmingly delighted employees who feel valued and rewarded, which translates into passionate service to seniors. A commitment to employee job satisfaction and personal growth resulted in Aegis Living’s ranking as a top 50 company on Glassdoor’s 2017 “Best Places to Work” list, the first senior living operator to achieve this meaningful distinction. With healthcare workers in high demand in an industry known for high turnover, Aegis Living maintains one of the highest retention rates in the senior living arena.
In addition to Starbucks, Engskov also worked for Madrona Venture Group, LLC, a Seattle-based venture capital fund and spent most of his early career in public service. From 1993 to 2000, he served in the White House, first as Assistant Press Secretary and later as Personal Aide to President Bill Clinton. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B.A. in Public Administration.
Engskov succeeds Judy Meleliat who is retiring after holding the role for six years following three years as Chief Marketing Office with Aegis Living.
“Judy has played an integral part in the growth and success of Aegis Living for most of the last decade, leading us to be better and stronger contributors to our mission. Her many operational and cultural contributions encompass how we positively impact the lives of seniors, as well as members of the Aegis Living team,” said Dwayne J. Clark.
Meleliat will remain as president while Engskov is exposed to all aspects of the company—engaging at all 31 Aegis Living communities. This is integral to the concept of hiring from outside the industry, building on the strong skills brought in and building industry-specific knowledge through intensive training. Engskov will officially assume the position of president in late Spring 2019.
Aegis Living is a national leader in assisted living and memory care. The privately-held company founded in 1997 is headquartered in Bellevue, WA, and operates 31 communities in Washington, California and Nevada.