HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO – When Jacob Gaumer started working at Wind Crest as student wait staff in 2007, he didn't envision a career in food service. He aspired to work in retail. But after holding nearly every job in the front of the house—from server to host to everything in between, hospitality began to grow on him, and so did Wind Crest, one of 19 communities managed by Erickson Living.
Gaumer received a scholarship from the Wind Crest Scholars Fund to help him earn his degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. The Scholars Fund Program is funded by the residents, staff and community partners to support high school students employed on campus who have shown commitment to serving the Wind Crest community.
The company's employee benefits package also includes generous paid time off, volunteer hours and activities, comprehensive medical benefits, on-site employee health and wellness centers, a tuition reimbursement program, and employee discount programs.
"The scholarship shaped my work ethic and drive to be as good of an employee as I could and appreciate everything," says Gaumer, who now also appreciates the pet insurance benefit offered by Erickson Living. "With two dogs and four cats, it has been very helpful," he says.
While scholarship recipients aren't required to return to Wind Crest after earning their degree, life called Gaumer back to the Highlands Ranch, Colorado, community where he started as a line cook in the on-site continuing care neighborhood. Today, he's assistant general manager of The High Line Overlook Neighborhood at Wind Crest and is currently overseeing the opening of Burton's Steakhouse, a sixth campus restaurant.
"At Wind Crest, it's not a typical retirement community feel. All the restaurants are run like outside restaurants. I'm getting an understanding now of how to open a restaurant from the ground up. It's a really big journey for me," says Gaumer, who has been working closely with Director of Dining Services Tom Carlson and General Manager Nicole Norton to prepare for a general manager position. They meet weekly to review areas for improvement, leadership skills, and to prepare an individual development plan (IDP) for when the general manager position becomes available.
But more than receiving career guidance for himself, Gaumer enjoys helping others develop their skills and seeing them get promoted—people like Restaurant Supervisor Connor Ashbaugh, Assistant Manager Candace Ross, and Restaurant Supervisor Carly Hendricks, who all started as student servers.
"Helping younger staff see their potential, drive their passion in the industry, and grow with the company gives me a great sense of fulfillment and pride. I get to see that values and lessons I've instilled in them help them rise to a leadership role. It's a testament to my leadership style and shows that I'm recognized as a leader myself," he says, adding that the company recently sent him to a leadership conference in Baltimore, Maryland. "The company wants to invest in you, and that gives you drive and energy to keep moving forward. Eventually I'd like to see myself as part of the corporate dining team. I don't think they'd invest in me if they didn't see potential."
"Wind Crest takes great pride in having a culture of continuous employee recognition. Our supportive and interactive environment empowers staff, makes them feel valued, fosters innovations, and opens doors to career development and expanded job opportunities," says Executive Director Craig Erickson.
Wind Crest also takes great pride in valuing and respecting its employees. Gaumer, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, co-leads Wind Crest's Diversity and Inclusion committee.
"The diversity and inclusion committee at Wind Crest represents a company that's passionate about their people as individuals. They don't single anyone out; they support everyone regardless of their differences, whether it's skin color, religious beliefs, ethnic background, or anything else. It's about working together to create a quality experience for the residents and a positive work environment for staff."
Wind Crest employs more than 600 talented team members, who are viewed as the community's greatest asset, and fosters a diverse and inclusive culture that ensures that every person is treated with respect and dignity.
Jacob Gaumer is the type of everyday hero Wind Crest is recruiting. When people join Wind Crest's team of everyday heroes, they gain more than a great job in a booming industry—they gain unparalleled access to an array of rich experiences, knowledge, and opportunities that will prove invaluable to their personal and professional growth. What's also rewarding for them is that they get to change lives for the better. For more information about Erickson Living careers, visit https://jobs.ericksonliving.com.
About Wind Crest: Wind Crest, one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 84-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The community is located in Douglas County and is home to more than 1,300 residents. Additional information about Wind Crest can be found at WindCrestRetirement.com.