Simpson and LCS: Partnering for YOUR Success!

What if you could team up with one of the great leaders in the health services industry to join one of the country’s fastest-growing career fields?

At Simpson College, you can.

Our Health Services Leadership program was designed with leaders in the health industry to prepare students with business and finance backgrounds for a host of rewarding career options, from serving as an executive director of a senior living community to working as a physical therapist in an Integrated Health Services Network.

One of those leaders is LCS®, a leading provider of high-quality senior lifestyle products and services.

LCS was established in 1971 in Des Moines by Fred W. Weitz, an honorary life trustee on Simpson’s Board of Trustees. Many of the company’s top executives and employees are Simpson alumni.

What does that mean for you?

Unlimited opportunities. According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, 14 of the 30 occupations projected to have the most growth between 2012 and 2022 are related to health care.

LCS knows the value of a Simpson degree because so many of their employees have one. They are a successful and growing company that will be looking to our graduates to fill future openings.

When Simpson began researching the possibility of creating a Health Services Leadership program, we sought LCS’s expertise and support, and they have delivered.

Let’s learn more about the company and the Simpson connection by meeting some of the company’s top executives.

Ed Kenny, LCS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Kenny_EdI graduated from Providence College, not Simpson, but my parents always taught my brother and sisters the value of a good education and surrounding ourselves with individuals of high character. Being around so many Simpson graduates and a prominent Simpson Board member (Fred Weitz) has inspired me both personally and professionally. They have all set good examples and taught me a great deal.

I come from a family where many of the Kennys graduated from liberal arts colleges. I hold liberal arts education in very high regard. When Fred and my LCS colleagues informed me that Simpson was such an institution, I immediately was impressed.

LCS and Simpson have a lot in common as they relate to people. Those similarities are:

·      We like to associate ourselves with individuals that love to learn and are not content with the status quo.

·      We like to associate ourselves with individuals that are solid thinkers and will look at problems and situations from different perspectives.

·      We like to associate ourselves with people that like challenges and are good problem solvers.  They are diligent and persevering.

·      We like to associate ourselves with people whose honesty and integrity is not questioned.

Simpson graduates fit in very well with the LCS culture.

The Health Services Leadership program at Simpson is extremely important for three reasons:

*This country has a responsibility to look for and find ways to serve our growing senior population.  We need bright and energetic folks like the Simpson grads to take up this richly rewarding cause.

*Serving seniors can be a richly rewarding professional experience.  You are put in a position that you can positively impact the lives of others, and at the same times, learn so much from your consumers (the seniors we serve.)  Personally, I have learned a great deal through this interaction.

*Serving the senior markets is a growing sector and will provide a number of rewarding professional opportunities and personal friendships.

There are many employment opportunities at LCS.  As one example, I would like to highlight our management company division. Life Care Services™, an LCS Company, is the third largest operator of senior housing in the United States.  Operating a senior housing community and being in the senior housing business is very similar to being in the hospitality or hotel business. As examples we have opportunities to be involved in:

Property management (serving as the Executive Director of a Community)

Marketing and Sales

Food and Beverage

Asset Management




Market Research

Health Care law and compliance

Real Estate development

There’s lot of variety in the business sector!

Joel Nelson, LCS President and Chief Operating Officer

Nelson_JoelI graduated from Simpson in 1986 with a BA in Business/Health Administration. My home town was Corning, Iowa. My wife, Lisa Steffensmeier Nelson, also graduated from Simpson, in 1987.

I chose Simpson because, at the time, it was the only Iowa college with an undergraduate program that synced up with an MHA program at the University of Iowa.

I had many great experiences at Simpson, but the 1:1 relationship with professors was a good fit for me. You could always get an appointment with any professor when needed, and I think there is real value to the liberal arts education that Simpson provides.

Regarding the Health Services Leadership program, I was initially contacted by John Sirianni, an assistant to the Simpson president. I was immediately “all in.” Our field has so much opportunity for strong talented individuals, and as a leader of the industry, LCS works closely with several universities. To have the opportunity to partner with Simpson, which is so close to our corporate offices, just seemed to be perfect fit.

If LCS can help the faculty prepare its students for our field, and if we can leverage the power of Simpson faculty and academia with health services companies like this, Simpson will have created a real niche in attracting students who have a strong desire to work in the Health Services field. And, as parents, which I am with two children in college, we all want our kids to have opportunities when they graduate. This program is not widely offered by other colleges and universities so think about the job market when these students graduate!

The Simpson graduates who work for LCS have had a great track record of rising to the top and becoming great leaders.  We have Simpson grads working across multiple disciplines, including Accounting/Finance, Marketing, IT, and Operations, etc., which speaks well for Simpson in that they can bring students to LCS in multiple career tracks.  The Simpson graduates that work for LCS bring a great passion for what we do, possess strong work ethic and are a great match to our culture of “Serving Seniors.”

LCS is proud to be the lead sponsor for the Senior Living track of the HSL program.  To think that we can expand our Simpson alumni to assist LCS with executing our growth strategy is exciting.  LCS has been very good to many of us at LCS, and to think that we can be part of creating some of the same types of opportunities for the students of today’s generation is a “win/win.”

Rick Exline, LCS Executive Vice President

Exline_RickI was born and raised near Centerville, Iowa, and graduated from Simpson in 1974 with a degree in Business Administration and Political Science. I joined LCS the summer after I graduated in 1978, and have spent the last 37 years with LCS in the management of Senior Living Housing.

I chose Simpson because my sister, Sheri, was a Simpson graduate and I had the opportunity to experience the campus while she attended. I was looking for a small college setting with a liberal arts focus and Simpson was the right fit.

At Simpson, I benefited from the academic challenge of always looking for a new and better way and to seek first understanding. I made great friends and Simpson and felt a special connection with the professors and staff.

The HSL program came at the right time for me. I had always thought that the time would come when I could support Simpson in a meaningful way. Helping sponsor the Health Services Leadership program was the right time as it is consistent with the vision of LCS to find ways to attract top talent to Senior Housing and Health Care.

Simpson graduates have provided focused leadership that has helped in our vision of serving seniors. The Simpson experience prepares graduates to make a difference and they have made a big difference at LCS.

Is there still a role in today’s marketplace for the traditional liberal arts education? Now more than ever. During a time when higher education is being to feel more and more like a commodity… at Simpson the student still matters.

Jill Sorenson, Senior Vice President/Director of Operations Management

Sorenson_JillI grew up in Pomeroy, Iowa, and I graduated from Simpson in 1986 with by Bachelor’s degree in Business, and a minor in Victorian Literature. I have been employed by LCS since June 1982. I originally attended AIB and received my AA degree in Accounting in 1982, then started working for LCS, and went back to school part-time evenings at Simpson to get my bachelor’s degree.  After relocating to San Diego for my career in 1997, I eventually got my Master’s Degree during an evening and weekend program as well.

With all the Simpson graduates in the office, there is definitely some Simpson pride, and we do joke about it together sometimes. There is definitely still some Simpson school spirit at LCS!

On a serious note, I definitely think that the liberal arts education is beneficial for working at a company like LCS, where our Executive Directors, for example, are not only functioning as the CEO/COO of the retirement community where they are assigned, but in addition, they are really the LCS “ambassador of hospitality” with residents and staff. They need to be able to work with a wide variety of people in their leadership role (with staff, residents, resident family members, non-profit board members, for-profit owners, vendors, etc).

I think that having the well-rounded curriculum is beneficial in that regard. In addition to running the business and being responsible for regulatory compliance in a highly regulated industry, they write policies, make presentations to large and small groups of people, and are involved in obtaining financing and doing strategic planning for their community, among other duties.  I can say, in particular, that the night program, where there were study groups with other students who also worked full-time and went to school part-time, helped to provide me with a very well-rounded educational experience.  Learning to work as part of a diverse team through the study group process was also part of the education.

I am absolutely proud of the LCS role in the Health Services Leadership program I hope that the value of this program is to attract more young workers to our industry.  As life expectancies grow and the baby boomer population gets ready to choose their senior living options, there will be more opportunities in our industry for students who have a passion for serving seniors and making a difference in the lives of our residents.  It’s a growing industry, and one that will benefit from recruiting talent from Simpson!


Now you can see why we’re so excited to have LCS as a partner with Simpson’s HSL program and why we believe this offers great potential for business and finance student, among others, who are looking for an exciting and rewarding career path in health services.

What to learn more?

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We look forward to hearing from you!