Bartels CEO Deb Schroeder to retire at year end; reflects on past 24 years

Debra Schroeder, Bartels President/CEO, has announced plans for retirement at year-end.  During her 24 years of service, she has been committed to fulfilling the mission and enhancing the vision of Bartels future.  She has implemented many changes over her career at Bartels, virtually changing the direction and reputation of the organization since 1995.

Deb takes a long-term view and has acted as a catalyst for innovative organizational changes.  She has built a shared vision with the Board of Directors and leadership and has repeatedly translated that vision into action. Deb recognized early on the importance of having a Board of Directors with diverse backgrounds to complement the needs of Bartels as it continued to grow and meet the demands of increased regulations. One of the first things Deb did was to harness the energy of her Board and the support of the local community to launch a fundraising campaign for much needed capital improvements.  Bartels was progressive to understand the need to modernize their campus, as well as to provide a full continuum of care.

Under her leadership, the vision for the future of Bartels has resulted in numerous campus capital projects to improve resident care, including building Woodland Terrace (nursing care), construction of Evergreen Arbor (wandering prevention unit), Linden Place (assisted living), Eisenach Village (independent living), Skilled Nursing and Rehab, Bartels-At-Home (in-home chore services) and Aspen Cottage (assisted memory care). Under her direction, the Bartels Board has recently approved a 10-year campus expansion in response to the local needs in senior care.

Today, Bartels is recognized by the local community as being a leader in offering senior care services and the community has responded by providing substantial financial support.  For over 65 years, Bartels has provided a loving, caring, Christian home for senior adults – thousands of people have been served at Bartels. The Bartels Chaplaincy program anchors this treasured service.  To protect this service and ensure its future, Deb was instrumental in establishing the Chaplaincy Endowment in 1997. The consolidated assets of Bartels and the Foundation have grown from $7 million in 1995 to over $46 million today under Deb’s leadership.

Deb transformed Bartels’ relationship with its 240+ employees over the years. Bartels now enjoys lower employee turnover, higher staffing levels and maintains a positive work culture. Deb’s focus on creating an employee-focused organization has resulted in competitive benefits for employees, and competitive wages.

Because of these efforts, Deb has earned the respect and gratitude of those whom she serves.  Deb has earned several recognition awards over her career at Bartels; most recent were the 2017 Leading Age Excellence in Leadership Award; and 2002 Excellence in Practice Award, 2001 Outstanding Mentor Award, all from the Leading Age Iowa Association.  She was named Administrator of the Year by the Iowa Dietary Manager Association in 2001 and received the Excellence in Service Award in 2007 from My Innerview. Bartels has also been awarded the Governor’s Quality Award for Healthcare Facilities top honor twice in 2014 and 2004.  Bartels was named Employer of Choice Award by the Waterloo Courier in 2018, Distinguished Large Business Award by the Waverly Chamber of Commerce in 2016, and 2005 recipient of the Cornerstone Award presented by the Iowa Care Givers Association.  Deb shared some of her most treasured moments have been related to staff she has enjoyed working with, and residents and volunteers she has known along the way.  She has enjoyed implementing change and improving quality of care, always with the goal of making Bartels a place where everyone can be proud to either live or work.

Deb stated, “Bartels is blessed with wonderful staff and leadership and, together as a team, we accomplished much over my time as CEO.  It has indeed been a challenging journey and adventure at times.” In retirement, she looks forward to spending time with her husband, Richard, creating some memories of their own with travel to the National Parks, adventures on the Mississippi River, completing the “great loop” aboard the Emerald Isle, navigating the Erie Canal and enjoying time with her family, especially grandchildren.  “I am grateful for my experience at Bartels and look forward to seeing Bartels vision brought into reality in the future!  I will always value my time as a member of the Bartels family,” she concluded.