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Jill Frein Named Project Manager

From an early age, she liked helping others and didn’t mind getting her hands in the dirt doing it. 

Today, Jill Frein, just named Friendship Village project manager by Mike Heselbarth, corporate operations director for both communities, will oversee expansion and renovation projects at the Chesterfield and Sunset Hills senior living communities. 

Frein will work closely with project investors and the development team of the two communities’ management company, Life Care Services, to see projects come to fruition.

Her immediate challenge and theirs revolves around the building of two independent living apartment complexes, a $57 million project, at Friendship Village Sunset Hills.  These 200,000 square feet complexes will interconnect with a central commons and include two dining venues, wellness attributes, office space.  The expansion will also join with existing apartment buildings.

The project, set to complete in September, 2015, Frein said will also add five new duplex villas plus more parking for current residents and staff at Sunset Hills.  Significant site development on this project will place utilities underground and connect campus roadways on the Sunset Hills community.

Not shy about conflict, Jill addresses disruption on the Sunset Hills campus and resident reaction to it head on.  “I started a weekly briefing, open to all residents, on what to expect each week as an update on our progress.  I also maintain contact with various resident committees.”

Construction, as a community resident or not, can prove a stressful and complicated process, so Frein looks to a higher power for her strength and guidance.  She spends her 45 to 60 minute morning commute, saying the rosary. “It helps center and ready me for the day,” she said. Frein attends Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Dardenne Prairie.

Prior to Friendship Village, Frein spent 14 years as corporate project director for Bethesda Health Group, Inc.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Northern Iowa and certifications in medical technology (University of Iowa) and professional project management.

For Friendship Village Chesterfield, Frein will oversee a new villa triplex along Olive and initiate combining apartments in existing buildings.  “We’ll take two smaller apartments and create a larger 1200 square foot space which can be tailored to individual needs and tastes,” she said.

Frein plans to create standards between the two communities aiming for consistency in residential offerings so that the choice for Friendship Village residents centers on geography.

“At Friendship Village we want to provide apartments with open atmospheres, high end appeal and a polished look.  That means two bedrooms, two baths, walk in showers, crown moldings, washers and dryers, new space tailored to what residents need and want.”

To accomplish the latter, Frein works closely with the sales staff and sits in discussions with new residents to learn specifically what they expect and prefer.  “We work to make the apartments safe and to outfit them discreetly for aging.  That simply might mean installing a trendy towel bar in a novel position so it can serve as a grab bar, if needed.”

With a health care background and a 14 year senior care specialty, Frein finds the older generation exciting.  “More than 10,000 seniors retire every day.  They spent their lives serving us, and I want to serve them,” she said. 

Frein smiles acknowledging that she learned by example.  “My father was a giver, too.  He cheerfully adopted many of the widows in Marcus, my Iowa hometown.  He sent my brother and me to mow and weed their yards every week.  I hope to instill that sense of community in my two children, a daughter, 9, and a son, 6.”