Leadership

Executive Team

Lou Varella, Executive Director
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Lou is a highly experienced executive who has accumulated significant experience over the last 25 years. Presently Lou is the Executive Director of Cedar Crest Village in Pompton Plains, NJ, and just prior to this spent the last year, as Associate Executive Director of Riderwood Village another Erickson Living Community.

Lou has held multiple Executive Director, as well as Area & Regional roles in the senior living industry, including spending 15 years with Marriott in their Senior Living Services Division, where he also became the first Purchasing Officer for Marriott Senior Living, and was nominated to Marriott’s International Executive Development Program, where he and several other executives traveled to Costa Rica representing the company.

Lou is an experienced finance and operations executive, who has gathered a reputation as an effective turnaround professional. In addition to Lou’s work experience, Lou has been an active member of the community he has lived in. Lou has served as a Board Member of Montgomery General Hospital, and served as Secretary, Treasurer, Board Vice Chair, and hospital liaison to the State of Maryland Hospital Association Executive Committee. Lou has also served as Chair of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of Capital Hospice, and has also chaired the Finance Committee of a large mega church in Silver Spring, where he was a member.

What Lou is most proud of, is his three sons, Louis W. Varella II, a second year medical student, Adam W. Varella a senior in college in NC, and Stephen W. Varella who was just offered a full scholarship to Morgan State University, in Baltimore, MD.
Denise Altonjy, Associate Executive Director
Denise graduated from Felician College in Lodi, New Jersey. She came to Erickson Living in 2006 with over 20 years’ professional health care experience. Denise became certified in Gerontological Nursing and is a graduate of the St. Barnabas Leadership Institute. Denise obtained her Assisted Living Administrators licence in 2006. She and her husband, Jim, live in Wayne, New Jersey, with their sons, Bryan and Kevin.
Kristen Compton, Associate Executive Director
Kristen Compton is the newest member of the Cedar Crest Executive team. She joined us as the Associate Executive Director in March of 2017. Reporting to the Executive Director, Kristen is very involved with all aspects of the business; but her role specifically includes oversight of Resident Satisfaction, Employee Engagement and the General Services Department which encompasses; Maintenance, Engineering, Housekeeping, Transportation, Re-occupancy and Security.

Prior to joining the Cedar Crest team; Kristen served as a Nursing Home Administrator in Sub-Acute Care; where she and her team developed a sacred space, where patients could heal; not only their bodies, but also their spirits. Kristen’s love for the elder population came from caring for her own grandparents; who had raised her. Their influence helped her recognize the need to change the way our elder population is perceived and therefore cared for in our society today.

Kristen obtained a Masters in Theology and a Bachelors in Education. She is also Licensed Nursing Home Administrator as well as a Licensed Massage Therapist.

Ray Guarino, Director of Marketing
Raymond started as the Director of Marketing at Cedar Crest in December of 2004. Ray received his Master of Business Administration degree from Jones International University in Colorado and Bachelor of Business Administration from Abilene Christian University in Texas. After serving four years in the United States Air Force, he started his sales career. Ray has 15 years’ sales experience in both business to business sales and personal sales with the past 10 years in sales management. Ray and his wife, Tara, have two sons and reside in West Milford, New Jersey.
Donna Martin, Director of Finance
Donna has been the Finance Director at Cedar Crest since 2001. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting from the C.W. Post Center of Long Island University. Her entire career has been in the field of health care. She has 3 years of public accounting experience and worked in the New York Presbyterian Healthcare network for 13 years prior to joining the Executive Team at Cedar Crest. Her previous position was that of controller at Gracie Square Hospital, a not-for-profit hospital located on the upper east side of Manhattan. While living in New Jersey, Donna had spent her entire career working in Manhattan prior to becoming the Finance Director at Cedar Crest and welcomed the change in her commute. Donna resides in Wharton, New Jersey, with her son, Teddy. She volunteers as a Webelo leader in his Cub Scout pack, is a member of his elementary school’s Education Council and is presently the Treasurer for his Boy Scout Troop.
Brian Alexopoulos, Director of Continuing Care
Brian assumed the role of Continuing Care Administrator in October 2008 after completing his state requirements for the Administrator-in-Training position and passing the federal examination in August to become a licensed nursing home administrator. Prior to fulfilling these requirements, he obtained his Certified Assisted Living Administrators license and held the role of Assisted Living Administrator at Cedar Crest. He started with Erickson Living in 2001 as a physical therapist at Oak Crest in Maryland. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Boston University. Brian was promoted in 2004 to Rehabilitation Manager and relocated to Cedar Crest to oversee the start-up of the two campus departments. He was awarded the Erickson Rehabilitation Manager of the year award in 2005 and 2006. Brian lives in Morristown, New Jersey, with his wife, Chris, and their two sons, Drew and Ethan.
Stefanie Mair, Director of Resident Life
Stefanie Mair came to Cedar Crest in October 2004 to open Renaissance Gardens, the skilled nursing and assisted living component for our continuum of care. Stefanie has 20 years’ experience as an LNHA (licensed nursing home administrator). She also holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Dominick Maltese, Director of General Services
Dominick joined the Cedar Crest team in November of 2014. He is a graduate of Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. Dominick was previously employed with Aramark and has over 15 years’ experience as a Facilities Manager while working throughout their various markets. He was the Director of Facilities at Centenary College for 13 years and has worked to start up accounts within Aramark such as Catholic University in Washington, Rosemont College in Philadelphia, and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Most recently he was the Facilities Director at West Windsor-Plainsboro School District. Dominick also has over 8 year of experience in Financial Accounting when he worked for Prudential in Newark, NJ after graduating college. Dominick lives in Succasunna, New Jersey, with his wife Susan and twin boys Dominick and Nicholas.
Dr. Peter Orlic, Medical Director
Dr. Peter Orlic joined the medical staff at Cedar Crest in 2015 and assumed the role of Medical Director in February 2016. He graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA with a degree in Biology and received his medical degree from NY Medical College in Valhalla, NY. He completed his internship and residency at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island, NY in 1992. Before joining the Cedar Crest community, he was in private medical practice in Bernardsville and Basking Ridge, NJ. He and his wife Elaine live in Bernardsville, NJ with their daughter Adrienne and their son Thomas.
Lynn Zavatone, Medical Practice Administrator
Lynn Zavatone came to Cedar Crest in December 2004 in the role of Business Office Manager, to assist in the opening of Mountain View Gardens, our continuing care facility. In 2007, Lynn transitioned into her current position of Medical Center Practice Administrator. Lynn has over 20 years’ experience working in the senior health care industry. She attended Jacksonville University, where she studied Business Administration and is a certified Clinical Health Coach. Lynn and her husband Fred reside in West Milford, New Jersey.
Paul Cimins, Director of Dining
Paul Cimins joined the Cedar Crest team in January of 2017. Born and raised in Wayne NJ, he brings 30 years of culinary excellence to every engagement he hosts. Paul graduated from the elite Culinary Institute of America and was formerly a gourmet chef at the prestigious Sheraton Tara Hotel as well as Marco Island Marriott Resort in Florida. He also owned Culinary Delicacies and is also the Executive Chef specializing in food and catering for some of New Jersey’s premier corporations. Paul resides in Roxbury, NJ with his wife Adrienne and 2 children, Emily and Jonathan.

Board of Directors

Cedar Crest is one of 17 communities supported by National Senior Campuses, Inc., (NSC), a not-for-profit organization committed to providing housing, health care (including elder care and nursing care) and other related services to middle income seniors. NSC and its Supported Organizations are independent of Erickson Living Management. Their relationship is limited to contractual arrangements related to development and management of the communities. For more information about NSC, visit www.nationalseniorcampuses.org.

Meet the Cedar Crest Village Board of Directors

Resident Advisory Council

The Council’s role is strictly advisory. We propose. Management decides. Our only power comes from a trusting partnership with board, Management, and staff, from accurately analyzing situations, and from making wise and creative proposals for enhancing our life together.

  • We OBSERVE potential or existing problems in the community and seek appropriate action from Management.
  • We LISTEN to suggestions and complaints of residents and help Management find ways to deal with them.
  • We CONFER with staff.
    • The Council President meets frequently with Lou Varella on a wide variety of matters.
    • Chairs of RAC committees meet each month with staff counterparts to deal with specific concerns of residents.
    • The Council meets monthly with Lou to facilitate progress on pending projects and to keep informed on Management’s plans and decisions.
  • We ADVISE our partners. Lou often confers with the Council, or it’s President, before taking significant actions or issuing important communications.
  • We ADVOCATE with our partners for resident needs and concerns.
  • We INTERPRET to residents the policies and decisions of Management.
  • We RESPOND to complaints and suggestions.
  • We PROPOSE programs that will improve our life together.

Meet the 2017-2018 RAC Members