Amy Petschke – Accountant
In September 2018, Amy will celebrate her third year with the FTJ team. Before transferring here, she worked at a downtown Tacoma law firm for 16 years. The high-pressure and intensity of a for-profit organization led her to seek a new direction. Amy says she always figured there was something more for her, and she definitely wanted something different.
On a typical day, Amy works on the financial statements, the annual budget and audits. Her natural warmth and a genuine interest in people make her a good fit at FTJ as she is a regular go-to person for residents who want to cash checks and visit. The community service aspect and the commitment to the residents is what drew her to take this position at FTJ. Her focus has always been on helping others, so the dedication to serving the residents strongly appealed to her.
Her amiable, kind spirit works hard to make every day meaningful for both the residents and her fellow team members. Amy’s willingness to share her strengths and skills with her fellow coworkers shows how committed she is to the whole community. “I’m very much a team player. I really believe in empowering a person. If somebody else wants to learn something, and I know how to do it, I am always happy to teach them.
Not only is Amy the go-to person for residents, she is a favorite among the dogs who live here. During their walks, the dogs will stop outside her office, knowing that special treats are waiting inside along with a good belly rub.
In her spare time, she relaxes while crafting beautiful diamond paintings, a “Zen-like” art form that she describes as a mix between paint by numbers and cross-stitching, worthy of framing. She chuckles at how addicting it can be but has the full support of her husband Rich, 2 cats and a dog.
Though good with the numbers and the spreadsheets, Amy also has a crafty side to her. In her spare time, she relaxes while crafting beautiful diamond paintings, a “Zen-like” art form that she describes as a mix between paint by numbers and cross-stitching. She chuckles at how addicting it can be.
When she’s not bedazzling Van Gogh’s Starry Night, she likes to spend time with her husband, cats and dog.
Linda Koessler – Human Resources
Upon entering Linda Koessler’s office, it’s apparent that her organizational skills, paired with her passion for providing good service help her take on all of the tasks of the Human Resources Assistant. Since 2014, Linda’s calm and welcoming nature has launched many of team members’ employment at Franke Tobey Jones.
For Linda, orientations are very fulfilling because she enjoys bringing people on board. She knew when she herself first interviewed at FTJ that this place is special, it felt like home. She hopes she imparts a little of that same feeling during new hire orientation. In addition to orientation, compliance, payroll and benefits are the bulk of the tasks she performs. Working with employees who are at various stages of their careers is extremely rewarding. The customer service aspect comes to play when she helps new team members complete paperwork and answer the myriad of HR-related questions.
From March through September, for the past six years, Linda has kept an extremely busy schedule. Not only does she work full time as the HR Assistant, but she’s also the Cheney Stadium Party Deck Manager for the Tacoma Rainiers minor-league baseball team.
When she’s not working, Linda enjoys a good game of tennis and golf. As a UW Grad, she always roots for the University of Washington Huskies and loves watching the Seattle Seahawks (win or lose). She lives with her husband, 2 sons and a chow dog named Bear.
Colin Deck – Fitness Coordinator
Blood, sweat and tears might come to mind when thinking of the dreaded gym. Colin may make you sweat, but he also makes sure learning about physical activity and health is fun and engaging.
Colin comes in around 6:30 in the morning Monday-Friday to start his lesson plans. Colin puts in the extra effort in preparing for his classes as he wants a variety of classes to keep it interesting for the residents. Colin’s passion and creativity keeps his programs refreshing and engaging. He spends his morning researching different techniques and exercises that will better help people with their specific needs. Whether that is working through bad knees, hip injuries or back pain, Colin takes the time to research how his classes will improve the residents’ wellness.
Around 7:30, classes begin and go back to back for the rest of his day which he jokes keeps him out of trouble. The variety keeps it challenging for Colin too. As an instructor, Colin finds that through his research and engagement with the residents he learns so much about fitness and health in general.
Keeping up the energy and motivation in the fitness room is no problem for Colin, who the residents nicknamed “The Drill Sergeant.” He says his favorite classes are typically the higher intensity classes such as the cardio/core workouts because he is sweating just as much as they are, if not more.
His passion is one on one and small group training which he integrated to the Wellness Center when he was hired. When he first came here he was petrified at the idea of teaching a class, and now he loves doing them. Seeing the individual results such as walking better, relieving back pain, losing weight, and improving mentality is the most rewarding part of his job. Colin says getting the feedback from his residents and watching them meet their goals is so gratifying.
As if the exercise he gets at work isn’t enough, Colin does circuit and interval training on his free time. He also enjoys family time with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
Maria Cruz – Therapeutics Activities Assistant
It’s no lie that positive energy is contagious, and Maria has plenty of it to share! With an unforgettable smile, Maria radiates her enthusiasm when putting on activities for the residents. As the Therapeutics Activity Assistant, her bubbly personality makes it hard not enjoy the activities she facilitates. She says the moment she steps on campus she is fully attentive to the residents and maintains her good attitude.
Maria grew up in the Philippines and describes how her overachieving family pushed her to find her passion outside of the status quo growing up. In a political family, Maria surprised her loved ones by studying sociology and served her passion for helping people in that way. She and her family moved to the United States to evade corruption and to enrich her daughter’s education to achieve a doctorate degree at age 22 in an Ivy League school. She worked as a Director of Sales & Marketing for a chain of hotels before the hotel was sold, then ventured into automobile industry and became a top producer before coming to FTJ. Her daughter, who is her “biggest trophy,” is a contracted physical therapist through Franke Tobey Jones and ignited Maria’s interest in applying here. Maria claims to be the helicopter mom who surprised her daughter by showing up at her work as a new employee.
Maria was attracted to Franke Tobey Jones because family and respect for your elders is very important in her culture. The wholehearted commitment of this community to serving the seniors simulates that value. “When I look at the ambience of Franke Tobey Jones, it gives me a piece of what I am missing back home.”
She goes beyond just facilitating the activities, she brings her talents to evoke engagement. On Communion Service days she plays the piano for the residents to sing to. With creativity and improvisation, Maria finds she often uses whatever supplies we have to create fun art!
Her favorite activity, and it seems to be popular amongst the residents too, is the current events discussions. She says she likes to bring her insights about different cultures and traveling abroad to the table to elicit a deep conversation.
Her philosophy in life is “Aspire to inspire and see what will transpire.”
Victoria and Priscilla – Housekeepers
It’s not often that two best friends get to work together, but Victoria and Pricilla make the perfect duo. The team of two enjoy each other’s company while providing service and comfort to the residents.
They have their individual housekeeping room assignments but help each other make beds and other tasks that require an extra hand. Together, they are scheduled to clean in every building on campus throughout the month.
Pricilla came to the U.S from the Philippines in 1997. When she knew FTJ was hiring, she promoted the job to fellow customers in a store she frequents. Victoria came here in 1999. She remembers the exact day, March 25, 1999. She met Pricilla in the Filipino store who recruited her to apply for a housekeeping position. Housekeeping for Franke Tobey Jones was both their first job when they moved to the United States. Through FTJ, they found each other and have been best friends for 21 years.
After housekeeping, they became certified caregivers. Victoria mentions that Pricilla was a caregiver to Victoria’s husband when he had brain cancer.
“Priscilla is my family. We are not blood but she is like my sister. We are family.” The sisterly bond of their friendship meshes well with the overall essence of Franke Tobey Jones. Not only do they share that familial bond with each, but they say the residents have also become their family.
The two have found that they love working here because of how kind the people are, and it has been like a second home. They love the residents and say that they really enjoy spending time getting to know the residents in which they clean for. They truly love all the residents and say that they work at FTJ because of them.
Jeff McQuay – Housekeeping Supervisor
Jeff McQuay arrives at 6 in the morning and begins a full day as our Housekeeping Supervisor. He starts making his rounds, checking that all the housekeepers are here, checks for spills in Healthcare, spots on the carpets, and sees what and who he can tend to. Jeff has been the Housekeeping Supervisor since October 2017. His career journey has been incredible, and he says this is his final destination in his career path. Jeff supposes he’ll work for 9 more years until retirement.
Before Franke Tobey Jones, he worked for Health Care Services Group, a local company subcontracted with nursing homes as well as for Sunburst chemicals for 23 years. When he was tired of traveling around for sales, he sought a different pursuit. He knew Kathy, our FTJ social services director, and she convinced him to apply for the position.
Interacting with the residents day to day is most rewarding to him. Every lunchtime he is in the dining room for about five minutes before one of the residents asks him to sit down and have a conversation.
As a sports guy, Jeff spends his free time working on his golf game about once a week and even competes in local tournaments. When his kids were growing up, he coached many of their school and club sports teams. He said he followed his son in sports up until he graduated from high school. Now he enjoys watching his kids grow up and enter career paths of their own.
Besides sports, Jeff is also a music guy. His go-to Karaoke song is “The Dance” by Garth Brookes, and sings every Sunday at church. He tells me a new Christmas tradition is singing Christmas carols while FTJ resident, Jane Schuneman, accompanies him on the violin.
Vicki Weaver – Building Services Coordinator
Got a leak in your kitchen or need something repaired? Who you gonna call? Vicki is your gal! It takes a certain kind of a person to coordinate everything in the building services department, and she’s got what it takes. Vicki, an upbeat, well organized go-getter, is our Building Services Coordinator.
Whether its scheduling repairs and transportation, or ordering necessary parts, it all falls in Vicki’s hands. Vicki makes sure that everything is running and looking its best. A typical day is very busy, constantly rescheduling. One phone call can turn the whole day in a new direction. There is always something that needs to be maintained, including rooms that need to be turned over or painted. Keeping the campus looking as nice as they can, Vicki schedules all the painting inside and out. Thinking on her feet and problem solving are just a few of her strengths that make her great at her job.
Vicki started working FTJ in 2007. She started at a housekeeper and worked her way up to building services in 2013. Before coming to FTJ she was an EMT in California.
Vicki opens up and says that her passion is medical. She would have liked to pursue paramedics, but a knee injury derailed that plan. However, she says most of all her passion is bringing joy and comfort to other’s lives, and she finds that fixing a cabinet or painting the residents’ walls gives her that satisfaction.
“If I can make one person smile or make their day better, then my job is good”
In an industry mainly of men, she says that she has never had a problem working along side them. She says, “They razz me and I razz them right back!” She loves the people she works with and everyone on the building services teams gets along splendidly.
Outside of work, Vicki loves anything involving the outdoors. Gardening, hiking, and enjoying street fairs are some of her favorite things to do.
Terri Vickery – Uses Her Passion To Make A Difference
Fundraising. This word usually makes people turn and run as fast as possible. It brings to mind images of begging for money and most people despise it. For Terri it has the opposite effect. It takes a certain kind of person to be happy and successful in this line of work and luckily Terri is that person. When asked why work in fundraising she replied “I am passionate about it.” As the Assistant Director of Development and Volunteer Coordinator Terri is able to apply her passion and truly make a difference for the residents at Franke Tobey Jones.
Walking into Terri’s office you immediately feel warm and welcome. Her sunny disposition comes across in her every action. She feels drawn to helping others. Her philosophy is to pay it forward and help as many people as she can. No matter what Terri does she manages to do so with a warm smile. She credits her faith in God as being a major influence in her life.
Terri has worked at FTJ since 2003. She began as the Executive Assistant to the President/CEO and the Vice President of Finance and Support before moving to her current position. Terri has been able to hone her talents by working in the not-for-profit industry since the 1980’s. Before coming to FTJ she was the Business Manager at Lakewold Gardens and worked in fundraising with the MultiCare Health System. While at MultiCare she worked in Philanthropy for their adult services and that’s where she discovered how rewarding it is to work with seniors. Outside of work Terri is a member of The Association of Fundraising Professionals where she is a part of the membership committee.
In her spare time Terri can often be found outdoors where she loves gardening and kayaking. The weather in Tacoma is not always ideal but Terri can be counted on to take advantage of every moment outside. She is always looking for people to come out on Puget Sound with her so if you enjoy the water let Terri know.
Besides being outdoors, Terri loves spending time with her husband Rick and their two children.
When asked what her favorite part of her job is Terri replied without hesitation by saying “the residents.” She says that the people at Franke Tobey Jones are the best she has ever worked with and she is blessed to know them. In reality, it is FTJ who is blessed to have Terri Vickery on board as the Assistant Director of Development and Volunteer Coordinator.
Linda Tonjann offers a calming voice and presence – all day long
It’s 5:30 a.m. and Linda Tonjann, who’s already been up for more than an hour, starts her day at the front desk of Lillian Pratt Hall, the Assisted Living facility at Franke Tobey Jones. Today may not be like yesterday, but her focus of helping the residents in any way she can never changes.
Assisting with a shirt button here and there, helping residents find their way to the dining room or back to their rooms, answering the phone, arranging appointments, troubleshooting internet issues, ensuring letters get mailed, greeting tours. You name it and Linda Tonjann, who’s officially the day receptionist for Franke Tobey Jones gets it done.
Linda says the residents are the best part of her day. “I love hearing their stories, and learning more about their backgrounds.”
Most residents who move to Lillian Pratt move over from the independent living section at Franke Tobey Jones after they’ve reached a point where they’ve become less independent and need some additional care. Linda says they come in and think it’s the end of their life. “They start by saying, ‘oh my gosh, we have to go over to the big house,’ but they soon find out that there is so much interaction, a higher level of care, they feel less lonely and soon they love it.”
You might say Linda has practically grown up at Franke Tobey Jones. She started working at Franke Tobey Jones in 1989, first as a nursing assistant, a role she held for six years before moving into the Director of First Impressions (front desk receptionist and now Supervisor) position in 1995 where she has graced the front desk at Lillian Pratt.
“I feel good when I leave here every day, because I’ve helped them (the residents) make it through their day. They are like family.”
It’s of no surprise that Linda doesn’t stop giving back when her day is over. You’ll typically find her volunteering her time, including errands on the weekends. One weekend it’s grapefruits from Costco, the next weekend it might be makeup at Macy’s.
It wasn’t too long ago that Linda taught an eight-week scrapbooking class to residents with dementia. She worked with their families to bring in old photos and used those to help the residents make scrapbooks.
While Linda’s love for Franke Tobey Jones has her spending a lot of time there, this lifelong Tacoma resident also finds the time to spend with her two teenage children. You might also spot her at the Y, out walking her dog, and even spending a little time on Facebook.
Meet concierge and problem solver extraordinaire – Shirley Robbins
While it’s not the concierge desk of a posh hotel, don’t be surprised if you find the same high end service offered by Shirley Robbins, concierge at Franke Tobey Jones.
Since 2007, Robbins has served as the concierge of Franke Tobey Jones’ Garden Apartments, where residents live independently but often need a little help here and there – and all they have to do is ask.
Mary Damonte, a resident at the Garden Apartments, claims there aren’t enough superlatives to describe Shirley. “She’s brought a quiet strength and joy to us. Nothing is too much for her to tackle. She’s there and available when anything comes up.”
Robbins, who works about 20 hours a week staffing the service desk, does everything from fixing computers, picking up prescriptions at doctors’ offices, running to the store for a much needed baking item or shuttling a resident to have her car fixed.
“Our residents don’t always like to ask their kids to do things for them, and some don’t have family close by, so I’m here to help them out when they don’t have someone else who can,” said Robbins.
Wander into the Garden Apartments lobby on Monday, Wednesday or Friday and you’ll find Robbins offering up continental breakfast. Or stick around for Friday afternoons and you’ll be treated to happy hour.
When asked about the breakfasts and Friday socials, Robbins explains, “I’m not there to facilitate conversation, just to encourage it. Socialization is very important to seniors.”
“I can’t imagine my life at the Garden Apartments without Shirley,” said resident Joanne Rieke. “She is an extraordinary person, the kind that is tuned in to our daily lives. She’s kind of our everything.”
Robbins says what makes her feel best about her role is when she can still help the residents feel independent and able to take care of themselves.
Computers are often a source of frustration, as Robbins recalls a recent experience where a resident hit a button on his computer and couldn’t figure out what he’d done. “He was totally frustrated and couldn’t get it to work, and I was able to help him figure out what happened and show him how to fix it in the future. That makes me feel good.”
Robbins laughingly admits she’s not a Mac person when it comes to computer, but says she’s learning. “I’ve even called a resident’s son in Oregon, and between the two of us, we fixed his dad’s computer without him having to come up here and do it.”
No day is the same at the Garden Apartments. One day Robbins might be working with maintenance to figure out why the heat isn’t working properly, another day she’s helping residents bring food to another who’s not feeling well.
“I do surprise parties, I make arrangements for families to stay on or off campus, I offer a listening ear when it’s needed – it’s really just all about making our residents feel special,” said Robbins.
While Robbins has never worked in a hotel, she has a background that lends itself well to being resourceful and helping people, serving as a home economics teacher, then a mom with a military husband and later at a church running a café and bookstore.
Residents and families come to quickly trust Robbins. She’s there when they need her and they know she’ll take care of whatever needs they have. And, Robbins knows and expects that residents’ needs differ every day. That’s what she loves about being their concierge.