The E.J. Plesko Award is part of the E.J. Plesko Distinguished Speaker Series, which features speakers who embody the “Wisconsin Tradition” in their spirit, imagination, entrepreneurial skills and enthusiasm for improving the quality of the built environment. The E.J. Plesko Distinguished Speaker Series was created to bring the considerable real-world development expertise of alumni and board members to all University of Wisconsin real estate students. It was funded in 2007 by a gift from the late E.J. Plesko, former Graaskamp board member, who was the founder and past president of E.J. Plesko & Associates, Inc.
2017 Distinguished Speaker: Michael F. Gould, President, SilverCrest Properties, LLC
Michael F. Gould established G&P Properties, Inc. in 1986 as a full-service real estate firm developing, constructing, marketing and managing commercial properties. In the mid-1990’s, G&P Properties reorganized and became SilverCrest Properties, LLC, focusing its attention solely on the senior housing market and senior housing operations. The company maximizes the success of each project through careful market research, planning, creative design and boundless ingenuity. SilverCrest Properties has built and manages independent, assisted living and memory care campuses in several Twin Cities communities, including Richfield, St. Louis Park, New Brighton, Eden Prairie, Lakeville, Maple Grove as well Rochester, MN, Des Moines, IA and Converse, TX.
Mr. Gould sets the strategic direction for the company, oversees operations, develops new senior communities, and works to achieve the company’s financial goals. Under his direction, the company has incorporated innovative programs into the traditional senior housing paradigm including wellness centers that contain warm water multi-purpose and therapy pools, massage, and state-of-the-art fitness equipment designed for seniors.
Fifteen years ago, with the development of Summit Place Senior Campus in Eden Praire, MN, SilverCrest made a decision to differentiate itself from other senior housing operators through a commitment to wellness. SilverCrest created the first of five wellness centers at its campuses. This model led to relationships with the medical community and partnerships with health care providers. These partnerships created new therapy clinics within SilverCrest communities for both residents and those in the broader community requiring therapy services. These wellness centers offer independent community memberships to those 55+. The wellness centers meet the needs of aging adults, improve one’s quality of life, increase project occupancy due to the demand for this amenity and retain existing residents due to a healthier lifestyle.
Under Mr. Gould’s leadership, SilverCrest Properties has grown to be the 6th largest senior housing operator in Minnesota based on the number of apartments managed (in 2017 managing 1,434 apartments in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and Rochester). Residents, families and employee satisfaction rates are tops in the industry. This is supported by having average occupancy rates of 97.5%, consistently positive resident survey results, and employee satisfaction that has resulted in SilverCrest being recognized as a TOP 150 Employer in the State of Minnesota by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2017.
Over the past several years, Mr. Gould has been involved with Summit Academy in Minneapolis. Summit Academy is a nonprofit organization that provides training and job placement for those seeking to become a certified nursing assistant and other careers in the senior housing/healthcare fields. With the projected shortage of caregivers to meet the future needs of the aging population, organizations such as Summit Academy are critical in bridging this gap.
Mr. Gould is a Vietnam War veteran and is very passionate about supporting other veterans. SilverCrest has been extensively involved in the Honor Flight program that sends our World War II veterans to Washington D.C. to view the WWII Memorial and be honored for their service. SilverCrest has raised over $200,000 in support of Honor Flights. Mr. Gould, along with several members of the SilverCrest team, have been family escorts on the Honor Flights.
Prior to launching G&P Properties/SilverCrest Properties, Mr. Gould was a Development Manager for Bor-Son Construction Companies, handling new projects. He received a BA in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.
In Mr. Gould’s free time he enjoys golf, traveling to warmer climates during the brutal Minnesota winters, annual pheasant hunting trips to South Dakota and (occasionally) catching large walleye in Canada. A Minnesota sports fan by birthright, if pressed, he’ll also admit he enjoys watching the consistent winning of the Green Bay Packers and UW football and basketball.
Past E.J. Plesko Distinguished Speakers
- John Rutledge, Founder, President & CEO, Oxford Capital Group, LLC
- Joel Carlins, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Magellan Development Group L.L.C.
- James Martell, Founder, CEO, & Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ridge Property Trust
- Steven Fifield, Owner & President, Fifield Companies
- Daniel McCaffery, Chairman & CEO, McCaffery Interests
- Jim Grusecki, CEO, Northern Builders
- Todd Lillibridge, President & CEO, Lillibridge
- John Gates, Chairman & CEO, PortaeCo
- Stuart Ackerberg, CEO, The Ackerberg Group