Kendra Eberhart, President and Chief Executive Officer
Gretchen Cobb, Chief Operating Officer
Dina Capek, Health Services Director
Mary Ellen Thieroff, Marketing Director
Janet Adams, Human Resources Director
A. Carter Smitherman CPA, Chief Financial Officer
Carey Altgilbers, Information Technology Director
Mark Schroeder, Food Service Director
President and Chief Executive Officer
As President and CEO, Kendra Eberhart continues to carry out the vision of Royal Oaks’ original founders—a place where active retirees can relish living life to the fullest while enjoying the security of lifelong care. She joined Royal Oaks in 1986 and has held her current position since 1997. Residents and staff enjoy her open-door policy and thrive on socializing with Kendra at the residents’ functions, especially since she can often be found helping serve up their favorite cocktails! A native of Nebraska and a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Kendra is quick to say “go Cornhuskers.” Kendra was awarded the Arizona Leading Age Award of Honor in 2017.
Chief Operating Officer
In 1998, a young CPA was recruited away from an accounting firm to join Royal Oaks’ Accounting Department. Today, Gretchen Cobb serves as our Chief Operating Officer, and equally importantly, she is the go-to person for the administrative team when an opportunity needs a second look. “Fetch Gretch” is an oft-called phrase when a brainstorming meeting ensues. With an uncanny ability to look at a situation and find the simplest solution, Gretchen’s expertise leads us through the forest to see the trees. When she earned her MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2009, the University, too, saw that she was something special and awarded her the honor of commencement speaker, presenting in front of nearly 10,000 attendees. She, her husband, and teenage son share a love of car racing, quad riding, and all things fast. Gretchen was named the Arizona Leading Age Emerging Leader of the Year in 2018.
Health Services Director
When you have a face that never stops smiling and that face has a Masters Degree in Nursing, you ask her to assume a leadership role as Health Services Director. Dina Capek started at Royal Oaks in 1989 as a Certified Nurse Assistant, leaving to become an RN and later returning to Royal Oaks in 1997. Through our scholarship program, she achieved both undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from the University of Phoenix. Her compassion for our residents is evident in every conversation you’ll have with her. Recognizing in her grandmothers that people can remain vibrant and fun throughout their lifetime in spite of age, Dina found her calling in geriatric nursing. She directs all aspects of Royal Oaks’ Health, Wellness, and Fitness Departments, carrying out our philosophy that keeping resident happy, active, and healthy is a giant step toward increased longevity.
Mary Ellen Thieroff
Mary Ellen Thieroff grew up in the Phoenix area until 2001, she ventured out to Washington DC where she was the Director of Marketing and Advertising for Pella Windows & Doors. In 2012, she and her husband returned to the area eventually landing her role at Royal Oaks. Her team’s priority is to keep our campus full as well as bring new residents to the new neighborhood Inspirata Pointe.
Human Resources Director
A. Carter Smitherman CPA
Chief Financial Officer
Prior to landing at our Sun City campus in April 2014, Carter spent 12 years in public accounting working with Arizona nonprofit organizations and governments. He also served as Director of Finance for the Arizona Opera, where he garnered a huge appreciation of the music. In fact, if you wander into his office, you may hear a faint version of Carmen or Tosca playing in the background. An ASU graduate, Carter is an active volunteer on committees at the State Board of Accountancy, St. Joan of Arc church, and various Knights of Columbus events. Carter and his wife have three children, Caitlin, Colter, and Tucker.
Information Technology Director
When she isn’t absorbed in books and movies on science fiction, Carey Altgilbers keeps the Royal Oaks Information Technology Department humming right along. Prior to arriving in the Valley of the Sun in 2006, Carey lived in the D.C. area, where she received her B.S. in Computer Science from George Washington University. While in our nation’s capitol, she worked at ICMA and Computer Science Corporation. After one particularly cold winter, she headed west and arrived at Royal Oaks and we are glad she did! Her value to our technology needs is immense and she was granted a full scholarship through the Royal Oaks scholarship program, where she completed her M.S. in Information Management from Arizona State. In addition to adoring her dog, Carey relishes hiking, rock climbing, and swimming.
Christine Lang is a rarity—a Phoenix native! A job took her to the Seattle area in 1989 and she’s thrilled to be back in the Valley of the Sun as Royal Oaks’ Facility Director. A professional member of the International Facilities Management Association since 1999, she also achieved the internationally recognized designation of Certified Facility Manager in 2000. Certified in OSHA federal regulations, OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management programs, Christine was awarded recognition by Washington State city and county governments for implementing programs, making her workplace the “Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling.” Christine is certified in SCUBA, participates in many outdoor sports, has a love for a variety of music and plans to remain faithful to the Seattle Seahawks! She holds a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University.
Food Service Director
What makes a Food Service Director great? A love of food and serving people is a good start—and Mark Schroeder is not only good, but great in leading a team that delivers the perfect culinary experience to our residents. He received his first taste of the food service industry in an ice cream parlor/grill managed by his mother—and thus was born a rich career in the restaurant industry. When he isn’t serving up themed events on the pool patio, Mark can probably be found taste testing our Chefs’ newest creations or giving his extraordinary kitchen tours. His love of dancing is also well known so ask to see his moves!
A Food Service Director in Arizona retirement communities for more than 30 years, Mark landed at Royal Oaks in 2007 and we are thrilled he brought to our residents a food service experience that delights gastronomically.