In this issue, PVN Executive Director Bryan Cooper will share PVN’s ongoing commitment to each and every resident’s health, safety and well-being during the pandemic and beyond, as well as his enthusiasm for The Hawthorne.
Get to know Executive Chef Kevin Neff, the man behind all the delicious meals prepared at PVN, as well as meet your future neighbors and current residents, Pam and Carroll “Goose” Altizer. Discover how Pam’s longtime passion for painting led to weekly oil painting classes, now being offered regularly on the PVN campus.
Missed our recent webinar on Living Well Quarantine-Style? You can check it out below. And don’t forget to save the date for our upcoming webinars as well.
We hope you enjoy this issue.
As Executive Chef of Presbyterian Village North, Kevin Neff manages all kitchens and oversees putting every delicious menu together. He manages a staff of 30 in the Independent Living kitchen and Café in Corrigan, the Assisted Living kitchen in Joyce Hall, and the kitchen in the Transitional Care Unit, as well as all catered events and even some of the Forefront Living events at the T. Boone Pickens Conference Center. “Each of the kitchens is different and has its own unique flair,” says Kevin. He adds that he and his staff enjoy running off the energy exuded at each location as they serve on average 1,000 meals per day.
Kevin’s experience in the food service industry is vast. It all began in Illinois, where Kevin grew up on a farm. At a young age he learned meat fabrication, gardening, and canning. The mid-1980s was a tough time for farming. Family farmers faced a crisis unlike any since the Great Depression. So Kevin opted for a different career path that would still allow him to use his knowledge of food and decided to become a chef. His formal education includes a degree from Parkland College Food and a year as a chef apprentice at Tippecanoe Place in South Bend, Indiana.
Kevin started out working in a variety of steakhouses and other restaurants. In the 1990s, he served as Executive Chef for Illinois Governor Jim Edgar. This was an exciting and fun job that allowed Kevin to meet many interesting people. He also worked at numerous hotels and resorts in Arizona. Kevin was instrumental in helping the famed luxury resort The Phoenician earn one of their stars back (in the Forbes rating system). He was also integral in the opening of The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, with over 700 guest rooms and vast banquet space.
Kevin moved to California and worked as Director of Outlets for Marriott in conjunction with The Mina Group, a restaurant management group founded by celebrity chef Michael Mina. He then moved to Washington, DC, working for Marriott as part of the Shula’s Restaurant Group.
Kevin came to the Dallas area in 2006. He worked for Sodexo as Executive Chef at the J. C. Penney headquarters’ restaurant in Plano as well as the Forest Park Medical Center’s restaurant in Frisco. This upscale restaurant featured Kevin’s dishes that became known for making social media appearances.
Of his cooking trek across the country, Kevin says, “You learn different things in different places—if you’re in California, you cook like you’re in California—if you’re in Alabama, you cook like you’re in Alabama.”
Kevin joined PVN six years ago. While here, he has helped revamp the dining experience. He enjoys the create-design-start up process. “Coming up with a brunch menu is one of my favorite things to do because it’s always going to be something different,” he says. Getting input from the residents is another pleasure at PVN. “The residents here are down to earth and good about giving feedback and asking for what they like,” says Kevin. Menu favorites include salmon, kung pao chicken, and his signature beef brisket with a peach preserve and whiskey glaze. And for dessert? Top choices are chocolate eclairs, Frangelico mousse, and any warm dessert with ice cream!
When faced with the challenge of providing meals in the middle of a pandemic, Kevin replies, “I love the challenge of providing the best safe, fresh, sustainable menu to our residents, no matter what changing food regulations and/or what food or labor challenges arise.” And his absolute favorite thing about working at PVN is interacting with the residents. “It’s crazy how you get to know people,” he says.
When not at work, Kevin loves hanging out with his wife and three daughters at their home in Allen. He also enjoys using his smoker to make barbecue for his family, aptly solidifying TEXAN in his culinary repertoire!
Originally from New York City, Pam Altizer has lived in Dallas since 1978. Her husband, Carroll “Goose” Altizer, has been in Texas since 1973. They moved to Presbyterian Village North from their nearby home three years ago.
The Altizers were actually inspired to move to PVN after helping Pam’s mother, Betty, move to the community from Houston in 2016.
Pam’s mom was on vacation for several weeks while Pam and Goose got everything settled in for her at her new PVN apartment in Martins Landing. The Altizers had been looking to downsize and had seen numerous North Dallas condos and townhouses. As they moved Pam’s mom in and had a closer look around PVN, they found the patio homes to be very appealing. They chose a home in the “North 10” section of the campus and are now just a five-minute walk to Pam’s mom’s at Martins Landing.
Pam retired from being a management consultant in Strategy and Operations Improvement in 2015 but still does occasional contract work. She was an economics/finance major as an undergraduate and went on to get her MBA and an MS in Organizational Development from the University of Dallas and the University of Texas at Dallas, respectively. Pam’s impressive career took her from New York to Boston to Chicago and then to Dallas, where she met Goose. Pam and her colleagues were customers of Goose, and she ended up working for the company, and as they say, “the rest is history.” She spent 15 years working for Texas Instruments (ironically across the street from where she lives now at PVN!). She managed a consumer product line and a group of high-tech engineers and designers, doing a fair amount of overseas work in Asia. “Working at TI allowed me to understand what it was like to work for a company that truly values integrity. TI is just an outstanding company…it was an excellent experience of what it’s like to work in a great corporate environment,” says Pam.
She left TI in 1998 and went into consulting, where she remained until her retirement. Initially, she worked with The George Group in Dallas for 10 years, which was later purchased by Accenture in 2007. During the consulting years of her career, she worked with large Fortune 1000 companies in various areas and industries and appreciated her experiences with her great clients.
In her free time, Pam enjoys painting. She began painting many years ago, but put it aside when life became busy. After retirement, she took it back up with an instructor in Plano who, thanks to Pam, now comes to PVN once a week to give lessons in oil painting.
You may have seen Pam painting along with Jane Seymour in a recent news segment or on social media. Jane Seymour’s Open Heart Foundation, which places an emphasis on helping others in difficult times, launched an “Open Hearted Challenge,” encouraging people to find ways of doing things with others during the COVID-19 pandemic and finding joy in the situation we’re in right now. Jane and Pam helped spread word of the challenge by chatting and painting together via Zoom in their respective homes. “It was a different way to enjoy painting, and Jane is just a lovely person to be with,” says Pam.
Pam has been especially appreciative of how PVN has operated with regard to the pandemic. “The staff here is just incredible; they are so professional and very caring…especially during these unusual times,” she says. She also mentions how nice it’s been to have meals delivered to their door and how the staff continually does interesting things to keep residents connected, such as using an in-house website called Cubigo. (Watch the Resident Communications Portal for an article about Cubigo). “There’s a lot of respect for staff because they treat us so nicely and so well; it’s a real family feeling,” adds Pam.
One of the things that Pam enjoys most about living at PVN is the residents. “The people here are really very nice. They’re coming from all walks of life and professions,” she says. She enjoys the fact that you never know who you’re sitting next to at dinner or what their background is. In contrast to her former neighborhood of single owned homes, she feels she has more opportunity to visit with people and it’s hard to not be more socially engaged.
Pam has not slowed down much since retirement! She stays very busy and is quite immersed in life at PVN. She is on the board of the PVN Foundation, is head of the PVN Safety and Security Committee and a member of the Communications and Newcomers committees. She and her husband are also PVN Ambassadors, helping to share the PVN lifestyle with potential residents of the community. Outside of PVN, Pam is a board member of the Dallas Summer Musicals and Attitudes and Attire.
In times that better warrant it, Pam and Goose love to travel. Now they enjoy walking their two beagles on the 63 acres of PVN and visiting the PVN dog park. Her husband has three children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, who live in Tennessee and Southern California. They enjoy visiting with them as much as possible during the year.
This was a special presentation only for Hawthorne VIPs. Watch again as Shannon Radford, PVN Director of Wellness, and Deana Lisenby, Lifestyle Fitness Manager, guide you through the 6 dimensions of wellness—intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, emotional and vocational—and offer valuable tips for incorporating each of these into your daily life.
While we are still staying safe with social distancing, we’ve added a few webinars to stay in touch with you via Zoom. We hope you will join us. Watch your email for the invitations.
July 16 at 10 amThe Psychology of Change
Transitions. We’ve all experienced them at one time or another during our lifetime. Join our distinguished speakers as they discuss how to navigate them to ultimately achieve new levels of happiness.
July 29 at 10 amPromises Made and Promises Kept: A Conversation with Forefront and PVN Leadership
When residents moved to Presbyterian Village North, promises were made to them and their families. Find out from our leaders the inspiration and passion behind keeping them.
August 12 at 2 pmAsk the Architect
As you continue to create the lifestyle that’s just right for you, meet the person behind the creation of your future home. It’s a great opportunity to ask the questions only our architect can answer.
Coming SoonVirtual Happy Hour
Each Wednesday in July and August, PVN will be hosting a series of virtual happy hours by apartment location so you can get to know your neighbors. We can’t wait to share more details about the Happy Hour with you, so watch your email for an invitation soon!
As a Hawthorne VIP, you’ve come to learn about all the great things you can look forward to as a Charter Member of The Hawthorne at Presbyterian Village North. So why not share this knowledge with a friend? If you know someone you think would like The Hawthorne, let us know!
Contact Celeste today at (214) 355‑9935 or CMcCloskey@forefrontliving.org.
8600 Skyline Drive
Dallas, TX 75243
Phone: (214) 355-9001