Say 'Guten Tag' to Gehm
Most of its residents are of German ancestry and their heritage is celebrated in the Alpine exteriors of homes and businesses, as well as street names such as Gunzenhausen and Beyerlein.
It is in this picturesque setting that LeadingAge Board President-Elect Dave Gehm lives and works. Although originally from the Detroit area, he has served as president and CEO of Lutheran Homes of Michigan since 1994 and has been a fixture in the community for more than 20 years.
“Being in Frankenmuth is the best of both worlds,” he says. “We live close enough to Detroit to enjoy its culture and also have a small-town environment to raise our kids.”
Gehm came to Frankenmuth in 1990 to become administrator for the Lutheran Home, a 138-resident skilled nursing and assisted living facility. In 1993, he helped establish the Lutheran Home Care Agency and served as its first executive director. In his position as president and CEO, he has been instrumental in expanding the organization beyond its core skilled nursing services into home healthcare, rehabilitation and hospice care.
Lutheran Homes has been a fertile training ground for honing Gehm's leadership skills. He plans to approach his new role at LeadingAge with fervor.
“Whether it's for my facility or trade organization, I have a passion to drive the long-term care service and support system to a place where folks get the services they need, when they need it,” he says. “I want to lead and be part of a dialogue that is able to think about things outside of the day-to-day grind. I want to create a morally sound, sustainable environment for seniors and caregivers in this country.”
Gehm entered the industry by going to work in a community pharmacy after he graduated from Wayne State University. That decision has benefited many, including Aging Services of Michigan. The group's CEO, David Herbel, has enjoyed a long working relationship with him.
“Dave holds dear a leadership philosophy which implies a comprehensive view of the quality of people, work and community giving,” he says. “People around him recognize that his spiritual identity furthers the mission, vision and culture of Lutheran Homes of Michigan. He is a servant first.”
Faith, family and vocation are the main pillars of life for Gehm, who says he strives to maintain a balance between the three.
He and his wife, Elaine, have been married 27 years and have four children. Gehm occasionally sings in his church choir and played trumpet and French horn in school. One of his more creative musical projects was serving as leader of a kazoo band that substituted for the regular school pep band during a period of budget austerity.
The family has been actively involved in the community and regularly attends the many Bavarian-themed events, though Gehm says he doesn't own a pair of lederhosen and most likely wouldn't be seen wearing them in public.
“Maybe at Halloween, but I'd have to think about it,” he says with a laugh.
Graduates from Wayne State University with bachelor's degree in pharmacy
Becomes a practicing community and consulting
Joins Presbyterian Village in Redford, MI, as assistant administrator
Hired as administrator at Lutheran Home in Frankenmuth, MI
Assumes title of president and CEO of Lutheran Homes of Michigan
Named president-elect for the LeadingAge Board of Directors