Meet the Team

Hand-selected a staff from across the country, The Garlands Management team is comprised of some of the very best and most experienced leaders in the hospitality and retirement living industries.  They are truly at the top of their professions and committed to one thing: providing the highest possible level of service to their members.

Istavan Abdai

Istvan Abdai

Director of Hospitality

Istvan is a graduate of Economisch College Hotel School in the Netherlands. From an early start, he has cultivated a passion for high quality service and exceptional cuisine working in fine dining restaurants throughout Europe. He has managed food and beverage programs for over 15 communities for a large senior housing operator.

He’s planned and opened several new, converted and acquired retirement communities. In total, Abdai has assisted with menu planning for over 75 communities and developed food and beverage training programs along the way. He’s made it his mission to improve quality and service by creating new systems and procedures.

Currently, Istvan oversees Food & Beverage, Member Services, Housekeeping and Activities for The Garlands of Barrington.

 

Jill LundJill Steco

Lifestyles Director

 

Jill holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education from Northern Illinois University and has over 20 years of experience in senior lifestyle and fitness management.
 
Jill’s accomplishments include defining and developing all programming in the seven dimensions of wellness for The Garlands since its opening in 2002.  With Jill’s leadership, The Garlands earned the 2012 NuStep Pinnacle Award and the 2009 International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) Innovator Award.  She also serves as the Fair Housing Act Compliance Officer at The Garlands of Barrington.  She is a former board member of the ICAA Visioning Board and Engaging Group, member of the ICAA/ProMatura Wellness Benchmarks committee and a former Board Member for Harper College Lifelong Learning Institute.  She holds an American Senior Fitness Association Senior Fitness Instructor Certification and teaches classes on how to slow down the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and dementia and promote balance, strength, cardiovascular health and range of motion.
 
Jill has had the privilege to speak at international and national conferences including the LSN Annual Meeting and Exhibition and “Best Practices: Resident Health and Wellness Programs” conference, the AAHSA convention and ICAA Annual conventions on “Exploring the Seven Dimensions of Wellness with Community Partnerships, Staff and Residents” and “Best Practices: Resident Health and Wellness Programs.”  
 
Jill is a Stephen’s Minister and serves in Guest Connections at her church.

 

Cindy Baldocchi

Interior Design Services Coordinator

 

Cindy earned an Administrative Assistant degree from Robert Morris College and has applied her skills in  legal/compliance, human resources and sales/marketing where she oversaw a graphic design department. Taking 10 years off to raise her two children, Cindy’s organization efforts continued by running a household and volunteering for many school events. She currently oversees all construction for new move-ins and maintains the aesthetics of the interior campus of The Garlands.  Cindy’s diverse background allows her to be an  expert in creating design concepts, finishing selections and accessorizing new renovations.  Currently, she is taking Interior Design classes with Interior Design Institute.

 

 

 

web scottScott Weimer

Director of Maintenance

 

Scott, a veteran of retirement communities for 20+ years, brings his knowledge and expertise to provide an efficient running and safe environment for all that reside and work within.

His career began in 1988 as an Assistant Building Manager for Whitehall North, a convalescent/rehabilitation facility in Deerfield, IL.  Here he began servicing and repairing systems, such as cooling towers, water heaters, etc.  Going onto 1994 through 1998 he became Building Manager for Hawthorn Lakes Retirement Community where his responsibilities grew from “hands-on” repairs to training and management of additional staff due to growth.  In 1998 to 2001, he decided to try a different profession of Director of Housekeeping where he was responsible for team management, training and monitoring; the opening of towers within a community and the development/management of budgets.

In 2001 he moved forward to a new retirement community opening in Libertyville as their Building Engineer.  Then in 2002, he was invited to become the Assistant Maintenance Director for The Garlands of Barrington, and was promoted to Director of Maintenance in 2008.

He holds many licenses and certificates such as HVAC, Refrigerant, pools, is a member of the RSES and is CPR AED certified.

 

Chef Nick at The GarlandsNicola Torres

Executive Chef

 

Nicola Torres has 40 years experience in the culinary field, with experience in different types of hotels, restaurants, clubs and casinos. Torres received a culinary art degree from a hospitality management college in Bari, Italy. Upon completion, Torres worked throughout Italy, learning different regional cooking.

Torres worked in Brussels and Belgium learning French cooking under French and Belgian chefs. Later, he moved to the United States to work for Stouffer’s as well as the Renaissance and Marriott Hotels. He was involved in hotel openings, managing task forces and training of culinary staff in various hotels, including assisting the corporate chef at their office test kitchen and executive dining room.

Among other achievements, Torres was the Executive Chef for Millrose restaurant in South Barrington, he opened Rivers Casino as a Commissary chef and attended several continuing education classes at the Culinary Institute of America at Napa Valley campus.

Chef Nicola is a Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Federation.