Martha & Mary post a 'great fit' for Solvie

POULSBO — For Minnesota native Chad Solvie, figuring out what to do when he grew up wasn't too hard a thing. An idea seeded in high school sprouted in college, directing him on a path many choose only as a second career. But he knew early on assisted-living facility administration could be his niche, and worked hard to make it so, earning a bachelor's degree in long-term care administration and psychology from Concordia College and a master's in organization and management from Capella University. Now, at 34 years old, he's preparing to take the chief executive officer reigns of a long standing Poulsbo institution founded more than a century ago.

Currently the administrator of Martha & Mary, an assisted living and rehabilitation facility that also operates day care services throughout the county, Solvie will switch desks in September, filling a vacancy left at the organization by Denney Austin earlier this year. Solvie has served as administrator for seven years.

Martha & Mary board member Bill Brueggemann has filled in as temporary CEO in the interim.

Solvie said since moving to Kitsap in 2001, he and his wife, Melanie, have come to love the area.

"We love it out here, it's pristine," Solvie said. "It's great in every way."

But staying true to his roots, he and his family head back to their North Star State stomping grounds two or three times a year to help with crops and livestock. It's a nice break from the day-to-day pace of life, and a place with similar values as North Kitsap, which he and his family are happy to ingrain.

"You work, you worship and you go to school in the same community," he said. "That part resonates well with our personal values."

But here, Solvie is looking forward to building on Martha & Mary's 117-year legacy and leading its future growth, which will entail meeting the expanding needs and desires of seniors in the area.

"At the end of the day they thought it was the right fit to keep things going," Solvie said of the board's decision to promote in-house. "We're pretty focused in the direction we want to go as far as growth."

The transition should be a calm one because of it, and Solvie said he's focusing on meeting the changing demands of a growing senior population, from potential new campuses and independent living communities to diversifying Martha & Mary's programs throughout the entire region.

"Right now health care is so fragmented," he said. "One stop shop is really our goal."

Martha & Mary President Sue Gitch said Solvie is set to do a good job at just that.

“Chad is extremely knowledgeable in the area of services for the aging and will be well positioned to lead all of the organization’s business lines forward,” she said in a prepared statement.

Solvie, who worked as a nurse's assistant through college and brings his kids, who range in age from 2-5, to Martha & Mary with him twice a week, said working for the organization is a "personal great fit," and his experience translates into his management philosophy, which he said extends from attending board meetings in suit and tie to helping to care for kids and residents.

He said he's vested in Kitsap's economic development, and looks forward to expanding Martha & Mary's public involvement, especially in Poulsbo, a community that's been a valued supporter.

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