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James A. Stroud, founder and president of Stroud Companies

There is no question that James A. Stroud, founder and president of Stroud Companies, is a trailblazer in the senior living industry. Stroud is a true entrepreneur and as a national leader in the industry, he has been involved in acquisitions, developments, operations and sales valued in excess of $2 billion. At the center of his success is his personal passion to create “something better” for seniors. After watching his father quickly decline in a skilled nursing facility, Stroud decided there had to be a better way to care for seniors. He has dedicated his life to creating communities he wished his father had lived in – communities that focus on the individual residents, emphasize choice and provide high quality care at the level needed by each resident. The result is the development of a unique person-centered approach in communities that give seniors a purpose-filled life. Stroud is a pioneer who helped found the assisted living industry in the 1980s, and due to his more than 30 years of achievements, Stroud was recently selected to share his unique insights in the prestigious publication, “The Entrepreneurial Spirit of Seniors Housing: Thoughts, Stories and Lessons on Leadership” just released by American Seniors Housing Association and The SeniorCare Investor.

The publication is designed to preserve the rich history of the senior living profession while inspiring future entrepreneurs. This second edition features James A. Stroud, founder and president of Stroud Companies; William Kaplan, co-founder of Senior LifeStyle; William and Robert Thomas, co-founders of Senior Star Living; Dr. Laverne R. Joseph, chief executive officer of Retirement Housing Foundation and David J. Freshwater, president of The Freshwater Group, Inc.

“I am honored to be recognized among such visionaries in our industry,” said Stroud. “My goal is to give back to this industry and help educate the next generation of senior living providers and entrepreneurs. I hope that readers find it valuable to learn from our time-tested principles as they begin to think about providing quality care and a better life for the seniors of tomorrow.”

Stroud was the founder and chairman of Capital Senior Living (NYSE), which is the largest owner and operator in the southwest. He now develops and operates through Stroud Companies. Throughout his career, Stroud has implemented the same strategy, and each time, it has led to tremendous success. Stroud’s personal goal to improve seniors’ lives motivates and guides him. The key is to ensure that his son, Will Stroud, and others on his team share this passion. While experience and credentials are important, Stroud always looks for team members and caregivers with the right heart. Over the years, he has hired thousands of people and empowered them to use their compassion and love of seniors to positively impact more than 50,000 lives. Stroud structures his communities and company in such a way that employees understand their positions but also have room to connect personally and have a purpose-filled career. The combination of Stroud’s passion and his employees’ dedication results in quality care, and Stroud believes in providing that care at an affordable price.

“I have always used the same method, and I have found that it works,” said Stroud. “You cannot create passion. Either you have it, or you don’t. I believe that you cannot succeed in senior housing without it, and if you don’t care for seniors deep down in your heart, then you shouldn’t get into this industry. This passion is what gets me going each and every day, and it’s what helped me create a very unique model that focuses on person-centered care.”

Stroud is currently implementing this approach in two prototypes – Orchard Park (assisted living and memory care) in Katy, Texas, and Sonoma House (assisted living and memory care) in Carrollton, Texas. Both provide a purpose-filled lifestyle, and Sonoma House is a unique concept consisting of seven homes on the same campus. Each home has 16 residents, and this model is based on substantial research that shows seniors are measurably happier and healthier when living in smaller, more intimate care environments.

While these are Stroud’s newest projects, the company is not currently building additional communities. Stroud is watching the market, and will likely switch his focus to acquiring existing assets that are underperforming. Due to the cyclical nature of senior housing, Stroud acknowledges that developers are currently overbuilding senior living communities in some areas. In the near future, he will use his expertise and entrepreneurial spirit to purchase and turnaround struggling operational communities in Texas and other states.

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