John R. Dickson IV Featured

8:00pm EDT September 25, 2010
Pittsburgh Pacesetters 2010

When John R. Dickson IV arrived at Redstone Highlands Senior Living Communities, his industry experience and dedication to the organization’s mission were the perfect mix for improving the operations and culture.

Since Dickson was named to the position in 2001, Redstone has tackled an expansion of services, decrease in waste, savings on insurance premiums and a culture overhaul.

When Dickson arrived, Redstone had a high turnover rate and low morale. Dickson focused on changing the culture in order to improve camaraderie and overall employee and company success.

He started by encouraging open and honest communication among everyone in the company. Redstone and his team defined a set of values and behaviors they thought exemplified the company’s core values, and then they each took a survey to determine their own behaviors and values. Based on the results, each executive made a commitment to improve their strengths and diminish their weaknesses.

The process was repeated throughout each level of the organization. The difficult actions paid off after two years of review, when the company reduced its turnover rate by 25 percent.

Morale is up, and Redstone executives now travel the country sharing what they learned from the experience.

In addition to giving the company’s culture a lift, Dickson took on operational changes that were leading to waste.

Dickson noticed a waste in prescription medication and a longer-than-necessary wait time for residents to receive their medicine. To solve the problem, he has worked closely with Faith-Based Network and OnsiteRx to establish an on-site pharmacy.

Dickson’s initiative made Redstone the first senior living community to implement a system of its kind and a leader in on-site pharmacies. Multiple western Pennsylvania organizations have followed suit and joined the pharmacy network.

Fixing the prescription problem was only one of the major changes. Like most companies today, Redstone faced a difficult decision when its health insurance costs increased. In 2002, the company’s insurance costs soared 44 percent.

To combat the increasing costs, Dickson implemented an extensive wellness program, which has saved the company an estimated $440,000 in insurance premiums over the last four years.

Under Dickson’s leadership, Redstone also has expanded its housing options and made firm commitments to quality service.

How to reach: Redstone Highlands Senior Living Communities, (724) 832-8400 or