Robert F. Wernet, Jr.
President and CEO
Since he joined Deerfield in 1998, Bob Wernet has served as the President and CEO of the Deerfield Corporation. Bob received a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University and a Masters in Gerontology from North Texas State University. He is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator and has served as a preceptor for new administrators in Florida and North Carolina. He served in multiple administrative positions in CCRC’s in Florida and has been developing/managing CCRC’s since 1981. He has been involved in and was responsible for oversight of three major expansions each over 400,000 new sq. ft. Bob has served on several community Boards and currently serves on the Leading Age North Carolina Board; previously serving as the Board’s Chair. Bob has also completed the Evaluator training for the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission.
Chief Financial Officer
Robert has been Controller/CFO since he joined Deerfield in 1999. He is responsible for the financial operations of the Corporation, including financial reporting, the annual budget, and forecasting. Robert is a graduate of Texas A&M University with an accounting degree. He is a CPA and began his career with Peat Marwick and worked as a controller for a financial services firm for 10 years and also worked for a New York accounting firm. Robert has completed Evaluator training for the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission. Currently, Robert serves on the Board of Adjustments for the Town of Biltmore Forest and serves on the Investment Committee of Dogwood Health Trust.
Matt oversees Operations, Health & Wellness, Facility Services, Marketing, Human Resources, Pastoral Services and serves as liaison to the Residents’ Council. He joined Deerfield in March 2004. Upon joining Deerfield, he was part of the Administrator in Training Program through the State of North Carolina and earned his Nursing Home Administrator License in October 2005. He has a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and also a Masters in Business Administration from Western Carolina University.
Director of Operations
As the Director of Operations, Debra is responsible for managing several departments including Dining Services, Housekeeping, Resident Life (programs, activities, fitness, art, etc), as well as managing the contract services of the Riverwalk Spa and salons.services such as, salon services, massage therapy, and exercise instruction, and art. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill in 1992. She has spent more than 20 years serving older adults and their families as a health care administrator in senior living communities, hospices, and through the Atlanta Area Agency on Aging. She moved to Asheville in 2005 to serve as the Executive Director of a NC licensed CCRC in Arden. In addition she has served on the board of Four Seasons Compassion for Life and volunteered with Meals on Wheels. Debra enjoys yoga and time with her husband and two young sons exploring both the Asheville city life and the WNC mountains.
Director of Facility Services
Keith joined Deerfield as the Director of Facility Services in January 2015, and is responsible for the Grounds, Maintenance and Security departments. Keith’s position is also responsible for managing risk management. He is a graduate of Clemson University with a degree in Industrial Management and holds the classification of Certified Healthcare Facilities Manager. Keith has managed multiple hospitals, outpatient, surgical, physician, and ambulatory care facilities in Western North Carolina and has overseen multiple expansion and renovation projects. Prior to his work in healthcare, Keith worked as the Director of Operations at Biltmore Baptist Church and also has experience managing manufacturing plants in the textile industry.
Director of Health & Wellness
Brian began with Deerfield as Director of Therapy Services through Rehabcare in 2010. Prior to that he was owner/operator of his own contract therapy company in the Asheville area for 16 years where he provided speech, physical, and occupational therapy services to area nursing homes. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1989 with an occupational therapy degree and focused on geriatric rehabilitation through the bulk of his professional career. He formally joined the Deerfield team in July of 2013 when he entered the Administrator in Training Program through the state of North Carolina and has been a licensed Nursing Home Administrator since April of 2014. Brian oversees operations for skilled nursing, assisted living, and the independent living clinic.
Human Resources Director
Shirley has been with Deerfield for 30 years. She is responsible for the Human Resources department for the entire campus. Prior to that, she spent 18 years as the Food Service Director. She received certification as a Dietary Manager through the University of Florida’s Continuing Education program. She also has a Certificate of Achievement as an Activity Coordinator. Shirley completed the Human Resources Management Program at Western Carolina University.
The Rev. Richard Lindsley Walton
Director of Pastoral Care Services
Lin has been an Episcopal priest since 2000. He received a Bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology from Gordon College in Wenham, MA; a Master’s of Theological Studies from Duke University; and a Master’s of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. Following his undergraduate studies, he was a research assistant at Harvard in the area of public health, and is a trained HIV/AIDS counselor by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Before coming to Deerfield, Lin served a wide variety of churches in Maryland, Florida and North Carolina; and was also a lecturer in Ethics at the University of Belize, Central America, for three years. He has done short-term relief work in Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Lin is married to the Rev. Nancy Dixon Walton, a United Methodist minister, and they have two children, Sophie and Jeremiah. Lin is profoundly thankful for each moment given to him at Deerfield, and while away from campus is an avid Appalachian Trial backpacker, scuba diver and a lifelong aspiring herpetologist.
Director of Marketing
Kathy started at Deerfield in 2013 in the position of Director of Marketing. She is responsible for managing the marketing and sales functions, joining Deerfield after two years of consulting in senior living communities and over twenty five years in senior living and healthcare. Kathy holds a B.S. in Marketing and Advertising from Granite State College in New Hampshire, and is certified as an Aging Services Professional through the Coalition for Leadership in Aging Services (CLAS). She currently serves on the Community Advisory Committee for the Western Piedmont Regional Ombudsman’s Office and with the Kiwanis Club of Morganton. She resides in Morganton, NC on a small farm with her husband Tom, where they rescue and share life with an array of delightful animals, big and small.
Director of Philanthropy
Michelle joined our team as the Director of Philanthropy in June of 2017. At Deerfield, Michelle helps residents connect their passions with opportunities to give of their time, talents and treasure both within the Deerfield community and in the local area. In addition, she works alongside Deerfield Administration and a Board of Directors to lead the Deerfield Charitable Foundation (est. 2019). Prior to her role here, Michelle served Four Seasons Compassion for Life as a Philanthropy Associate. More significantly, her 6 years as the Director of Community Life at a local church was the perfect precursor to building relationships here at Deerfield. Now “empty-nested” she and her husband Ben are enjoying quiet evenings on the front porch with their labradoodle, Guster.