Robert Kramer accepts the Career Achievement Award at the first McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards.

CHICAGO — More than 200 aging services professionals, business partners and supporters celebrated a who’s-who of industry veterans in grand style during the inaugural McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards ceremony Tuesday night.

Awards went to 30 providers and long-time leaders in the skilled nursing, senior living and home care sectors. The new awards program was launched to honor those who have had a remarkable influence over industry standards, played key roles as change-makers and inspired others with their leadership approach.

“You’ve blazed the way, you’ve raised the bar, you have made us all so very proud to work with you as you bring a bright, warm light to this profession,” said emcee and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Executive Editor Jim Berklan in one of several toasts.

Among the 2023 winners was Career Achievement Award honoree Robert G. Kramer, co-founder, past president and CEO of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care and founder of Nexus Insights. Kramer was lauded for his entrepreneurial thought leadership and the way he helped revolutionized the use of data in the aging services space.

Kramer was one of 20 winners in attendance for the in-person award gala. He was accompanied by many of NIC’s previous top executives, co-founders and current President and CEO Ray Braun, all of whom joined the packed room in a standing ovation for Kramer.

In his remarks, Kramer thanked his dad, his Quaker education and a passion for a long-ago cause for transforming him from a student shy about public speaking into a well-spoken elected official who went on to reshape long-term care through his visionary industry leadership.

“Every single one of us is here because we stand on somebody else’s shoulders. We stood on people’s shoulders who invested in us,” Kramer told the crowd. “Every single one of us in this room, if this industry and this field is going to grow and it needs to, every single one of us needs to be sure we have at least 10 people who stand on our shoulders. That means mentoring. That means time spent because that’s where we have the greatest impact.”

The event was held at the iconic Ivy Room just off Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. The 1900s venue was once known as the Medinah Temple, the stage for grand productions such as lively circuses and notable Chicago Symphony Orchestra recordings. Guests were treated to a spirited cocktail reception, dinner and dessert inside the upscale venue.

McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Executive Editor Jim Berklan with Pinnacle Award winner Barry Carr, chairman and co-founder of Ignite Medical Resorts

The McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards recognize industry veterans with at least 20 years of experience in their chosen field. Winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of nominees by a national judging panel.

In addition to the Career Achievement Award, honorees were recognized in six other award categories recognizing their contributions to the sector. Those were:

  • Agent of Change Awards
  • Industry Ally
  • Inspiration Awards
  • Setting the Standard 
  • Thought Leader Awards
  • Unsung Hero Awards

All of the first-year winners are highlighted here and in this commemorative book from Tuesday night’s event

The McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards program is a joint effort of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and sister media brands McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Home Care. Nominations for the 2024 class will open this fall. Keep up-to-date on the program and learn more about the process on the McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards page.

The platinum sponsor for Tuesday’s event was MatrixCare; Omnicare was a silver sponsor; and activation sponsors included Pinnacle Quality Insight, HealthDirect and Sentrics.