About The AARC

The American Association of Retirement Communities is a not-for-profit professional association established in 1994 to support the efforts of states and municipalities, as well as community developers and for-profit businesses, who market to retirees. A recognized thought-leader and center of research, the AARC provides unparalleled networking opportunities and innovative ideas from the people and organizations driving success and change in the retiree attraction industry.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the American Association of Retirement Communities is comprised of experts in their respective area of “Retiree Attraction”.  Based on each member’s expertise, they provide strong leadership for the organization.  Each Board Member has a passion for helping to promote retiree attraction as an economic development strategy.

Officers
 Rachel Baker – Chairperson
 Misty Keyes– Vice-Chairperson
 Kristy Peters – Secretary
 Daniel Keir – Treasurer

Board of Directors
Frank Carmel              Jeff Fleming

Bill Houghton             Ben Keal

Andre’ Nabors             Mike Notartomaso

Kevin Sexton               Rosie Vassallo

Ramay Winchester

Executive Director
 Wade Adler

Biographical Sketches

w_adler_B&W_2010Wade Adler has devoted his entire professional career to the real estate development industry, primarily in the sales and marketing of retirement, resort and destination properties. He has held executive positions at some of the largest developments in the American East, with leadership roles in the marketing of private island properties, high-end executive golf properties, and exclusive resort communities.

 Wade’s extensive hands-on experience in real estate marketing as well as his involvement in such industry endeavors as Ideal Destinations and the Marketing & Sales Institute has made him a trusted advisor throughout the industry. Wade is also uniquely positioned as an evaluator of the real estate sales function as he holds real estate brokers licenses in multiple states.


RBaker copyRachel Baker is presently the Executive Director of the Loudon County Visitors Bureau. She has ten years prior experience in the tourism industry in Hardin County, Tennessee, and has worked with the Retire Tennessee program from the beginning.

Rachel is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin, Murray State University, and the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College. She enjoys boating, cooking, and documenting life through pictures.


Frank C PhotoFrank J. Carmel is the managing parter of the boutique law firm Carmel & Carmel, PC based in Washington, DC. Carmel & Carmel, PC specializes in the regulatory aspects of real estate development.

This involves a significant emphasis in resort, active adult and retirement community developers and condominium and hospitality developers. A significant aspect of this practice involves interstate real estate registration which is the process required for developers to lawfully market their lots, homes and units in out-of-state jurisdictions. With about thirty US jurisdictions and a number of foreign provinces requiring registration prior to offering real estate to their residents, this is a busy, international practice.

The firm also works with marketing companies in developing programs (for print and online promotions) that are compliant in the national marketplace. A sampling of its clients include, WCI Communities, The Villages, LXR, Newland Communities, Baha Mar, Related, Trump and a multitude of single-site and large community developers. a renowned real estate, securities and emerging technology lawyer, Mr. Carmel represents an international list of real estate developers, marketing and consulting firms, financial institutions and emerging technology companies.


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Jeff Fleming headshot 2012Jeff Fleming serves as City Manager of Kingsport, Tennessee, a city of 50,000 located on the Virginia state line 80 miles due north of Asheville, North Carolina.  He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Tennessee State University.

Jeff is beginning his 31st year of service to his hometown, rising through the ranks from Intern to City Manager.  He is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute and is a member of the International City-County Managers Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners. 


Houghton headshot 2010Bill Houghton is a marketing strategy, research and solutions leader who has served as President and Chief Marketing Officer at leading destination communities. Bill was contracted in 2010 to rehabilitate the marketing, operations and reputation of The Landings Company, America’s largest HOA-owned real estate firm, which had suffered major financial and market share losses. With P&L responsibility for sales, marketing and operations, he re-aligned staff and upgraded technology to enable growth while decreasing overhead, and created research that guided Marketing strategies. By 2013, increased awareness and more efficient operations yielded $55 million in community sales growth and one of the best profit years in Company history.

Bill’s previous roles include eight years leading the Marketing Department at Reynolds Plantation (6 golf courses, Ritz-Carlton), bringing ad agency functions in-house and creating partnerships that drove business cost-efficiently; founding the PR Department at a leading tourism ad agency; and being named to Golfweek’s “40 Under 40 in the Golf Industry”. In the 1990s, he founded the largest golf publication in Philadelphia – the region where Bill grew up, and where he earned his MBA at the Wharton School.


ben-color-headshotBen Keal is Director of Sales and Operations for PCR, the nation’s top online information resource for affluent and age-targeted consumers researching master-planned, lifestyle communities.

He works with developers and homebuilders,along with ad agencies, HOAs, and real estate professionals to generate leads, build awareness, and produce ROI for their respective communities. Each year, Ben and his team help clients connect with more than one million web visitors with privately developed communities featured on PrivateCommunities.com. Since 1996, more than one thousand communities across the nation have benefitted from advertising on PrivateCommunities.com.


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Daniel Keir has served as Director of Sales for RPI Media & Ideal Living since 1998. During that period, he has gained a unique perspective on the retirement and resort real estate industry, which he has used to help hundreds of developers and home builders achieve their sales and marketing goals. Keir also played a major role in RPI’s emergence as the nation’s preeminent relocation resource, featuring live Real Estate Expos, a powerful on-line presence and the acclaimed Ideal Living magazine. These efforts have helped tens of thousands of affluent buyers find the retirement, vacation or second home of their dreams, resulting in billions of dollars of real estate sales for the developers and home builders who rely  upon his experience and expertise. Keir is a 1996 graduate of NC State University with a degree in Civil Engineering.


M.KeyesMisty Keyes is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a major in Advertising. Misty began working at Fairfield Glade in Wyndham’s development and construction division, Fairfield Homes, in 1998 as a Real Estate Sales Associate. She was promoted to Sales & Marketing Director in 2004 before taking the helm of the division as Vice President of Fairfield Homes in 2007. Misty also serves on the Fairfield Glade Community Club Board of Directors, as well the Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce Retiree Recruitment Committee and the Economic Development Council.


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Andre` Nabors has served as the Tourism Development Manager for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development since July 2010, supporting sustainable efforts to market and promote the state’s natural, historic and cultural resources; and provide technical assistance to communities, non-profits, and tourism related entities for development to improve tourism product and visitation across North Carolina.

In fall of 2011, the NC Division of Tourism was delegated to market the North Carolina Certified Retirement Community Program which Andre’ now oversees.


Mike Notar ImageMichael Notartomaso is the president of the Hilton Head Group, Inc. and CEO of Vacation Time of Hilton Head Island, Inc., both located in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Vacation Time of Hilton Head Island, Inc. provides property management for over 600 villas along with vacation and long term rental services for another 250 villas owned by the company and individuals as well as real estate sales and marketing services, primarily in the South Forest Beach area of Hilton Head.

The Hilton Head Group and its affiliated companies have been involved in the business of resort and community development in the southeast since 1976. The Hilton Head Group has developed projects for its own account and that of its principals as well as for private investors and development clients.The Hilton Head Group provides turnkey expertise for startups including feasibility, acquisition, strategic planning, product development, financing, construction, marketing, sales and operations.

Mr. Notartomaso’s extensive experience includes shared ownership development (timesharing, fractional ownership and private residence clubs). Condominium and master-planned community developments have primarily been amenity oriented, either natural or designed. Conservation easements / limited development strategies have been employed in several developments under the direction of Mr. Notartomaso and his associates.

Mr. Notartomaso has recently partnered in several senior’s housing projects including three assisted living facilities and a 55+ community.


K PetersKristy Peters has worked in the destination and private community industry, consulting for direct marketing and CRM strategy. In 2001 Kristy co-Founded and developed Focus3 SalesManager™ a cloud-based contact database system designed to support sales and marketing automation, contact management, list management, email distribution and analytics.

Kristy started in 1992 at Albemarle Plantation, Hertford, NC (Controller, Marketing and Systems Manager); consulted at multiple communities for Resort Management Associates (Direct and Database Marketing), and consulted for Ginn Real Estate Company for 9 years, as Director CRM Strategy/Real Estate Division and Direct Marketing Consultant for multiple Ginn communities through out the southeast United States, Bahamas, and St. Thomas. While at Ginn she lead the development of their Launch and Inventory Manager systems for large onsite sales event management; Tour Manager client web-portal (Direct Marketing portal); and Mail Manager System, an online direct marketing management system for marketing managers and vendors.

Based near Raleigh, North Carolina, Kristy graduated from Kaplan University (B.S. Management/Applied Management, Summa Cum Laude) and attended Valparaiso University (Music and Accounting).


kevin-sextonKevin Sexton, a veteran economic development and tourism professional, is the Director of Tourism and Community Affairs for the Hot Springs Village Property Owners’ Association.

Mr. Sexton started in his Hot Springs Village role in January, 2018.   Previously, he was the senior regional manager and director of the Community Development Division for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. He served Central portions of Arkansas including the capital city of Little Rock with their community and economic development efforts as well as dually serving as the Division Director.

Mr. Sexton has spent a career promoting Arkansas to others around the world and is now solely focused on highlighting the tourism appeal of Hot Springs Village’s scenic 26,000 acres. Mr. Sexton was with the AEDC for more than a decade. Before that, he served as a group travel consultant with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

A Bryant, Arkansas native, Mr. Sexton graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in Business Administration. He has certification as a Professional Community and Economic Developer from the Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas. He is also a graduate from the Economic Development Institute through the University of Oklahoma, and he completed his basic economic development training at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Kevin currently serves as the Class Director of the Year 3 Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas.


Rosie Vassallo

Rosie Vassallo is the Director of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation’s Retirement Attraction Program. She was formerly Executive Director for Madison The City Chamber for 13 years where she also served as the Retirement Director of the City of Madison, MS.

She was selected among the Top 50 Business Women in Mississippi and recipient of Who’s Who in Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal.

Rosie is a native Texan, from San Antonio, Texas and a graduate of Texas Christian University with a B.A. in Advertising Design. She is an accomplished artist winning a number of awards for her paintings and advertising designs.



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Ramay Woody Winchester has served as Program Director for Retire Tennessee since 2006. She started the program under the Department of Economic & Community Development and was transferred to the TN Department of Tourist Development in July of 2015. Since a retiree visits a location 3 to 5 times before making the decision to relocate, the Retire TN program naturally goes hand-in-hand with Tourism. Tennessee has become one of the top choices for retirement locations and TN Tourism is marketing counties to attract retirees to choose Tennessee as their home. Attracting and relocating retirees provides an opportunity for a community to both strengthen and diversify its economy, while at the same time becoming enriched with skills and experience. In addition to the program director for Retire Tennessee, she provides exciting training presentations on Customer Service and Hospitality across the state. She is also contact person for the Adventure Tourism Initiative. She started her state career in 1998 with the Department of Tourist Development and served as regional marketing manager responsible for tourism public relations before moving to ECD. She is a past Chamber of Commerce executive and brings years of chamber and tourism development experience to ECD.  She serves on the Board as Past Chair for the American Association for Retirement Communities.