Childhood friends bring Right at Home to Des Moines


Right at Home comes to Des Moines through the partnership of family friends
emily
BY EMILY CHENG
July 25th, 2014
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Kelly Foley and Matt Wendl were both born and raised in Carroll, Iowa, and have been family friends since a young age. As well as being friends, the two also worked together in management at American Home Shield and have vast experience as franchisees within the service industry.

Combining their strengths, the two decided to embark on a new venture together. The Right at Home office that Foley and Wendl have taken over has been serving the community for 11 years. The business partners will be focusing their efforts on actively recruiting more caregivers, and has hired a recruiter to assist in the task. They have added four new caregivers to their existing staff of 53 since. Moreover, Foley and Wendl hope to grow the percentage of private pay clients through increased marketing efforts.

Foley attended Iowa Western Community College with a degree in business management. Upon graduating in the top 25 of his class, Foley worked in the health insurance industry for four years before beginning a 10-year career at American Home Shields (AHS). In addition to working in a managerial position with AHS, Foley became a franchisee with the company in 1996; operating one of the largest AmeriSpec franchisees in the state.

Wendl also joins the brand with extensive relevant work experience.  He holds a business degree from Des Moines Area Community College; is Six Sigma certified; served in the Army National Guard Infantry for six years, and is a licensed real estate broker. Wendl also worked at American Home Shield for 22 years, and his final position at the company was as Vice President of Business Development.  Wendl and his wife have also owned and operated various businesses for more than 10 years, including one of the largest AmeriSpec dispatch centers in Iowa.

How did you learn about Right at Home?

Kelly: We were vetting businesses through brokers and others sources. We were looking at various opportunities based on financial expectations and a good fit with our past experience.  In home care continued to come back at us as a good industry to invest in because of the demographics and potential.

Why did you decide to take an opportunity with the brand?

Kelly: We researched different businesses every week for more than a year. We liked the idea of a franchisor that could brand the business at a national level. We were looking into the Omaha and Des Moines market and Right at Home was available. We were more bullish on existing businesses, knowing our combined experience could lead to improving and growing a business rather than building from scratch. Tony (the previous owner) had a good story, good business and good staff. We also looked into Right at Home and liked what we saw – we were impressed by the company and the corporate staff.

We both had had good careers and wanted a business that we could feel good about at the end of the day. We liked knowing that this service could make a difference in people’s lives.

What personal experiences do you have in your own family with caring for a senior?

Kelly: We have both been blessed with having big families and have experience with caring for family members our whole lives. Although we have big families and therefore gravitated towards taking care of them ourselves, we understand the importance of being able to trust someone to care for a family member with a certain level of care.

My mother sustained a stroke three years ago, when she was 74. The six of us siblings cared for her and thankfully she recovered and doesn’t need to be cared for anymore, but it helps you understand that not everyone is fortunate to have their own family members to care for a loved one.

Matt: My grandmother is battling dementia, which runs in the family. The experience has put a soft spot in my heart for people afflicted with the same illness.  I realize it takes a special talent of employees and culture to provide superior care for the elderly.

What non-profit organizations, community groups, volunteer activities, etc. you are/have been involved with:

Kelly: United Way, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Youth Wrestling, Football, Baseball, Relay for Life, American Red Cross and starting to get involved in AARP.