providing residents with a beautiful & comfortable place to live, along with the daily care and assistance they require.

Meet Our Staff

We are fortunate to have such a talented, driven and enthusiastic team of professionals committed to fulfilling The Cedars; mission and dedication to serving our residents.


Tom Knoepke, Executive Director 


Tom has a Bachelor of Science degree with concentrations in Marketing & Management from the University of Minnesota – Mankato and holds a license in long-term care administration. The best advice Tom ever got was to “do what you love.” Tom followed that advice and has been working in the senior housing industry for over 25 years. In high school and college Tom worked as a dietary assistant in a senior housing community and enjoyed providing quality service to the residents. Today, Tom continues to take great responsibility in caring for seniors and enjoys working with those that share the same mission. His favorite thing about working at The Cedars is the warm family atmosphere.  Tom loves spending time with his wife and two boys, going to sporting events, golfing, boating and playing with the family dog.  


Lisa Nelson, Director of Sales & Marketing   


Lisa joined The Cedars family in 2011, bringing with her 20 years of experience in client service and 5 years of experience in the senior housing industry. Lisa’s mission is to work with seniors and their families who are searching for a new place to call home.  Lisa’s ongoing education in the senior housing industry helps her make sure that potential and current residents’ needs are not only met – but exceeded. Lisa always puts our residents first and can usually be heard asking “how can I help you?” with a big smile on her face.  Lisa lives in Austin with her family. 


Jack Erwin, Dining Services Director 


Jack has been at The Cedars since 2007. He began his culinary career as a teenager as a cook at the Country Kitchen restaurant in Austin. He moved on to The Plaza Truckstop, and under Kermit Watts became their dinner cook, where he learned how to cook in the style he uses today. It was also there that he started in management. He continued his career in Minneapolis for several years before returning to Austin in 1989 and began cooking and managing food service for Sheriff’s Youth Programs for 18 years. Jack’s 40+ year long career has also included many chef courses and training as well as management training.  When Jack joined The Cedars family he discovered, as he puts it, “the joy of working with seniors!” The rewards are great when he sees the smiles and happy faces of the residents he has grown to love.

Jack’s roots are in Austin. Family and the many, many friends he has makes Austin the ideal place to live and work. Jack is also a local celebrity - he is in high demand for cooking demonstrations and shows throughout the area.  And he is an author! Jack assisted in putting together the first edition of the Cedars Cookbook in 2013.  


Amber Sanvick, RN, Director of Healthcare


Amber has an associate’s degree in nursing and has been an RN since 2008. Amber has worked with seniors since 2003. Amber loves working with the senior community. She is very close to her grandparents, and has always felt a bond with the older generation. Amber likes working at The Cedars because it really feels like home. Amber lives in Austin with her husband and their two daughters. They enjoy canoeing and camping.


Cathy Ehley, Recreation/Wellness Director & Dementia Care Counselor 


Cathy has been at The Cedars since 2005. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Therapeutic Recreational Therapy and is certified through the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals as an Activity Director with a specialization in memory care activities. She is also a member of the Minnesota Statewide Activity Professionals Association and the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation. She also holds a certificate from Leading Age of Minnesota and the Alzheimer’s Association in Dementia Care.  She is constantly continuing her education in therapeutic recreation and in dementia.  Cathy’s mission is to enrich the lives of our residents through meaningful activities.  She loves seeing their smiling faces enjoying the activities that are provided.  Cathy is passionate about helping families go through the journey of the memory loss of their loved one. It is difficult and she doesn't want anyone to go through it alone. Cathy lives in Austin with her husband and two children. They love camping, outdoor sports and movie nights. 

Carol Weber, Business Office Manager


Carol has a long history in the healthcare field.  Her career includes working as a Certified Nursing Assistant for over 20 years!  She enjoys the healthcare field, especially when she can work with seniors.  Her favorite thing about working with seniors is that she gets to learn about their rich life experiences.  Carol has a special connection to The Cedars – her grandparents were some of the original residents when The Cedars first opened its doors in 1986!  Carol and her husband live in Austin.  In their free time they enjoy spending time with their family, dirt track racing, baseball and hockey. 


Corienne Scott, Director of Housekeeping   


Corienne has worked in the senior housing and healthcare field for over 29 years in a variety of roles. She has always enjoyed working with the elderly and says that our residents always make her day shine a little brighter.  Corienne’s favorite thing about working in the senior housing and healthcare industry is all the wonderful and caring people she gets to meet and work with.  Corienne has a special connection to the Cedars – her grandparents were some of the very first residents when the Cedars opened its doors back in 1986!  Corienne lives in Austin with her husband.  They love spending time with their three children and seven grandchildren.  


Susan Hoehne, Onboarding Specialist


Susan's background makes her a great fit for the position of Onboarding Specialist. She began her career in health care as a CNA and has over 20 years of experience in the health care industry. Susan enjoys providing support to the staff that work hard to improve the quality of life for the residents at the Cedars. She is a Wisconsin native and currently lives in Austin with her husband. They have three sons together and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.


Candice Adams, RN


Candice has an associate’s degree in nursing and has been an RN since 2008. When she joined the Cedars team Candice already had 14 years experience caring for seniors and looks forward to many more at the Cedars!  Candice has always enjoyed working with the senior community and is thrilled to be able to take the time to get to know each and every one of the residents at the Cedars.  Candice and her husband have a wonderful son and they enjoy spending time with family and friends. 


Diane Maxwell, LPN 


Diane has worked as a caregiver for over 34 years and has been an LPN since 1988. While Diane has been at The Cedars she has continued to advance her knowledge and has earned a certificate in caring for those with dementia/memory loss through Leading Age of Minnesota and the Alzheimer’s Association. Diane loves working at The Cedars because it allows her to continue practicing nursing while developing relationships with not only residents but their families too. Diane is married with four children and five grandchildren. She enjoys spending time with family and in the summer getting her hands dirty in the garden.


Leesa Katiepolt, LPN



Leesa attended Riverland Community College in Austin and began her career in health care in 1992.  Leesa enjoys making a difference in each resident’s life and providing the highest quality care to them. Leesa lives in Austin and enjoys spending as much time as she can outdoors.  


Michelle Maxwell, LPN


Michelle has a degree in nursing and had 16 years of experience in the health care field when she joined the Cedars family.  In her experience she has served those of all ages but enjoys working with the elderly the most.  She says it is because they are wise beyond their years.  Michelle likes working at the Cedars because of the diverse and range of services we offer which allows us to serve those with many different types and level of care needs.  She also really enjoys working with and being part of a strong nursing team!  In her free time you can usually find Michelle outside with her children – they are a very active family!


Leslie Kuiper, Marketing Assistant


Leslie began her career at the Cedars in the Healthcare Department before becoming the Marketing Assistant and it shows – Leslie is very caring and always has a smile on her face. Leslie has worked in the health care field for over 10 years. Leslie loves working with seniors and making a difference in their lives. Leslie lives in Austin with her family and they love to go camping together.


Sue Barns, Memory Care Activity & Recreation Assistant


Sue has 27 years of experience working with seniors, with 18 of those specifically devoted to activities and recreation.  She truly has a passion for working with seniors and considers it a privilege to have her job because it allows her to work with living history. Sue lives in Albert Lea and enjoys spending time with her five children and sixteen grandchildren.


Jeff Funk, Director of Building Services 


Jeff has been in the maintenance business for over 30 years. Jeff finds working with seniors to be very rewarding and says that seeing the smiles on their faces is "priceless." He enjoys making life easier for our residents and doing whatever it takes to make their lives run as smoothly as possible.  He is always ready to lend a helping hand! Jeff lives in Dexter and enjoys fishing and spending time with his family. 



People need to know how wonderful you all are! The staff’s personalities just rub off on me and make me want to pass it on. I barely know you all but I truly feel like you are family! I trust The Cedars whole heartedly.

-Daughter of Resident

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