Independence Village

Meet the Team


Joel Katleman, Founding Partner Dial Communities

Joel Katleman, Founding Partner Dial CommunitiesIn 1958, Joel founded Dial Communities, Omaha followed by Dial Communities, San Antonio in 1968 when he partnered with his son, Gary. He has been in the housing industry since he was 21. He does not believe that “No” or “Not Possible” are acceptable answers. Joel feels that there is always a way to improve the way things are done and how concerns are addressed. He always displays confidence in the quality and character of the people around him, and accepts his role of “Cheerleader” for the team. He believes that with a positive attitude, the world will smile with you. He is our true inspiration!

Gary Katleman, President Dial Communities

Gary Katleman, President Dial CommunitiesAs President of Dial Communities, Gary has more than 20 years of property management experience, which includes serving as President of the San Antonio Apartment Association in 1998. He developed the membership concept of Independence Village in Stone Oak, a neighborhood of homes for active adults with a maintenance-free lifestyle. His vision was to provide a full spectrum of care for senior residents, with Independence Hill Retirement, Independence Hill Assisted Living and Independence Village, on one campus. Gary’s mission is to always be a step ahead in providing mature adults a quality, carefree lifestyle in a traditional small-town setting. Gary was raised in Nebraska and moved to San Antonio in 1987 where he has raised his two daughters and enjoys traveling and a friendly game of poker.

Michelle Houriet Voutour, Executive Director – employee since 2001

Michelle Houriet, Executive DirectorWith over 22 years of property management experience in San Antonio and Houston, Michelle oversees the management and operations of Independence Hill, Independence Hill Assisted Living and Independence Village. She is very dedicated to creating an upbeat, respectful and exciting lifestyle in our communities, as well as having a great sense of compassion. Her ability to always find the enjoyment in an ordinary day, sets the cheerful stage for our communities’ employees, residents and members, with laughter and fun around every corner. This native San Antonian is also a true expert in retirement living and thrives on ensuring happiness in her residents. She will ensure our residents decision to move in to any one of our communities will be a decision they will wish they had made sooner! Michelle enjoys time with her daughter and their two dogs, traveling nationally and internationally, and her volunteer work throughout San Antonio.

“Michelle is terrific. She will never pass by you without smiling, hugging, laughing and talking to you.” – Ms. Paine, resident

Carol Barker, Assistant Director – employee since 2005

Carol Barker, Assistant DirectorCarol has been in the property management industry for over 23 years. She worked with Dial Communities in 1998 managing several multi-family properties. Carol began working at Independence Hill in 2005 and she loves every minute of it. She handles much of the administrative work to include billing and payroll as well as community inspections. Carol believes that what makes us such a success is that the employees love being here just as much as the residents, it’s a good balance. She enjoys spending time at the lake with family, gardening, reading, and especially taking care of her grandson.

Carol is very friendly and willing to help in any way.” – Mrs. Piet, resident

Martha Anderson, Internal & Public Communications Director – employee since 2007

Martha Weld, Executive AssistantMartha brings many years of experience in communication, marketing and project management. At Independence Hill she works closely with the Executive Director, managing a variety of projects to include employee programs, facility upgrades, marketing events, as well as the communities’ websites. No matter what the job, her passion is to provide outstanding customer service. Martha enjoys being outdoors and loves to spend time at the lake boating with family and friends, traveling, and dancing. Her 3 children are her favorite accomplishment and have brought much joy to her life.

“When we talk with Martha she makes us feel very comfortable. She is very professional and nice.” – Mr. and Mrs. Romero, residents

Sherrill Perez, Lifestyle Specialist – employee since 1999

Sherrill Perez, Sales and Marketing ConsultantFor 2 decades, Sherrill has been helping retirees find just the right home and community to fit their needs. She is a specialist in senior living, always taking in what people truly want and finding the best match for them. Sherrill remembers residents’ individual needs and personal interests, which she uses to bring people together creating strong friendships and bonds. She enjoys raising her 2 boys and spending family time with them and her husband, a Gymnastics coach and Gym owner. Sherrill also likes playing racquetball, going to the movies and being involved in church activities.

“I had lunch with Sherrill when I was considering moving here. She never pressured me and made me feel so at home. Everything she said about Independence Hill was true.”
– Mr. Olson, resident

Laura Terranova, Lifestyle Specialist — employee since 2013

LauraLaura knows “home is where the heart is and there is no place like home”! She has a great passion for finding people the perfect place to call home and has been helping families do this for over 20 years. Living by the Golden Rule she knows the importance of treating people with integrity and compassion. Her compassion for seniors came from her parents as they were in their late forties when she was born. Laura grew up on the east coast and made San Antonio her home at 24 years old. She has a love for life and is thankful for all the wonderful blessings in her life. Laura spends her off time with her teenage son, Jake, who keeps her on the go! Laura loves her job at Independence Hill and is happy to call it her home away from home.

“Laura is masterful at her job. She did a great job addressing not only my concerns but also my parent’s concerns. She took such an interest in what they needed and she made the whole transition much nicer. Once they moved in everyone was very welcoming. In fact, just a few months after moving in they participated in the first ever kid’s camp held at Independence Hill Campus and they were Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at the annual holiday open house.”
– Kathy, resident’s daughter

Chickie Backhaus, Outreach Coordinator – employee since 2003

Chickie Backhaus, Outreach CoordinatorOtherwise known as our “Walking and Talking Billboard,” Chickie is always about the town representing all of our communities. Whether she is speaking at large events, assisting with Wounded Warrior fundraisers, visiting our neighborhood fire stations or mingling at Chamber of Commerce mixers, this native San Antonian has that unforgettably sincere and upbeat personality that is prevalent in all our communities. When she is having her own relaxing time at home, she and her husband enjoy traveling in their travel trailer with their cat and 2 dogs.

“Chickie visited me while I was in rehab and brought me an Independence Hill blanket. It was my salvation because I was freezing there. I even took it with me to the rehab dining room.” – Ms. Duffle, resident

Sandra Santillan, Move-in Coordinator – employee since 2000

Sandra Santillan, Move-in CoordinatorSandra began working at Independence Hill as a Front Desk Receptionist and was promoted to Move-in Coordinator in 2007. Her passion is to make the new residents’ move-in smooth and effortless. She makes sure they have everything they need so they can get settled in and quickly join in the fun. Sandra ensures every new resident visits with the Department Directors to hear first hand what services each offer. Sandra has 4 children and 4 grandchildren. She enjoys music and reading as well as spending time with family and going on family vacations.

“Sandra brought me a goodie basket full of much needed essentials which was great to have on move-in day” – Mrs. Zinsmeyer, resident

Evonn Short, Director of Activities and Transportation – employee since 2018

Evonn is a Texas native and brings over 20 years of event planning and team building to Independence Hill. She has a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Evonn strongly believes in treating everyone with respect and kindness.  Each event should bring joy and leave people feeling glad they came.  In her spare time, she enjoys fishing, biking, camping, or just watching reality TV with her husband, children, and miniature long haired Doxie.  Joining the Independence Hill team is one of the highlights of Evonn’s life.  She fell in love with the residents’ faces and looks forward to serving them each and every day with either a simple smile or an amazing event that will leave them talking about it for quite some time.

Tonya Ledford, Director of Housekeeping – employee since 2014

Tonya, Director of HousekeepingTonya and her team are responsible for the cleaning of apartments and homes at all 3 of our communities as well as all common areas. Tonya’s team is made up of very long tenured housekeepers who have continually provided quality service to our residents by knowing what’s important to each and everyone of them. Tonya is passionate about cleaning, the people she takes care of and her staff. Joining our Independence Hill family, Tonya brings over 15 years Environmental Services experience in both the automotive and healthcare industries. In 2013 Tonya moved to Texas from Michigan to be closer to her son and his family. While she does not miss the snow she does miss seeing the 4 seasons change. In her spare time she enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with family.

Alan Holfinger, Director of Safety – employee since 2003

Alan Holfinger, Director of SafetyAlan has worked a variety of positions over his 8 years at Independence Hill. This has given him a great overall perspective of our entire campus of communities. This knowledge and experience has served him well as he manages the Night Management and Safety Department. Alan prides himself on providing the best service he can to the residents. He conducts CPR classes and monthly mandatory safety meetings for the staff, to ensure they are properly trained in the event of an emergency, giving our residents peace of mind knowing there is someone available to assist them 24 hours a day. Alan thinks of the residents as family and treats them as he would his own. He is an avid jokester and loves to make everyone’s day a bit more fun. He enjoys camping, riding motorcycles, restoring old cars, gardening and traveling with his wife and daughter.

“Alan is very helpful. He and his staff provide us with a good sense of security.”
– Mr. and Mrs. Jaeger, residents

Nathan Clark, Director of Food and Beverage – employee since 2016

Nathan Clark, Director of Food and BeverageHailing from the great state of Michigan; Nathan spent his early years traveling the world with his family as an Army dependent, finally ending in New York at West Point where his father served. Nathan graduated high school while also earning his Culinary Certificate at the same time. From there, he enlisted in the Air Force and was deployed in Desert Storm. He continued his career in food service while serving and was awarded “Best Chef in the Air Force” in 1999. Being Honorably Discharged in 2000, Nathan moved from Las Vegas to San Antonio and started working in the local restaurant scene in various roles, became bar manager and from there was promoted through the ranks to Director of Operations. Nathan’s philosophy is taking the freshest ingredients and creating the cleanest, healthiest meals possible all the while taking in resident feedback. His goal is to have the friendliest and best service in town. When Nathan is not working he enjoys playing golf, watching hockey and spending time with his family and friends.

Albert Gutierrez, Director of Maintenance – employee since 2002

Albert is passionate about helping people and continuously goes above and beyond, which is what it takes to lead the Independence Hill Maintenance Department. Years ago while working as a fabricator welding tractor trailers and fences, he was called to help take care of his elder uncle. He took on the care giver role and started his own business, getting properties ready for move-in or sale. In 2002, Albert started his career with Independence Hill as a Maintenance Technician, advanced to Assistant Director of Maintenance and is now the Director of Maintenance. He enjoys taking care of peoples needs and ensures our residents are living the “maintenance free lifestyle” they are promised. When he is not busy fixing something, he likes coastal fishing and spending time with his 3 grown children. Albert is proud to say that one of his sons has recently joined the Navy.

“Having been involved in maintenance and repair work for more than 65 years, I continue to be impressed with Albert’s work ethics and dedication to his job.”
– Mr. Steward, resident

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