Cheryl Black: Executive Director 

Cheryl has worked in senior living for over 30 yearsHer career experience includes Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Sheltered Care communities, as well as opening a newly renovated Assisted Living and Memory Care communityCheryl’s original career path was social work“I always knew I wanted to do a job where I could make a positive difference in people’s livesWhile working in a retirement community after college graduation, I found working with the senior population was my true calling.  When Cheryl’s mom grew older and became ill, she moved in with Cheryl who became her caregiver for over 6 yearsThis experience has given her a very personal perspective of what it’s like to grow older and care for an aging parent, allowing her to relate to the residents who live in the community and their familiesOutside of work, Cheryl loves walking with her dog Hunter, biking, photography and spending time with friends and family. 

Noemi Ramos: Director of Community Relations


Gary Fugate: Culinary Experience Manager

Gary has been in the culinary field for thirty-six years. Gary knew at the young age of eight years old what he wanted to be, and that was a pastry chef. Following his dream, he went on to Washburne trade school to earn a certificate in pastries and while there he had the opportunity to learn pastries from a master pastry chef from Germany. While at Washburne, his talents had caught the interest of Chefs in the restaurants of downtown Chicago. Gary had the pleasure in working in some well-known Chicago restaurants, The Berghoff being one.

Gary’s vast knowledge of doughs lead him to Panera Bread where he worked for sixteen years, at the Fresh Dough Facility, where thousands of pounds of dough were made daily to cover five states of Bakery Cafes. His role was to ensure that all doughs met the qualifications before being delivered to these cafes. Later he had the opportunity to open his own restaurant and he had that for two years before deciding to work in culinary field at the senior care communities. Gary lives in Kenosha Wisconsin, married for twenty-nine years and has one son that is attending NMU in Marquette Michigan for his Master’s Degree.

Evelyn Martinez: Life Enrichment Director

Evelyn is the community’s Life Enrichment Director.  Evelyn always has a smile on her face and with her background assisting with kindergarten teaching she works hard to create an exciting, intellectual, stimulating environment for our residents.  She has tons of energy with an artistic background and brings beauty to everything she helps create!  Our residents love her decorations, all handmade, her art club and all her activities!

Outside of The Grand, Evelyn is a Sports Photographer to her son Xavier’s high school varsity teams. You may often read about him in the Daily Herald! Xavier has committed to NMU to play football this fall and study the medical field as he aspires to become a doctor! She also, has an adopted son Alex, who will be going off to NIU in the fall, and Xander, her youngest son who has several books written in his school library! Bringing happiness to all, spending time with family, friends, and capturing those moments is what matters the most to Evelyn!


Mark Pollacci: Maintenance Supervisor

After years of working in the food business, Mark’s interest in maintenance grew after caring for apartment complexes.  Mark liked the work and tasks and never knowing what might happen next.  He enjoyed working around seniors and helping them as much as possible.  He takes pride in knowing the building is clean and safe for all those that live in the community. 

Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with the best wife in the world, Wendy. We are awaiting our first grandchild. We love to travel and spend time with family and friends. 



920 E. Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL 60074 | 224-338-1880 © 2024 Grand Lifestyles, Skokie IL