John J. Sheehan, Jr. president of Ocoee Foundation, Inc, received the M.C. Headrick Free Enterprise Award during special ceremonies at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. The meeting convened Tuesday, Jan. 28, in the Professional Development Center of Life Care Centers of America.
The Headrick Award is the highest award given by the Chamber of Commerce and honors the ideals of the late M.C. Headrick, a successful Cleveland businessman who staunchly believed in the concept of free enterprise: “Put men on their own to make economic decisions, and let them reap the rewards or lack of rewards from those decisions.”
“John epitomizes exactly what the Headrick Award represents and a symbol of the American entrepreneur,” stated nominator Ross Tarver, president and CEO at Tarver Distributing Co. “He takes calculated risks and applies the needed focus, to see that his businesses succeed.” The first of those early entrepreneur success stories began as a teenager, in the mid-1970’s in Houston, Tx., where Mr. Sheehan started a lawn service, which he continued to manage until enrolling at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After receiving his masters of finance and banking in 1982, from the University of North Texas, he worked for various employers, eventually leading him to a position in Cleveland at Life Care Centers of America where he worked form 1990 to 1996.
In 1996 Mr. Sheehan made a tactical career move to become a senior investment officer for a healthcare REIT based out of Newport Beach, Ca. His territory included the Southeast, and as said best by Mr. Sheehan’s wife, Margaret, “after spending twelve years out on the road, he decided to break away and start his own long-term healthcare company.”
In 2008 Mr. Sheehan established the Ocoee Foundation, Inc. a non-profit which owned and operated four nursing homes and one assisted living facility. Over the next several years, Mr. Sheehan continued to grow and expand his business with the addition of three more facilities. From 2011 through 2016 he continued to focus on healthy growth and quality through the acquisition of seven additional facilities, the construction of rehabilitation gyms, the launch of a LTC Pharmacy Services, a long term care pharmacy servicing nursing facilities in Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia, and renovations at most of his centers.
At the close of 2016, Mr. Sheehan had acquired 13 skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, plus built one assisted living facility. As his portfolio of facilities grew, revenue expanded from $15,000,000 to $95,000,000 on an annual basis and employed over 1,500 individuals. His focus on local patients, employees and family members has led to the overall success of the centers, officials said.
Ms. Sheehan noted, “While running his nursing homes and other projects, he also invested in other businesses both in Cleveland and other locations. John’s motto is that he will finance the ventures, but hires good people to run the businesses.” Mr. Tarver added, “Sheehan has great concern for his employees and their quality of life. He also has a talent to support a growing business and give back generously to help our community.”
“Sheehan’s generosity with both his time and resources is one of his greatest attributes,” said Beverly Johnson, trustee for the Johnson Family Foundation. “He and Margaret work diligently together in their businesses and their foundation, but always make time for their family, friends and community.”
Mr. Sheehan made a strategic business decision to sell LTC Pharmacy and six of the nursing facilities in 2017. QLTC Pharmacy Solutions, LLC was launched in Tyler, Tx. in early 2018, employing 41 people. Additionally, during this time period, Mr. Sheehan had the realization and energetic drive to campaign for a referendum to allow package stores in the City of Cleveland, officials said. “After gathering enough signatures to get the referendum on the ballot. he hired an outside marketing firm and worked tirelessly on getting a liquor license,” said Ms. Sheehan. Cleveland’s first liquor store, Riverstone Wine, Spirits and Brew, opened in May of 2019, employing 14 people.
“John is known as a loving husband, a doting father, a successful businessman, a community leader, a generous giver and a loyal friend,” said Ms. Johnson.