The Hilltop House Staff

Our Administrator - Darla O'Brian

Darla O'Brian, our Administrator

Our Administrator: Darla O'Brian had a career as a paralegal, and a one-year stint as fifth grade teacher before joining Hilltop. She became the bookkeeper here in 1993 and worked part-time while acquiring a teaching certificate and Master's of Teaching. A "reduction in force" action ended her teaching tenure after the first year, but at the same time she was informed that Hilltop needed her capable services full time. The timing was "meant to be."

So she made the never-regretted decision to end her short-lived teaching career and commit to Hilltop. In 1998, Ms. O'Brian was named administrator. Darla near the piano during one of our special event celebrations Per Darla, "It is a job I love - as it uses all the technical and financial skills I acquired in my previous jobs, but also allows me to fulfill a mission of providing not only housing, but a sense of community that enhances the lives of our residents." The school system's loss was definitely Hilltop House's gain!

Darla emphasizes that the great support staff at Hilltop work together as a team to provide that special sense of community that sets Hilltop House apart. We hope you'll come and experience it for yourself.

Karen Carlos - Service Coordinator

Karen Carlos

Karen, a native Seattleite, has been connected with Hilltop House since she was a child. She first visited Hilltop with her sunday school class delivering handmade cards to the residents. Her grandparents were also residents here.

After completing a Bachelor's Degree in Recreational Therapy from Eastern Washington University, Karen worked for the Specialized Programs Division of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. From there, she worked for a couple of local nursing homes in the Recreational Therapy departments. Karen graduated from Seattle University with a Master's Degree in Counseling.

In 1994, she was "placed" at Hilltop House with the Companis Mission Workers for Seattle. In the time that she has been here, Karen has melded the two academic passions of her life to fit the interests and needs of another passion, working with independent seniors to maintain and improve their quality of life.

In her spare time, Karen enjoys long walks, skiing, singing in a choir and spending time with her family and friends.

Joe Muscarello - Chef Manager

Joe Muscarello

Joe grew up mainly in Arizona around the Mesa/Chandler areas. He is known for asking "What's next?"

After a handful of years in kitchens and a few restaurant openings in Arizona, Joe asked "What's next" and it led him to leave the kitchen for Aerospace / Military Logistics.

Shortly after transferring to Seattle as an Engineer, he again asked "What's next?" That led him to Le Cordon Bleu in Seattle and finishing his studies in Madrid working for Ibis Hotels. The increasingly horrific economic climate in Spain made sponsorship for work visas nearly impossible and he returned to Seattle, again asking "What's Next?"

Prior to starting employment at Hilltop House he consulted for a few smaller restaurant concepts, assisted two restaurants to open their doors, served as the Head Chef at two different locations and learned greatly from a friend/mentor at an extremely busy non-profit private club.

He says that he is most proud of his impact and ability to cheer up the residents through food. The topic of food also offers a gateway to other conversations and to hear some really cool stories.

During his time off Joe may be found snowboarding, fishing/camping, working on his truck, hanging out with his cat Maynard or walking around Seattle window shopping.

Eva Field - Office Assistant

Eva Field

New in the office is Eva Field. She was born and raised in West Seattle and currently resides in Burien.

A native of the Seattle area, Eva attended Our Lady of Guadalupe, Kennedy High School and Cornish College of the Arts. She is married and has 3 kids. Sarah is 23, Nicole is 20 and Luke is 17.

During high school and college years, Eva was active performing in choirs, trios, solos and the music theater. Her office experience is in the real estate administrations from mortgage processing to support staff in a real estate office.

"I am feeling very blessed to have been hired here at Hilltop House because it has proven to me to be a very lively and caring community," says Eva. I look forward to getting to know you, the residents.

Rafael Vega - Maintenance

Rafael Vega

Rafael is our new maintenance assistant. He is from Mexico and was born in Guadalajara. He came to the United States when he was seventeen, following his brother who came one year earlier. He first started working at McDonald’s as a dishwasher for a couple of years and then he did food prep and then became a cook at Aqua Verde where he worked for three years. That restaurant has a kayaking rental as part of their business. He said he kayaked a couple of times, but got blisters and could not cut the vegetables, so he gave up kayaking.

He then tried construction for a year, but the housing industry was not doing well, so his brother who was working at Northaven told him there was a job opening in the maintenance department there. He applied and got the job and he has been there for two years. He has been working there and at another retirement home, but he quit the second job to come here and also to work with Victor. They make a good team. In his spare time when he is not working 12 plus hours/day, he likes hanging out with his friends and going to clubs and enjoying salsa dancing. He also likes camping with his family and friends.

We are very happy to have Rafael here working at Hilltop House.

Victor Quiroz - Maintenance Supervisor

Victor Quiroz

We welcome Victor Quiroz, our new maintenance supervisor. I hope that you have seen him to introduce yourself and say hello, but I am sure that if you have not had the privilege to meet him, you have seen what he has been doing in his few short weeks here. He has and is cleaning the balconies and plans to paint them, he has cleaned up the grounds and garden and today is cleaning the lobby, hall and dining room carpets with a super duper carpet cleaning. We are all benefiting from his good work. And, he is a wonderful, kind and respectful person.

Victor was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and he came to Oregon at the age of 22 and got a job working in a nursery. He visited his cousin who lived in Seattle and decided there were a lot more opportunities here, so he moved to Seattle. He got a job painting in the summers at Seattle University and also worked as a cook for them. It was in that job that he met his future wife where she was the Catering Director. What a lucky employment situation for both of them!

Victor wanted to improve and expand his skills. He and his wife saw a job listing for maintenance personnel at Northaven Retirement Home and he applied telling them his only experience was painting and the ability to learn new things. They gave him the opportunity to learn. He recently supervised their remodel, acting as liaison between the residents and the contractors and then actually performing the remodel of the apartments. That job was completed, so he was able to come to us and we are fortunate indeed.

Victor has a stepdaughter, age 15, and he and his wife have twin daughters who are almost four. We look forward to meeting them and to having Victor here doing wonderful things for Hilltop House.

Kerri Royster - Housekeeping

Kerri Royster

Seems like we have been seeing Kerri here forever, first working for individual residents, ably filling in for Mary Lou during her recent surgery and now as a full-fledged Hilltop employee.

Kerri is our new housekeeper extraordinaire. She is cleaning in nooks and crannies we did not know we had and things are looking really spiffy.

She is Canadian born, raised and educated in Victoria, B.C. She married a U.S. citizen and moved to Seattle 23 years ago. They worked together in construction and built a day care center addition to their church and other remodeling, painting and new construction jobs. They have three daughters, Amy, Angie and Emani. Kerri moved back to Victoria to care for her mom and stayed with her until she passed away. While she was with her mom, she went back to school and became a certified medical office assistant. Turns out, that was not to her liking and she went back to construction. She returned to Seattle three years ago and because her friend Sonja encouraged her, she started doing cleaning jobs and that is where we come in to our fortunate encounter with Kerri.

Kerri is active in her church and is a licensed minister there. She enjoys cooking, especially baking, loves the outdoors and camping and being with friends and family. We are lucky to have her housekeeping expertise and really enjoy her adventuresome and playful attitude.

Jack Simpson - Relief Manager

Jack Simpson

Jack hails from the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The 6th of 10 children he always had someone to play with. He studied at Xavier University and graduated from Loyola University with a bachelor’s degree in Latin. After serving in the army he spent one year as a public assistance caseworker in Cleveland. The next 45 years were spent in industrial and commercial sales and administration. Jack arrived in Seattle through the Jesuit Volunteer Corp, serving in homeless shelters. Jack is very pleased to have found Hilltop House and enjoys helping to make residents safe and comfortable.

Jack enjoys reading, classical music, crosswords and visiting his grandchildren.