Drahota works her way up the ladder at UP Home

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


When Erin Drahota was old enough to begin working, she quickly got a job at the United Presbyterian Home as an environmental aide. Recently Drahota was named CEO of the home.

Drahota was born and raised in Washington, graduating from Washington High School with the Class of 2001. She got her bachelor?s degree in business administration at Wartburg College in Waverly. She lived in Waterloo for a few years, where she got married to her husband, Andy Drahota. The couple moved back to Washington in 2008, where she got a job at the home as assistant director of dining services and then the director. After two years she got the opportunity to work in the office. She became assistant administrator in 2010. She became CEO when the former CEO, Mike Moore, retired at the end of last year.

She and her husband have two children Lauren, 7; and Cade, 5.


It sounds as if you worked your way up.

I worked here when I was in high school. My first real job was working here. I lived just down the street so I could walk to work when I was 15. I was an environmental aide, so I passed out snacks, passed out water, set up the dining room, did some housekeeping. When I went to college I would come back here on breaks. The reason we came back to Washington is because Mike Moore called me when the assistant director of dining services position came open. Even though my background wasn?t in food service, it was a reason to come back to Washington and come back to the UP Home.


What?s the secret?

That?s a good question. I don?t know. I feel really fortunate to be back in my hometown close to my family and be in a role I really love.


What brought you back to Washington?

My husband is from northwestern Iowa so we weren?t living in the same town as either of our families. We knew if we had the chance to live in a smaller community before we started having children that it was important to us. Because I had worked here before, it had a special place in my heart, so I was anxious to come back here as well.


Tell me something about being a CEO that most people wouldn?t know?

It?s not just with the CEO role here, but with any role, you wear a lot of hats. One thing I think of is that last night after the office closed the phone rang and I took a call from a resident and went over and helped him fix his cable box. It is one thing I love about the job is you go from one thing at high level to helping residents with things like that. It is what keeps every day interesting.


What made you stay with the UP Home?

We talk a lot from a marketing standpoint that we wish we could bottle the feeling at the UP Home. it sounds corny, but it is really like a big family. Since high school I have worked at other retirement communities and it has just never been the same. There is something special about the UP Home.


What do you do for hobbies?

Raise children. We like to spend time outside. We like to hike, go on bike rides and do some camping. My brother and his family are close by and my parents are close by so we spend time with family.


What does the future look like for you?

I hope to retire from the UP Home. I plan on being with the organization for a long time. We have some exciting plans we want to DFO in the next five, 10, 30 years while I am here.