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School: Eberhardt School of Business

Major: Business Administration

Class Year: 1997

Tafa Jefferson, CEO
Chad Fotheringham, President
Amada Senior Care 
Founding members of the American Board of Home Care, a nonprofit dedicated to educating the senior community and establishing standards in senior home care. 

About Fa'Tafa
Played for the Chicago Bears (NFL)
Started in-home senior care company in 1998
Trained as CNA
married with four children

About Chad
Spent two years in Ecuador before starting his career
fluent in Spanish
10+ years in pharmaceutical sales with Eli Lilly and then Pfizer, in pediatrics and allergy and managed care consulting.
married with six children


Eberhardt School of Business

University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, California 95211

Tafa Jefferson and Chad Fotheringham: Big guys with big hearts

Tafa Jefferson '97 and Chad Fotheringham '97
Former football teammates are now successful business partners making a big impact in the senior care industry

They were teammates in Pacific's football program, classmates in the Eberhardt School of Business, and are now successful business partners working to make a big impact in the senior care industry.

Fa'tafa Jefferson '97 and Chad Fotheringham '97 — both standing 6'6" — have been a formidable pair since they met as freshman on Pacific's football team, where they played offensive tackle and quarterback, respectively. As business majors, they also connected over an enthusiasm for new ventures and served as founding members of the campus entrepreneurship club.

"I remember sitting in those club meetings hearing stories about Pacific alumni reaching success," Fotheringham said. "I think that's what got us dreaming about starting our own company."

The pair went separate ways after college. Fotheringham spent two years in Ecuador before returning home to work in pharmaceutical sales. Jefferson was drafted by the Chicago Bears, but suffered career-ending ankle and shoulder injuries. He decided to follow in the footsteps of his mother, who loved her career as a caregiver for seniors, and started his first in-home care company in 1998. 

In 2007, the teammates reconnected after a chance encounter in a pet store in Orange County. They met for lunch a few days later, and Jefferson was called away to check in on a senior client. Fotheringham decided to accompany him, a decision that would change his career path. 

"I talked with the client and we had a great time," Fotheringham said in an interview with the Orange County Register in 2013. "Afterward, I told [Jefferson] that he had the greatest job in the world. He said, 'Why don't you join me?'"

A few months later, they started Amada Senior Care (formerly Amada Home Care), which offers in-home services as well as assisted-living placement and consulting. Amada has now expanded to include over 400 employees and over 65 franchise locations nationwide, filling a niche of care that's expected to continue growing. 

"Our goal is to reach 200 franchise partners [and] serve a million seniors," Fotheringham said.

It's a goal that could be within their reach; in 2014, Amada's care model was recognized by Forbes as among the "10 Best Senior Care Franchises to Own." 

Their shared background is also helping them reach their goal, and they're putting to use the commitment, integrity and teamwork they learned on the football field in building their business. 

"Without our time at Pacific, we wouldn't be where we are today," Fotheringham said.  Jefferson added, "What will make you successful in business is not always what you know but how you apply it. The Eberhardt School of Business prepped us and gave us the tools we needed."

And the partners have used those tools for good, earning them the nickname in the home health care business as "the big guys with big hearts."