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DALLAS—Accor North America, one of the largest hotel chain owners and operators in North America, announced 10 employee promotions for 2011 as part of the company’s ongoing effort to reward the contributions of team members and provide professional growth opportunities. One of the 10 promotions involves Renee Swoger. Renee has been promoted to Director of Energy & Environment Services. In less than two years, Swoger has made significant progress on Accor’s energy and sustainability programs. She piloted the Green Key Certification program in 2010, which will expand to all corporate locations and franchises in 2011. Swoger led the company’s first location-level energy incentive program, “Phoenix My Break Room,” which resulted in $200,000 in energy savings and rebates.
CHICAGO—Hyatt Hotels & Resorts announced that Sal Mendoza has been named Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion, reporting to Robb Webb, Chief Human Resources Officer. In this newly created position, Mendoza will be responsible for the development of a core global framework for Hyatt that enhances the company’s diverse and inclusive workplace and focuses on strategies that can be implemented locally by colleagues around the world. Since joining Hyatt in 1997, Mendoza has worked to integrate Hyatt’s commitment to the principles of diversity and inclusion with all aspects of business in North America including recruitment, sales and marketing, employee relations, supply chain, and hotel development.
BOZEMAN, MONT.—As director of sustainability for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Debbie Friedel oversees the environmental programs at 14 locations that the company manages and/or owns. The properties are as diverse as their locations—from Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park in California to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex & Astronaut Hall of Fame in Florida. Not one day is close to being the same as another, says Friedel, who is based in Bozeman, Mont., far from Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts’ headquarters in Buffalo, N.Y. In her position she is tasked with supporting her company’s overall environmental initiatives, conducting audits and conference calls, training managers, giving presentations, analyzing data, and focusing on guest education.
ASHLAND, OHIO—A 160-acre parcel located just southwest of Ashland, Ohio could soon be the home of the United States’ greenest retreat center. Developer Wendy Kertesz says she hopes to break ground this summer on Windy Retreat Center, a 25,000-square-foot, 16-guestroom facility that will include two indoor conference rooms, one outdoor conference space, three classrooms, great room, dining room, commercial kitchen, fitness center and conservatory. The goal is to open the center by late 2012. Constructed in part using straw bales, Windy Retreat Center will pursue at least Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification and Passive House Certification.
NEW YORK—The Kitano New York Hotel continuously seeks new and unique opportunities to showcase art, music, and culture. As part of this initiative, The Kitano has introduced a new and unique cultural series wherein the hotel will work with carefully selected local artists to showcase their collections. A rotating repertoire of gallery pieces will be placed in the glass display on the hotel’s mezzanine during the year as part of this new “Artist in Hospitality” exposé. Ever heard of chain mail art? It’s the main component of Ruth Borgenicht’s ceramic sculptures. While The Kitano values tradition it is just as important to recognize and appreciate modern artistic innovations. Accordingly, Borgenicht is the first artist to be featured as the Kitano’s Artist in Hospitality.
DALLAS—The Fairmont Dallas announces Sean Springer of Springer Design Studio as the first Artist in Residence of 2011. Springer crafts furniture, home accessories and sculptures using salvaged wood creating purposeful, functional pieces from materials that would otherwise end up as waste. Springer’s resume is a veritable journey through a series of high-profile internships and jobs, working for and learning from artists, each in a different craft, who shaped him and helped hone the skills that allow him to create poignant, consequential pieces. The deliberate edges, complimentary contours and fluid arches of Springer’s work are manifestations of his experience, which include a trip across the globe to study with renowned sculptor Zhang Yong Hao in Shanghai and an internship with iconic Dallas sculptor and landscape architect Brad Goldberg.
CONCORD, N.H.—By population, New Hampshire may be one of the smaller states in the country but its Sustainable Lodging & Restaurant Program is one of the nation’s strongest—due largely to the work of Michelle Veasey, Sustainable Lodging & Restaurant Program manager. Veasey, who has a Master’s in Environmental Education from the University of New Hampshire, has been leading New Hampshire’s state program for the last six years. Veasey is employed by the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Assn. and is the person who first got New Hampshire’s program up and running. The program now has 92 businesses participating, a dozen of which are restaurants. Businesses can participate at three different levels: Endorsing Partner, Environmental Partner, and Environmental Champion.
ORLANDO, FLA.—On Saturday, December 11, at a black-tie holiday gala, the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association (CFHLA) presented Marty Belz, president and chairman of the Peabody Hotel Group, with the 2010 CFHLA “Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award for Community Leadership.” Each year, this prestigious award is given to a local leader for their contribution to tourism through community service. This award is the “highest honor” bestowed upon an individual by CFHLA, in recognition of their achievements and contributions to the Central Florida hospitality industry, as well as the community at large. The award is named after the founding father of CFHLA, Charles Andrews, and exemplifies perseverance and dedication to a cause.
TORONTO—Gap Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip recently announced the appointment of ecotourism industry veteran Megan Epler Wood as director of Planeterra, the global nonprofit dedicated to sustainable community development through travel and voluntourism. Epler Wood will share duties with newly named associate director Paula Vlamings. “I have known Megan for many years and have such deep respect for her and for her commitment and leadership in defining and building on her vision for sustainable travel,” says Poon Tip. “She is the best person on Earth to lead Planeterra and expand its programs’ influence.” Epler Wood takes over duties from Richard G. Edwards, who led Planeterra through a two-year period that saw the organization double in both size and in its resulting impact on communities around the world.
LEAVENWORTH, WASH.—The Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that works to protect wildlife habitats across the globe, recently honored Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort owner and CEO Harriett Bullitt at the group’s 50th anniversary gala in late October. The Conservancy recognized Bullitt and 18 other “Conservation Heroes” including Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and former Washington state governor Mike Lowry. The event also featured famed anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall as the evening’s guest speaker. Goodall spoke of the 50 years since her first visit in 1960 to the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania to study primates and the importance of continued conservation efforts. “Harriet Bullitt knocks holes in the walls that separate us,” said Eliot Scull, a member of the Conservancy’s Washington board.
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