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MADISON, WIS.—Growing up in Wisconsin with a father who was an outdoor enthusiast and a “bird nerd,” Stephanie Klett was introduced early on to the wonders of nature. “You can’t be from Wisconsin without caring for the environment,” she says. Today, as Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Klett gets to travel inside and outside of The Badger State, promoting it as the Midwest’s leading travel destination. Part of Klett’s responsibilities is highlighting Wisconsin’s green destinations and businesses, many of which are part of Travel Green Wisconsin. Travel Green Wisconsin is the state’s voluntary certification program that reviews, certifies, and recognizes tourism businesses that have made a commitment to continuously improve their operations in order to reduce their environmental impact.
DENVER—Xanterra Parks & Resorts has appointed Catherine Greener as vice president of sustainability. In this position, Greener is responsible for continuing and strengthening the company’s sustainability initiatives in the areas of energy, water and waste management; pollution prevention; sustainable cuisine; sustainable design and more. “We are pleased that Catherine is bringing her wide-ranging expertise to our company,” said Andrew N. Todd, president and CEO of Xanterra. “The diversity of our operations requires someone who can provide leadership in many sustainability disciplines.” Xanterra operates lodges, restaurants, gift stores and other concessions in state and national parks as well as Kingsmill Resort, Windstar Cruises and Grand Canyon Railway. The opportunities to minimize impact of the company’s operations and of its guests are boundless.
ATLANTA—Like many executives in the lodging industry, Paul Snyder got his start as a line level employee—in his case as a bartender at a Holiday Inn in 1994. Nineteen years later, he is leading the global sustainability efforts of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), an industry giant with more than 4,500 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. Snyder says he has no “typical” day but about 20 percent to 30 percent of the time he travels to help institutionalize IHG’s corporate responsibility practices with the goal of minimizing environmental impact and maximizing positive community impact. “An important part of my job is to create platforms, policies and initiatives that allow our franchisees to be more sustainable,” Snyder says. Snyder plays a lead role in getting as many IHG properties as possible to participate in Green Engage, the company’s online sustainability system.
SEATTLE—The Pan Pacific Seattle, known for its PanEarth Sustainability Program, has named Sam Johnson general manager. Prior to joining Pan Pacific, Johnson was the general manager of the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle. Johnson brings more than 30 years of hospitality industry expertise to the property. He previously led asset management of a portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts for a private real estate investment firm, and held general manager positions at many of Seattle’s top boutique hotels, such as Salish Lodge & Spa, the Alexis Hotel, and Hotel Vintage Park. He brings leadership, marketing expertise, decades-long ties to the local community and a strong customer-centered management style well suited for the Pan Pacific. Situated in the heart of Seattle’s burgeoning South Lake Union neighborhood, yet still within walking distance downtown, Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle features 153 guestrooms with 22 suites; each with views of the city, Lake Union or the Space Needle.
MAUI, HAWAII—Lumeria Maui, a member of Healing Hotels Of The World and a leading Hawaiian wellness retreat located in Upcountry Maui between Paia and Makawao, announces the appointment of Gary Sterman as the property’s general manager. Sterman brings extensive tactical and strategic leadership in operations, sales and marketing to the position, with more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Sterman comes to Lumeria from his role as general manager and consultant for the Carpe Diem Guesthouse and Namaste Spa, the leading guest house and spa in the resort town of Provincetown, Mass. Other important general manager positions included his extensive work with Joie De Vivre at The Mill Valley Inn and Hotel del Sol in San Francisco. Sterman acquired recognition for leading these properties in luxury hospitality as he increased guest loyalty and customer satisfaction, achieved certification in green business, and oversaw capital improvements.
BOSTON—Since 1989, longer than almost every other hotel company on the planet, the Saunders Hotel Group (SHG) has been taking serious steps to minimize its environmental impact. What first began with office paper recycling has evolved to a long list of actions the company takes each day. For its efforts the company has received international recognition and saved millions of dollars. Helping to lead SHG’s green efforts the last two years has been Scot Hopps, environmental program manager. Along with Tedd Saunders, SHG’s chief sustainability officer, and one other staff person, Hopps makes sure that everything possible is being done to save energy, water and reduce waste at the six managed hotels in which SHG has an equity stake. Hopps says not two of his days are the same. “While my office is in The Lenox Hotel, every day I am on site at one of our properties.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—National Restaurant Association (NRA) president and CEO Dawn Sweeney has been recognized by the Campaign to End Obesity for her work in helping inspire and guide the foodservice industry’s nutrition initiatives. Sweeney, in recognition for her efforts, received the award at a December 6 awards gala at Discovery Channel Worldwide headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. “Dawn has been an enthusiastic and engaged leader in the fight to reverse America’s obesity epidemic,” said Stephanie Silverman, a founding director and senior advisor to the Campaign to End Obesity. “We applaud Dawn’s work encouraging and supporting restaurants’ innovative efforts to provide nutritious options for their customers.” After joining the NRA in 2007, Sweeney established a healthy-living platform that allows restaurant operators to contribute to a more healthful America while fostering a healthy and thriving restaurant industry.
KIRKLAND, WASH.—The Heathman Hotel, a full-service luxury hotel in Kirkland, Wash., with a long history of environmental commitments, has selected Troy Longwith as general manager. He will have full responsibility for the operation of the Heathman Hotel and Trellis Restaurant while maintaining the high visibility and community goodwill within the vibrant city of Kirkland. “I am extremely excited to be joining the Heathman family,” said Longwith. “The Kirkland property is incredibly dynamic, with a highly professional, dedicated staff that is committed to creating exceptional guest experiences.” Longwith comes to The Heathman from Tulalip Resort Casino, where he was acting executive vice president for hotel operations. He also served as director of sales & hotel marketing, and as general manager at Tulalip Resort Casino. Prior positions in the hospitality industry include managing the Microsoft campus office as vice president of Conference Direct.
ORLANDO, FLA.—“I enjoy getting to do what I am passionate about every day.” So says Dina Belon, Sustainability/Energy Specialist at The Peabody Orlando, when asked what she enjoys most about her job. Belon is one of just a handful of people in the United States employed full time in a sustainability-related position at a single hotel level. Belon’s position was newly created by the Peabody Hotel Group a little more than four months ago. Peabody Hotel Group may eventually employ full-time sustainability/energy specialists at its hotels in Memphis and Little Rock. “Their objective is to pilot this position here in Orlando,” Belon says. Belon balances her responsibilities at the 1,641-room Peabody Orlando with numerous industry volunteer activities. She is chair for the Green Destination Orlando program, serves as the sunshine chapter president for NEWH.
BETHESDA, MD.—Denise Naguib has almost always been an environmentalist. Growing up in Egypt, she admired the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea. At the age of 11, after she had moved to Oregon, she wrote a letter to the governor of the state to relay her concerns about clear cutting. Today, after a career path with a number of twists and turns, Denise is one of the lodging industry’s most influential green champions as vice president, Sustainability and Supplier Diversity for Marriott International. Denise focuses on the operations side of the hotel business and reports to Marriott’s senior vice president of Design and Development for Global Operations. When not traveling to industry events or other meetings, she works on multiple projects. She was the subject matter expert for Marriott’s most recent Sustainability Report and recently helped roll out an environmentally responsible meeting program for The Ritz-Carlton brand.
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