Personnel Profile

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Jeff Benavides Helps to Make Wyndham Vacation Ownership Uniquely Green


ORLANDO, FLA.—As Energy & Sustainability Specialist, Resort Management for Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) in Orlando, Jeff Benavides, as part of the sustainability team, touches a lot of people—not only the primary contacts at the 190 resorts that WVO manages, but also the more than 900,000 families who have ownership interests. For Benavides there is no typical day. One time slot might be spent on chasing down rebate and incentive opportunities for a client. Another might be spent on strengthening or administering WVO’s required Sustainability 101 course or voluntary Energy University program. What the sustainability team has accomplished along with others at WVO and Wyndham Worldwide should come as no surprise given Wyndham’s commitment to developing sustainability programs. Wyndham’s Wyndham Green program was launched in 2006 and Wyndham has had a seat at the table whenever the lodging industry has met to discuss important sustainability concerns.

Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Names Sean Patrick Curry Executive Chef


OAK BROOK, ILL.—Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center has announced the appointment of Sean Patrick Curry as Executive Chef. In his new role, Chef Curry is responsible for menu creation and daily culinary operations at the hotel and its restaurants, Windows and The Grille. In the coming weeks, Chef Curry will revamp the food culture at Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center, elevating the banquet and catering service and introducing what he refers to as modern farm cuisine. “Chef Curry brings an exceptional talent to the Hilton team, beginning with an innovative vision and an inspirational work ethic,” said Stefan Mühle, General Manager, Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center. “We’re confident he will enhance our guest experience, setting a new standard for dining in Chicagoland.”

Tom Griffin is Driving Force Behind New Virginia Green Travel Alliance


RICHMOND, VA.—This year marked a time of big change for Tom Griffin. The original developer of the Virginia Green program and its overall coordinator since 2008 gave up his coordinator responsibilities to lead the creation of the Virginia Green Travel Alliance (VGTA). Griffin officially took on the position of Executive Director of VGTA on July 1. To help him with VGTA, Griffin has put together a board of 12 people who are influential in Virginia’s tourism industry. In his new role Griffin will remain extremely close to the original Virginia Green program. In fact, one of the missions of VGTA is to support the Virginia Green program and expand its marketing potential. The initial focus of VGTA will be on staff-level training and certification opportunities. VGTA is developing a staff training program geared toward new-hires that will orient trainees on what it means to work in a Virginia Green-certified facility.

Auberge Resorts Collection Appoints Ken Springer Vice President of Design and Construction


MILL VALLEY, CALIF.—Auberge Resorts Collection, owner and operator of boutique luxury hotels, resorts, residences and private clubs, announced that Ken Springer has joined the company as Vice President of Design and Construction. In this newly created position, Springer will oversee all aspects of new construction and capital expenditures on current and future Auberge properties. “Ken possesses a reputation for the highest degree of attention to detail and design, as well as timely execution at each step of the development process,” said Craig Reid, Chief Executive Officer, Auberge Resorts Collection. “His professionalism and experience will be invaluable to Auberge as we move our strategic expansion plan forward. We are delighted to welcome him to our senior team.” Springer brings more than 25 years of hands-on hospitality design and construction project management experience to Auberge.

Erin Rowland a Leading Force Behind Oregon Convention Center’s Most Notable Achievements


PORTLAND, ORE.—Among U.S. meeting facilities, the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) in Portland, Ore. is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious when it comes to accomplishments in green building and sustainability. This past March it became only the second meeting facility in the United States to earn LEED Platinum certification. Earlier this summer, OCC achieved Level Four certification for the ASTM Standard pertaining to the evaluation and selection of venues for environmentally sustainable meetings, events, trade shows and conferences. As a cherry on top of those accomplishments, OCC recently received the 2014 Green Award at Travel Portland’s 35th Annual Tourism & Hospitality Industry Awards Celebration. A leading force behind OCC’s many achievements is Erin Rowland, the Center’s Sustainability Coordinator. Rowland, who recently earned her LEED AP for Existing Buildings Accreditation, has been working in her current position since November 2012.

Sanderling Resort Welcomes New Chef to Culinary Team


DUCK, N.C.—Sanderling Resort, the Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond property on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, welcomes Chef de Cuisine John Botkin to the Lifesaving Station culinary team. The restaurant, which reopened last spring in conjunction with the property’s redesign, embraces the coastal Carolina region through its seafood-centric menu—a fitting destination for Chef Botkin and his expertise in seafood. At Lifesaving Station, Chef Botkin will continue the restaurant’s focus on S.O.A.L. cuisine—sustainable, organic, artisanal, and local—under the aegis of Executive Chef Jeffrey Russell. Menu highlights include the Grilled Carolina Grouper with hoppin john, smokey spinach, and maque choux; Sweet Onion Crusted Flounder with ravioli, mushrooms, sweet corn, and cajun butter sauce; and Shrimp and Grits with grilled North Carolina shrimp, surry sausage, Anson Mills grits, smoked tomatoes, and mushroom. “I’m excited to build menus around our S.O.A.L. cuisine concept,” says Botkin.

Stefan Mühle Appointed General Manager of Oak Brook Hills Resort in Illinois


OAK BROOK, ILL.—Oak Brook Hills Resort announces the appointment of Stefan Mühle as General Manager. Bringing over 25 years of hospitality experience to the property, 12 of those with Portfolio Hotels & Resorts, Mühle oversees all operations at the renowned IACC Certified convention resort soon to become a member of the Hilton brand this summer. The resort features 386 guestrooms including 38 suites, 42,500 square feet of meetings space, and the award-winning Willow Crest Golf Club, a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, preserving and enhancing wildlife habitat and protecting resources. “Seasoned leaders such as Stefan have the ability to bring heart and soul into both boutique and large-scale hotel properties,” Portfolio Hotels & Resorts COO Graham Hersham says.

Rocio Hammershaimb Instrumental in Moving Starwood Toward 2020 Goals


STAMFORD, CONN.—If you chat with Rocio Hammershaimb about her sustainability role with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, you will quickly discover that she is not only passionate about her day-to-day work tasks but also excited about her volunteer work with area children. “Last summer I mentored a youth,” she says. “Currently, a group of us help to teach healthy cooking skills to youth in a group home. It’s good to be embedded in the community.” The volunteer work of Hammershaimb and others at Starwood is a reflection of the company’s focus on global citizenship. That commitment includes not only community volunteerism but also measurable energy, water and greenhouse gas reduction goals. With a baseline year of 2008, Starwood’s goal is to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent per built hotel room by 2020 and water consumption by 20 percent per built hotel room by 2020.

Ted Lorenzi Joins Marcus Hotels & Resorts as Vice President of Engineering & Sustainability


MILWAUKEE, WIS.—Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corp., announced that Ted Lorenzi has been named Vice President of Engineering and Sustainability. Lorenzi joins the company with more than 30 years of hospitality experience in operational planning and corporate facility management roles. In his new role, Lorenzi will be responsible for the development, advancement and implementation of engineering, environmental and energy management strategies and sustainability programs throughout the Marcus Hotels & Resorts portfolio. Prior to joining Marcus Hotels & Resorts he served as Senior Director, Engineering Design and Operations for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Minneapolis. His responsibilities included overseeing new technical design standards, strategic planning, and the launch of the Radisson Blu brand in North America.

Industry, ForrestPerkins Mourn Loss of Clifford R. Tuttle


HOUSTON—Everyone at ForrestPerkins mourns the loss and celebrates the life of our colleague and dear friend, Clifford R. Tuttle, who passed away May 20 at 11:20 p.m. in Houston. He was with his loving family and is survived by his brother, Philip I. Tuttle and his wife Sharon, his niece, Kelly Day, her husband Alan and their son Brooks, and his nephew Robert and his wife Leigh and their son Weston. An award-winning interior designer, Cliff Tuttle managed the interior design practice in the San Francisco office of luxury hotel design firm ForrestPerkins. He joined ForrestPerkins at its founding in 1998, serving briefly in the firm's Dallas office, then as Senior Vice President in charge of design for eight years in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, before launching the San Francisco office in 2007.

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