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SAN FRANCISCO—When Frank Kawecki was a teenager, he was part of an effort to eliminate tuna from his high school cafeteria. At that time (and even still today), tuna was touted as the wrong seafood selection because of the number of dolphins killed in its harvesting. Today, as the person leading Kimpton Restaurants’ Eco Program on the West Coast, he makes sure that all fish served at Kimpton restaurants are recommended as part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. Kimpton’s Eco Program for its restaurants is part of its companywide EarthCare Program. The restaurant program encompasses everything from procuring eco-friendly wine and coffee to low flow spray valves to food waste composting. Green restaurant practices are now standard in Kimpton restaurants and making sure restaurant operators are adhering to Kimpton standards is part of Kawecki’s job. “As I travel, I do walk-throughs and check eco-standards while I am there,” he says.
LAS VEGAS—When studying mechanical engineering at Cornell University, a school well known for its School of Hotel Administration, Eric Dominguez had no intention of entering the hospitality industry. In fact, he wanted to be an aerospace engineer. It was by accident, he says, that he ended up getting into the energy business after college. After accumulating years of diverse experience in that area in both the public and private sectors, it was by fate, Dominguez adds, that he made some connections with Caesars Entertainment. Today, after eight years with Caesars, Dominguez’s responsibilities encompass enterprise utility management, corporate engineering and environmental affairs. Dominguez works at the corporate office of Caesars Entertainment, a 70,000-employee company that now has 52 properties worldwide. Some of those properties include Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, and Paris Las Vegas. Three energy engineers and one environmental engineer report to Dominguez.
BOULDER, COLO.—A kid’s voice can go a long way. Just ask Milo Cress, an 11-year-old from Boulder, Colo. Two years ago, Milo noticed that restaurants were automatically giving straws to customers—straws that ended up in the trash and ultimately the landfill. That did not sit right with him. The environmentalist that he is—he developed a solar-powered popcorn machine when he was six—Milo decided something needed to be done. With the help of his family he founded the Be Straw Free Campaign, an effort to encourage foodservice businesses to either eliminate straws altogether or at least transition to an “offer first” policy. Two years after his effort was launched, Milo is making significant progress. He has been interviewed on CNN twice, on NPR, for national news publications, and the National Restaurant Assn. is an advocate of his “offer first” policy. The Colorado Restaurant Assn. has officially adopted “offer first” and George McKerrow Jr., co-founder and chief executive of casual-dining restaurant chain Ted’s Montana Grill, recently signed an "offer first" pledge.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) recently announced the appointment of Mauro Marrocu as its new CEO. Marrocu will lead the organization through its next phase of growth and extended global partnerships, which includes its official relocation within the offices of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid. Marrocu is an experienced executive and entrepreneur in the travel industry. He has worked on various continents in developed and developing markets. His passion for travel will lead the organization in encouraging public and private sector partnerships necessary to build sustainable travel systems, strategies and policies for future growth and prosperity. Marrocu brings a rich and diversified C-level background to the role, having held various leadership roles in the travel and transportation industry.
IRVING, TEXAS—Cheryl Forberg, R.D., one of the nation’s leading authorities on nutrition, a James Beard award-winning chef, and nutritionist for NBC’s The Biggest Loser, has joined Omni Hotels & Resorts culinary team as the luxury hotel brand’s in-house nutritionist. From Omni’s award winning restaurants to in-room dining, Forberg will work closely with Omni chefs to create both delicious and nutritious menu choices. This year Omni will embark on several unique and captivating food and beverage campaigns, drawing on Forberg’s expert guidance. She will play an instrumental role in each of Omni’s culinary initiatives, expanding healthy dining options with cuisine that boasts delicious robust flavors, while also being prepared in healthier and more socially responsible ways.
HIGHLANDS RANCH, COLO.—Continuing their mission to make green travel possible in locations spanning the country, Adoba Hotel Brand announces the hiring of its new VP of Development, Michael Lapporte. “As Adoba Hotel Brand expands into its third location, it is time to address the company’s rapid growth and need for an organizational chart that reflects these new developments,” says Adrienne Pumphrey, Global Head, Adoba Eco Hotel & Suites.” Lapporte is no stranger to the hotel industry, bringing with him 13 years of experience as a senior real estate broker specializing in retail, hotels, mixed-use, land, and investment sales. “His strong track record of success in sourcing, negotiating, developing and closing transactions aligns well with the Adoba Hotels brand’s own business goals,” Pumphrey adds. Lapporte will spearhead the acquisition of new sustainable LEED development properties throughout the country.
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.
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