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NORWALK, CONN.—Russ Rogg, President and CEO of Metroflor Corp., along with Harlan Stone, Halstead and Group CEO, announced the appointment of Rochelle Routman, LEED AP, O+M, as the first Chief Sustainability Officer for Metroflor and Halstead International. Routman will oversee product development, customer service and regulatory aspects in a collaborative fashion to define the greatest potential for environmental leadership. She will be based at the company’s Calhoun, Ga. campus. Rochelle brings over 30 years’ experience as a sustainability and environmental professional. At Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, where she served as Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Coordinator in the 1990s, she established a “green team” to focus on addressing environmental issues through proactive program initiatives rather than mere regulatory compliance: the precursor of what we now call sustainability.
ATLANTA—It is no coincidence that big projects and accolades seem to gravitate toward Wes Shirley. The Director of Engineering at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead is always looking for something new to elevate the guest experience, cut costs and reduce environmental impact at the same time. Shirley, who fell in love with building and operating buildings at an early age, has been the driver behind projects such as a 50,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system and a 20-panel solar thermal system. This past week he accepted an award for the hotel as part of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge. Participants in the Challenge pledge to reduce energy and water consumption by 20 percent by 2020. As Director of Engineering at the 439-room hotel, Shirley oversees a team of 12 engineers. He and the hotel’s controller act as coaches of the green team which consists of one manager from every department.
PORTLAND, ORE.—Scott Lipscomb is always trash talking. It is his job, literally, as Environmental Coordinator at McMenamins in Portland, Ore. If there is something that can be donated or recycled, it is Lipscomb’s job to make it happen. McMenamins has provided Lipscomb with many challenges since he began working for the company in December 1992. Then, McMenamins had just 12 locations. Today it has 70 pubs and restaurants, 25 breweries, two distilleries, a winery, and 10 hotels. “I started as a regular pubster,” Lipscomb says. “After a couple of years the person handling the recycling program for our company was leaving. I have always been a proponent of recycling so I applied and got the position (recycling coordinator). In the beginning I would work 20 to 25 hours a week picking up recycling at the locations in the Portland area and our beer truck would bring back recyclables that were not recycled locally. I would then recycle those materials here in Portland at several different recycling centers. As the company grew we changed my job title to Environmental Coordinator.”
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS—The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has appointed Dominican native Amanda Charles as Sustainable Tourism Specialist. Charles will coordinate and implement the CTO’s sustainable tourism program aimed at enhancing the development, growth, quality, competitiveness and sustainability of Caribbean tourism. Charles is a tourism professional with several years of experience, having worked most recently as the adviser to the Directorate of Sustainable Tourism at the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, a position she held for five years. While there Charles coordinated the directorate’s sustainable tourism program and managed the financial, technical and logistical aspects of the directorate’s projects and activities. She also worked as a Tourism Specialist Consultant at the Organization of American States (OAS) Department of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism in Washington, D.C. and as a Project Consultant at the OAS Department of Sustainable Development. A CTO Foundation scholarship winner in 2006 and 2007, Charles is a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
RALEIGH, N.C.—Later this year, the NC GreenTravel Initiative will turn five years old. It is very possible that 200 travel-related businesses in North Carolina will be participating in the program by that point. When the program launched toward the end of 2011, its focus was on hotels and restaurants. Today, led by Tom Rhodes, NC Green Travel Initiative Program Manager, many kinds of travel-related businesses have been recognized as green businesses—attractions, museums, parks, vacation rentals, convention centers, festivals and other travel-oriented establishments. “Although I wear several ‘hats’, the majority of my workday involves tasks associated with the green travel program,” Rhodes says. Businesses participating in the NC GreenTravel Initiative first fill out an application geared toward their type of business. There is even an application customized for breweries. There is no cost to participate. Applications are reviewed by Rhodes. While there is no mandatory site visit in order to become a certified business, Rhodes says there are 62 retirees in North Carolina who volunteer their time to do site assessments covering water, waste and energy.
BANGKOK—Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas announced that Jeffery Smith has joined the group in the role of Director of Sustainability. In his new role, Smith will ensure that Six Senses remains at the leading edge of sustainable tourism practices. These include environmental performance of each property, support for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage, and enhancing social and economic benefits to local communities in destinations where Six Senses operates. Smith joins Six Senses with 11 years of broad experience of delivering green programs, with internal and external engagement. His most recent role was in the delivery of solar energy solutions for Canadian company Solar Brokers. Prior to this position, he was based in Thailand as Projects Director for Global Vision International where he provided leadership to meet regional objectives for sustainable development. This followed a four-year tenure in the progressive rolls of Sustainability Consultant, Manager and Project Manager for Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary with tourism components located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Smith’s wide experience also includes roles in environmental engineering and ecosystem risk management in his native Canada. He holds a Master of Environment and Sustainability.
BETHESDA, MD.—For years now Host Hotels & Resorts has been one of the lodging industry’s leading REITs when it comes to energy management, carbon emissions reduction, water management and overall sustainability performance. In 2015 Host Hotels & Resorts was one of two NAREIT Leader in the Light winners in the Lodging/Resorts category. In 2014 Host was on the CDP A List—a list of companies around the world doing the most to combat climate change. Being recognized as a leader not only among REITs but throughout the lodging industry is the result of the work of a team of talented industry veterans, one of whom is Rick Werber, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Sustainability | Development, Design and Construction for Host Hotels & Resorts. Werber has been instrumental in guiding investment in capital projects that have resulted in significant savings for the Bethesda, Md.-based REIT that currently has 115 hotels in its fold. Adding value to the Host portfolio is the focus of Werber, who first worked in lodging as a chief engineer trainee at the Newton Marriott in Newton, Mass.
NASHVILLE, TENN.—Arizona volunteer Rashmi Bhakta was awarded P&G Professional’s “Community Hotelier of the Year Award” in conjunction with the Asian American Hotel Owners Assn. (AAHOA). Bhakta was chosen as the grand prize winner after submitting an essay detailing her participation with and support of Child Crisis Arizona. The charity will receive a $10,000 award in Bhakta’s name. Bhakta, who was not able to attend in person, was recognized on stage during the 2016 AAHOA Annual Convention and Trade Show awards presentation at the Nashville Convention Center. Amiti Bhow, who nominated Bhakta for the honor, accepted the recognition on Bhakta’s behalf. The Community Hotelier of the Year Award recognizes an AAHOA member who demonstrates dedication and care for their community and expresses a desire to make a positive impact in the future with a $10,000 donation to the winner’s charity of choice. Bhakta supports Child Crisis Arizona by organizing fundraising events like the Family Garba Night which had both philanthropic and cultural goals and raised more than $9,000 for the organization.
HIGHLANDS, N.C.—Old Edwards Hospitality Group announces the appointment of Ezra Gardiner as Head Farmer. Ezra will oversee Old Edwards Gardens at Sequoia Lake and The Gardens at Cherrywood including greenhouses and hoop houses. Ezra will be responsible for cultivating vegetables and herbs to support the culinary offerings throughout Old Edwards, including Madison’s Restaurant and Wine Garden, the Spa Café, the country inn at Half-Mile Farm and the Grill Room at Old Edwards Club, as well as weddings and special events. Gardiner was raised in Ashe County, N.C., an agricultural community of small homesteads and sustenance farming where growing things for aesthetic and for the tables and cellars was a part of daily life for most. Gardiner says, “North Carolina is a great place to grow vegetables, especially here in Highlands—one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world. Our latitude is similar to places like northern Egypt, meaning that we have a lot of sunlight even in the winter and that we can grow under minimal protection throughout the year.
SPRINGFIELD, MO.—John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH) announced the addition of David (Dave) Bishop to the capital planning and asset management department in the company’s Springfield, Mo.-based corporate offices. With 20 years of experience in progressive facilities management, Bishop joins JQH as Corporate Director of Facilities Management beginning March 1, 2016. JQH is a leading private, independent owner and manager of hotels in the United States, including operating more than 1 million square feet of meeting space. “We are pleased to add Dave’s unique education and experience to the JQH family,” said Bill George, JQH’s Vice President of Capital Planning and Asset Management. “His impressive track record for effectively completing a range of property projects and earning his associates’ respect will bode well in his role as Director of Facilities Management for JQH’s diverse national hotel portfolio.” Prior to JQH, Bishop served nine years as director of facilities, buildings and grounds for the Springfield Public Schools R-12 district.