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PORTLAND, ORE.—The Heathman Hotel in Portland, a property with a long history of environmental commitments, announces the appointment of Steven Hurst as General Manager. As General Manager, Hurst will oversee all property operations, sales and executive functions as well as focus on a post-sale re-imaging for the hotel, which is one of the oldest and most respected luxury hotels in the city. Hurst started his career in the hotel business at Pebble Beach Resorts. There, he enjoyed seven years of career advancement, starting as Clubhouse Manager, at The Beach and Tennis Club, Monterey Peninsula’s premier private social and recreational club with a rich history spanning more than 90 years (much like The Heathman). After four years in this position, he took on the role of Assistant General Manager of Casa Palmero, Pebble Beach Resort’s most exclusive hotel.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Board of Directors announced that USGBC’s Chief Operating Officer Mahesh Ramanujam has been named incoming Chief Executive Officer, and will move into the role after Rick Fedrizzi, the co-founder of USGBC and current CEO, steps down at the end of 2016. “Mahesh has a highly impressive track record of success in both his role as USGBC’s COO and as President of Green Business Certification Inc.,” said USGBC Board Chair Marge Anderson. “He is a proven leader who has exhaustive knowledge of the organization, respect from its volunteer leadership and strong support from its team. He has extensive global experience and broad business acumen. He is the perfect choice to lead the organization into the future.” “As a founder, I could not be happier, and as a CEO, I could not be more satisfied that I’ll be able to leave USGBC in the best hands possible,” said Fedrizzi.
NEW YORK—Rebecca Marshall, Energy and Sustainability Manager at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, says there was a time when the Center was the No. 1 bird killer in New York City. Birds failed to see the windows of the Center as a barrier and collided with the glass. Thanks to the addition of a new glass façade and a 6.75-acre green roof, however, the Center has become an urban sanctuary for wildlife—an amazing turnaround for any building, Marshall says. Bird collisions have declined by 90 percent. As Energy and Sustainability Manager for the Javits Center, Marshall oversees the progress of the green roof—the second largest of its kind in the United States and the largest in the Northeast. She also oversees other aspects of the Center’s sustainability program. “Our sustainability program helps the Javits Center improve the quality of life for our employees, our customers and the community around us,” Marshall says.
DEATH VALLEY, CALIF.—Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Inc. announced the appointment of Dominie Lenz as General Manager of Furnace Creek Resort, located in Death Valley National Park. In this role, Lenz will oversee all operations of both the AAA four-diamond, 66-room Inn at Furnace Creek and the 224-room, family-friendly Ranch at Furnace Creek. “We are delighted to welcome Dominie into her new role,” says Gordon Taylor, Vice President Operations South, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Inc. “Her tenure with Xanterra Parks & Resorts and commitment to excellence in the hospitality and food and beverage industries mean she is in the perfect position to lead both the Inn at Furnace Creek and the Ranch at Furnace Creek.” Lenz has spent more than seven years with Xanterra Parks & Resorts throughout her career, most recently as Executive Director of Operations for Xanterra South Rim LLC.
SANTA MONICA, CALIF.—Shore Hotel, a leader in sustainability among Santa Monica’s luxury hotels, announces the appointment of hotel veteran Joe Velasquez to its executive team as General Manager. Velasquez brings more than two decades of experience in the luxury hotel business, including success at brands in California, Arizona, and Hawaii. “We know that Joe will bring the expertise and experience Shore Hotel needs to continue providing the highest level of service on which the hotel prides itself,” says CEO Steve Farzam. “Shore Hotel is an extraordinary escape destination where we value our guests and know that Joe will further our commitment to providing personable five-star customer service.” Velasquez was most recently the Director of Sales and Marketing at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he was acting General Manager during the ownership transition at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona, which included being responsible for high profile events.
PHILADELPHIA—In need of someone to analyze and quantify the impact of its EarthView program, Hersha Hospitality Trust in 2012 hired Matthew Lobach, currently Associate Sustainability. Today, Lobach is responsible for the development and implementation of EarthView. He also leads the company’s philanthropic Giving Committee. Lobach works closely with Bennett Thomas, Vice President of Finance and Sustainability. “Bennett and I have sustainability in our titles but it is part of everyone’s job responsibility,” Lobach says. EarthView is implemented at the 46 hotels owned by Hersha Hospitality Trust. It is also the program for the 105 hotels that Hersha Hospitality Management manages. In its recently released sustainability report, Hersha Hospitality Trust announced that steps to reduce energy and water consumption and waste generation have resulted in $3.2 million in savings since EarthView was launched in 2010.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM—Wolfgang M. Neumann, President & CEO of Rezidor, is the new Chairman of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP). He succeeds Ian Carter, President, Development, Architecture and Construction for Hilton Worldwide who steps down after four years. “It is an honor to succeed Ian Carter as Chairman of ITP,” Neumann said. “Responsible business must be an essential element of any business strategy today and tomorrow—we must care for our planet and our people. I look forward to continue to join forces with our peers and to keep sustainability high on the agenda of the international hotel industry.” During Carter’s tenure as Chairman of ITP, the organization has delivered practical programs and resources to advance the industry’s responsible business agenda. ITP has 17 corporate members in one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world, currently representing 25,000 hotels in over 100 countries worldwide.
AGOURA HILLS, CALIF.—The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which has awarded $1 billion in grants in the United States and around the world to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people, named Peter Laugharn its incoming President and CEO, effective January 1, 2016. Laugharn has 25 years of foundation and nonprofit experience internationally, focusing on improving the wellbeing of vulnerable children. He most recently served as executive director of the Firelight Foundation, a Hilton Foundation grantee. “I am truly excited to join an organization that I have long admired for its accomplishments both domestically and internationally,” Laugharn said. “I am deeply committed to the Foundation’s mission to help disadvantaged people throughout the world, and to the values that guide this important work.” Laugharn brings deep international experience to his new position. As Executive Director of the Firelight Foundation, he led efforts to identify, fund, and support promising African nonprofits.
ATLANTA—Late last year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced that its IHG Green Engage program would be rolled out across the company’s global estate of 4,900 hotels as of January 1, 2015. All properties flying an IHG flag—Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Candlewood Suites, etc.—now have until the end of this year to reach at least Level One within IHG Green Engage. In a franchisor/franchisee relationship, mandates sometimes do not go over well but in this case, says Lindsay Wilkinson, Manager—Environmental Sustainability, Corporate Responsibility for IHG, reception has been widely positive. Helping to oversee the transition to IHG Green Engage is just one of Wilkinson’s many responsibilities within IHG. Those properties working to achieve Level One must accomplish 10 action items—setting up a green team and tracking utility data are two of the items.
BUFFALO, N.Y.—Jim Houser has been promoted to president of Delaware North’s parks and resorts business, as well as company operations in Australia and Asia. Houser most recently served as COO of the parks and resorts business and company operations in Australia and Asia. A Delaware North veteran of more than 35 years, Houser began his career as a vendor with Delaware North Sportservice and steadily climbed the ranks to become general manager of the company’s operation at the former Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. Houser was promoted to director of labor relations and then chief operating officer of Delaware North Sportservice. In those roles, he managed the division’s operations and its efforts to realize growth potential for concessions, fine dining and retail groups. Houser’s impact hasn’t just been in operations; his leadership has touched virtually every corner of Delaware North’s business.
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