Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association: Greg Bryan,
CHA, General Manager of the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn
Award recipients are determined by AH&LA’s partner state associations.
For more details on each 2009 State Leadership Award winner, please visit
Greg is the consummate volunteer, serving on countless committees,
as chairman of the Arizona Lodging board, and as the AH&LA board delegate.
Greg has demonstrated a life-long commitment and dedication to both associations
and the industry. He also serves on the AH&LA Audit Committee
where he watches closely how the association spends its members money!
Arkansas Hospitality Association: Jed Bullock, Owner of the Best
Western Eureka Inn in Eureka Springs
Jed is President and a longtime board member of the Arkansas Hospitality
Association. He has served as a governor for Best Western International
for the past five years, and is currently the chair of the Arkansas Best
Western Cooperative. Jed is also responsible for Best Western as
a major Arkansas ProStart and Lodging Management Program sponsor, dedicated
to getting other Best Westerns involved in AH&LA membership.
California Hotel & Lodging Association: Jim Beazley, Owner
of The Beazley House in Napa Valley
As a board member of the California Hotel & Lodging Association
(CH&LA), Jim's influence has been essential to the integration of the
California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) into CH&LA
and the success of the bed & breakfast inns segment. He is chairman
of the CABBI Council, on the InnSpire Conference, and also involved in
CH&LA’s Legislative Awareness Task Force.
Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association: Navin Dimond, CEO of
Stonebridge Companies in Englewood
Since founding Stonebridge Companies in 1991, Navin has been an active
and vital supporter of the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association (CH&LA).
In the crucial first five years while building his portfolio of hotels
(which has now grown to include more than 40 properties and 6,300 rooms
nationwide), he still found time to serve on the CH&LA board and was
chairman in 2003, bringing in the highest amount of reserve capital in
the association’s history. As past chairman he remains involved in
CH&LA committees, attends functions, and donates his time and money
to political efforts. This past year, Navin was elected to the CH&LA
Hall of Fame, a distinction shared by only 35 hoteliers before him.
Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association: John Weit (White), Area
General Manager of the Marriott Atlanta Airport in College Park
John has been with Marriott for 34 years, 10 of those years at the
Marriott Atlanta Airport. John is a Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association
(GHLA) board member and serves as chair of the GHLA Atlanta Airport Hotel
Council. He generously gave his time and leadership to spearhead an initiative
to protect hotels in the Atlanta airport area from paying a proposed $2.50
per trip fee each time their shuttle vans traveled to the airport. John
formed a committee and engaged the support and involvement of his peers
to educate key decision makers in an effort to circumvent this proposed
fee. Under John’s leadership, this effort has been successful in
delaying the implementation of the proposed fees and lowering the amount
charged by 50%. John’s group engaged a lobbyist to support their
efforts; then he joined forces with the Cab Drivers Association and the
Limo Drivers Association for added clout against the Airport Authority’s
John’s days are extremely busy with responsibilities managing a 625-room
hotel and overseeing several other Marriott brands in the market.
Despite his full plate, he chose to give unselfishly of his time and talent
to lead an effort that not only benefitted him, but his entire local hotel
community. This is just one example of John’s invaluable leadership
on the local level in Georgia.
Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, Robert (Bob) Habeeb,
President of First Hospitality Group in Rosemont
Bob was selected by the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA)
to be the recipient of this award in sincere appreciation for his commitment
and dedicated work to the association and for his outstanding leadership
and contributions to the hospitality industry. Bob has chaired the
IHLA Governmental Affairs Committee for several years. He has attended
LAS consistently during the past several years as well as the IHLA Legislative
event in Springfield. Bob has given countless hours of his time in representing
IHLA at political and industry events. He and his company generously support
every IHLA event and fundraiser. Bob leads by example and because of his
strong leadership, Bob was the first IHLA Chairman of the Board to be elected
for a second term in 2009.
Iowa Lodging Association, Rick Funke, General Manager of the
Sheraton West Des Moines in Clive
Rick Funke, general manager of the Sheraton West Des Moines, will become
president of ILA at their fall conference. He has been a tremendous
asset to the Iowa Lodging Association, giving countless hours of his time
and energy. He also provides his property and staff to assist in
ILA seminars and conferences.
Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association, Patrick Leary, General
Manager of Fairfield Inn/Hospitality Partners in Bethesda
Whenever and whatever is asked of Patrick, he is always ready to help
the Maryland association. From political action at both the federal
and state level to organization of the association's golf tournament; from
state Stars of the Industry Awards judging to speaking on a panel, Patrick
is always willing to help. The Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association,
and Mary Jo McCulloch, wishes there were 50 members like him.
Montana Innkeepers Association, Sandra Johnson-Thares, CHA, General
Manager/Co-Owner of the O’Haire Motor Inn in Great Falls
Sandra is deeply respected in the Montana Lodging industry for her
extensive record of achievements and for being a unique individual who
is active in both her local area lodging association and in her state association.
She has successfully spearheaded many cutting edge policy issues, all while
running her family-owned inn. Sandra is an active member of the Montana
Innkeepers board of directors and is currently serving as treasurer.
She sits on the Montana Innkeepers Executive and Legislative committees
and is also very active in the Great Falls Lodging Association and
the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association, John C.
Tsunis, Chairman/CEO of Long Island Hotels LLC, in Hauppauge
John is co-founder of Long Island Hotels LLC, a hotel company that
develops, constructs, and manages hotels for both the business and leisure
traveler. He has served on the New York State Hospitality & Tourism
Association’s board of directors since 2002, and is currently chairman
of the Legislative Committee. In addition to his committee work,
he is a key participant in the association’s PAC. John is also committed
to serving the community, joining with others - from executives to front
desk receptionists - to support a number of worthwhile charitable organizations.
North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, Sterling Webster,
Partner and General Manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk
Sterling has been an outstanding board member, traveling long distances
across the state to attend industry meetings and North Carolina Restaurant
and Lodging Association (NCRLA) events. He always supports the PAC
and is an effective ambassador to the local members in the Outer Banks
area. He has been instrumental in obtaining new membership and strengthening
the state lodging association’s voice in this important, but seen by some,
as remote area of the state.
Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association, John Williams, CHA,
General Manager of the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City
John arrived in Oklahoma City in 2006 and immediately began to play
a substantial role as an Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association (OH&LA)
volunteer and director. Since that time, he has chaired the Lodging
Management Program and excelled in his leadership as a member of the OH&LA
Executive Committee - recently accepting his new role as secretary. John's
vast lodging and previous experience as an AH&LA partner state association
leader has greatly aided the OH&LA in it's strategic planning efforts.
John and his hotel are special to the staff of AH&LA because he was
a vital force in helping to make the association's 2008 Summer Summit,
held at the Skirvin, a great success.
Oregon Lodging Association, Jim Kinney, General Manager of the
Seventh Mountain Resort in Bend
Jim is engaged with the association in a very tangible way, giving
his time and expertise in service as a member of the association's Government
Affairs Committee and also the 2009 board of directors. Last fall
when a county board of commissioners wanted to raise local room tax to
fund maintenance for what they called a “tourism road,” Jim, along with
the Oregon Lodging Association and other lodging operators in central Oregon,
stood up to oppose the attempt to fund a local government service on the
back of the lodging industry. Jim was a clear industry voice on the
issue, taking a leadership role from the start. When the county board
ultimately referred the issue to voters, Jim continued to engage in the
process, speaking on behalf of his business and others. Just a few
days prior to the vote, Jim took a risk and decided to participate in a
live, on-air interview with a local radio station to discuss the ballot
measure and provide the lodging industry perspective.
Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association, William D. Kohl,
CHA, CFBE, President of the Harrisburg Hotel Corporation in Harrisburg
William is a 24-year veteran of the hospitality industry. He
is the recipient of the 2001 Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association
Manager of the Year award and has served as chairman of the association
and chair of the Food & Beverage Conference Committee.
Rhode Island Hospitality Association, Mark Gervais, General Manager
of The Hotel Viking in Newport
Mark is always the first volunteer to get involved, the first to raise
his hand, and the first to respond to any request. He is generous,
supportive, and he empowers his employees, according to the Rhode Island
Hospitality Association. The best word to describe Mark is “magical.”
For all Mark does, he has undoubtedly earned the State Leadership Award.
Tennessee Hospitality Association, Dee Lundy, Owner of Lundy
and Associates in Knoxville
Dee is the owner of Lundy Public Relations and publishes the Tennessee
Attractions & Accommodations Guide and the Tennessee Buyer’s Guide.
Her involvement with these publications has taken a tremendous amount of
time and pressure off the limited staff of the state association and allowed
them to focus on member activities. Additionally, Dee uses her sales
and marketing skills as vehicles for creating new membership opportunities
for the association. She works diligently with the sales team to
open new doors for membership and to solidify existing relationships.
Dee has just completed a three-year term on the board of directors and
has served on the Communications and Membership committees during her tenure.
Her selfless attitude and desire to make the Tennessee Hospitality Association
a stronger organization endears her not only to the staff, but to those
who come into contact with her on a daily basis.
Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association, Chris Canavos,
CHA, Owner of the Country Inn & Suites in Williamsburg
Chris has been a dedicated and committed Virginia Hospitality &
Travel Association (VHTA) member since 1997. He has served on various
committees, as president of the hotel/lodging component, as member of the
board of directors, and currently serves on the Executive Committee.
Chris is also integral in building a strong partnership between VHTA and
the hotels in Williamsburg. As a member of the Government Relations
Committee, he continues to work on issues that impact the lodging industry
on both the local and state levels.
Wisconsin Innkeepers Association, Mark Johnson, Vice President
and General Manager of the Best Western Milwaukee Airport Hotel & Conference
Center in Milwaukee
Mark is the 2009 chairman of the Wisconsin Innkeepers Association,
which is comprised of a 37-member board of directors and more than 1,200
members. He has served in numerous leadership positions on both the
state and local levels, ensuring the lodging industry is well-represented
Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association, Ken Patel, Owner
of the Comfort Inn Laramie in Laramie
Ken served as co-chair of the Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association
(WLRA) Government Affairs Committee the year a political action committee
(PAC) component was added. Not only did he participate in raising
money, he helped organize the candidate interviews to determine who would
receive PAC allocations for the first time. In addition, he participated
in all the discussions to determine what issues would most affect the association.
Serving the hospitality industry for nearly a century, AH&LA is
the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders
in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel
companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered
in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy
on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research
and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom line
savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry.
Partner state associations provide local representation and additional
cost-saving benefits to members.