|By Bill O'Brien, The Record-Eagle,
Traverse City, Mich.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 18, 2010 --ACME -- A new president and general manager starts Monday at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.
Donald Ponniah, a veteran of the hospitality industry who's worked in the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains, takes over as head of the 600-room Acme resort owned by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
Ponniah comes to northern Michigan after working as general manager of Hilton Los Angeles North, a 19-story, 351-room hotel in Glendale, Calif.
He has more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, including the general manager's post at La Torretta Del Lago Resort & Spa in Montgomery, Texas. He also worked in management posts at resorts in Arizona and British Columbia, and has worked in various hotel sectors including food and beverage, sales and marketing and human resources.
Grand Traverse Band Tribal Chairman Derek Bailey said Ponniah stood out among a "great group of people" who interviewed.
"We're pleased to have someone with Mr. Ponniah's past experience," Bailey said Thursday. "We're looking forward to him joining our resort team."
Ponniah holds a bachelor's degree in hotel management and business administration from the University of New Haven in West Haven, Conn., and is certified in hotel administration through the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Ponniah will take over a position vacated in January by Grant Channing, the resort's former president and general manager, who left to take a vice president's post with a tribal resort and casino north of San Diego. Channing joined the Grand Traverse Resort in fall 2006; he took over for Andrew Bateman, who served as general manager after the Grand Traverse Band bought the property in 2003.
Scott Chouinard, the resort's assistant general manager and chief financial officer, served as interim GM following Channing's departure.
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