UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - July 19, 2013 - Jim Abrahamson, chief executive officer, Interstate Hotels and Resorts, has been named 2013 Hospitality Executive of the Year by the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society (PSHRS). Abrahamson will receive the award during the fifty-second Hospitality Executive of the Year Award Reception, which will take place November 10, 2013 in conjunction with the annual International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in New York. As part of the honor, Abrahamson also will be inducted into the Penn State Hospitality Hall of Fame, located at The Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State's University Park campus.
"Our alumni and industry advisory boards continue to emphasize to us the importance of our developing students' leadership skills and abilities. We know that for our students to be successful leaders, they should learn from the hospitality industry's greatest leaders. That's why we're so happy that a seasoned leader like Jim has accepted our invitation to spend time with our students discussing his wealth of leadership experiences," said John O'Neill, director of the School of Hospitality Management.
Abrahamson is responsible for Interstate Hotels and Resorts' overall performance and global growth of its real estate and management portfolio and he serves as an executive director of the company's board of directors.
Abrahamson joined Interstate Hotels and Resorts from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), where he was president of the Americas region, the company's largest operating unit, and was also an executive director of IHG's Board of Directors. Previously, he held key leadership positions in senior management in the areas of operations, development and franchising with Hyatt Corporation, Marcus Corporation and Hilton Worldwide.
Abrahamson is active in hospitality and community affairs. He currently serves as national board chair for the U.S. Travel Association and serves as secretary/treasurer for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). He will serve as AH&LA chair beginning in 2015. He is a member of the AH&LA Governmental Affairs and HotelPAC Committee, and is on the advisory board of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship and on the advisory board for the DePaul University School of Hospitality. He is chairman of the Board of Directors at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and also serves on the advisory board at the Emory University Eye Clinic.
"The recognition as the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society's Hospitality Executive of the Year is a great honor," said Abrahamson. "The hospitality industry is like no other where anyone with ambition and initiative, coupled with an outstanding education can achieve career success. I'm grateful my journey led to Interstate Hotels and Resorts. Through my experience with some of the industry's leading companies, I have been able to successfully guide our global growth strategy and witness it spring to life. Opening the eyes of Penn State students to similar possibilities is what renders this honor a true privilege."
Interstate Hotels and Resorts, the leading U.S.-based global hotel management company, currently operates 360 hotels with nearly 69,000 rooms spanning the U.S. and nine additional countries.
"The 7,000 alumni and 700 students of Penn State's School of Hospitality Management are proud to honor Jim Abrahamson as our Hospitality Executive of the Year," said Tom Riley, president of the PSHRS. "We recognize his industry leadership and appreciate his commitment to hospitality education."
Last year's award recipient was Steve Rushmore, chairman and founder of HVS. Previous winners include J. W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr., executive chairman, Marriott International, Randy Smith, chairman and co-founder, STR; Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer, U.S. Travel Association; Niki Leondakis, former chief operating officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; Andrew Kerin, former group president, Global Food, Hospitality and Facility Services, ARAMARK Corporation; Tom Giannopoulos, chairman, president and CEO, MICROS Systems, Inc.; and other notable executives in the industry.