September 13, 2013 - Jim Abrahamson, chief executive officer for Interstate Hotels & 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," said John O'Neill, director of the School of Hospitality Management. "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."
Abrahamson joined Interstate Hotels & Resorts from InterContinental Hotels Group, where he was president of the Americas region, that company's largest operating unit, and was also an executive director of IHG's board of directors. Previously, he held key leadership positions in the areas of operations, development, and franchising with Hyatt Corporation, Marcus Corporation, and Hilton Worldwide.
Abrahamson is active in the hospitality industry and in community affairs. He currently serves as an executive director on the board of directors of Interstate Hotels & Resorts. He also serves as national chair of the U.S. Travel Association. In addition, Abrahamson is the secretary/treasurer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and will serve as association chair beginning in 2015. He is a member of the AH&LA Governmental Affairs and HotelPAC Committees, and is on the advisory board of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship. He is chairman of the board of directors at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and is on the advisory board at the Emory University Eye Clinic. Abrahamson holds a degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota.
"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 & Resorts is the leading U.S.-based global management company operating nearly 360 hotels with more than 69,000 rooms spanning the United States and 10 additional countries.
PSHRS was established in 1948 to strengthen the hospitality profession and to enhance the reputation of the hotel, restaurant and institutional management program in the Penn State School of Hospitality Management. PSHRS and the school created the Hospitality Executive of the Year Award in 1960 to honor individuals who exemplify the successful leadership characteristics that they strive to instill in students and to convey to alumni and colleagues.
Last year's award recipient was Steve Rushmore, president 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, executive chairman, MICROS Systems, Inc.; and other notable executives in the industry.
Contact: Brian Black