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John Q. Hammons the Third Recipient of the IAHI Kemmons Wilson
Service Award; IAHI Names Four to the 2007 Board of Directors
ATLANTA, October 16, 2006 – Hotel industry veteran Mr. John Q. Hammons was presented with the 2006 IAHI Kemmons Wilson Service Award during the 2006 InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Americas Investors & Leadership Conference held October 4-6 in Toronto.

IAHI, the Owners’ Association of IHG, bestows the award annually in honor of the late Mr. Kemmons Wilson, the hospitality industry pioneer who created the Holiday Inn brand in 1952 and launched the IAH to represent his franchisees in 1955. The award is presented to a hospitality leader who serves their community and embodies the standards and beliefs set forward by Mr. Wilson. Mr. Hammons is founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Springfield, Mo.-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts, LLC. 

Mr. Hammons, a leading industry innovator for nearly half of a century, heads the nation’s leading independent builder, developer, owner, and manager of upscale, full-service hotels, resorts and suites. The company’s 70 hotels are situated near major demand generators such as office parks, airports and universities. Among the various hotel flags, Mr. Hammons’ company owns 12 Holiday Inn properties. 

”Mr. Hammons’ foresight, dedication to his employees and guests, and years of nurturing and supporting worthwhile causes make him the perfect individual to receive this honor,” says IAHI Chairman Michael Hoffman, president of Turf Hotels, Inc. in Albany, NY.

Mr. Hammons entered the hotel industry in 1958 and joined Mr. Roy E. Winegardner to purchase the first 10 Holiday Inn franchises from Mr. Kemmons Wilson. Winegardner & Hammons Incorporated (WHI) of Cincinnati, a hotel development company, was formed in 1961. By the late 1960s, WHI had constructed nearly three-dozen Holiday Inn hotels. Mr. Hammons formed John Q. Hammons Hotels in 1969. 

Mr. Hammons has been recognized over the years not only for his work as an hotelier, but for his philanthropic efforts and initiatives. The Missouri native has donated more than $100 million to the city of Springfield and other organizations over the last 50 years. Some of his most notable efforts include funding the Hammons Heart Institute and Hammons Life Line helicopter for St. John’s Regional Health Center in Springfield; the Hammons Student Center, Hammons Fountains, and Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts at Missouri State University; the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University; and Hammons Field, home to the St. Louis Cardinals’ Double-A Minor League team, the Springfield Cardinals. 

Hammons is the third recipient of the IAHI Kemmons Wilson Service Award. 

IAHI also names four to the 2007 Board of Directors.

The new Board members are: 

• Douglas Artusio, chairman and chief executive officer, Dellisart Lodging Hospitality Management, Alpharetta, GA
• Kerry Ranson, vice president of operations, HP-Hotels, Birmingham, AL
• Sonny Sra, senior vice president, Remington Hotels, Dallas, TX
• David Wespiser, managing member, Hotel Development Services, LLC, Oxford, OH.

Thirty-year industry veteran Artusio has experience in the hotel business that ranges from operations to development to finance. His company currently operates four hotels, and has three under construction—all IHG brands. Artusio has plans to open more properties domestically and overseas in the next few years. He spent the early years of his career with the Marriott Corporation and later worked for the Holiday Inn Worldwide organization as vice president of franchise sales of the Western Region. Artusio launched Dellisart in 2002.

Ranson has more than 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry.  HP-Hotels manages seven properties within the IHG family, including a new full-service prototype opening in Birmingham, AL in the fall of 2007. Before joining HP-Hotels, Ranson was an area director for IHG, where he oversaw more than 20 properties. Prior to that, he was with Mirage Hotels and Wilson Hotel Management Company.

Sra has been in the hospitality business for 32 years; the last 15 years have been with Remington Hotels. His company is one of the largest, independently-owned hotel investment, development, and management firms in the nation—currently with 37 properties under a variety of flags. This portfolio also includes two IHG properties under the Crowne Plaza brand. During his tenure with Remington, Sra has served as general manager, area manager, vice president, divisional vice president, and currently is senior vice president. 

Wespiser’s company owns hotels in seven states – 15 of these are IHG-branded hotels - and plans to further develop its portfolio. Prior to launching Hotel Development Services (HDS) in 1997, Wespiser worked with several hotel chains, including Days Inns of America, Inc. Wespiser also has been an independent franchjse broker and developer.

“These four gentlemen bring a great variety and wealth of experience to our Board,” says Michael Hoffman, chairman and president of Turf Hotels, Inc. in Albany, NY. “We welcome them and look forward to their input, advice, and guidance.” 

IAHI members own and operate InterContinental Hotels Group brand hotels worldwide, including Crowne Plazaâ Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Innâ Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Expressâ, Holiday Inn SunSpreeâ Resorts, Holiday Inn Selectâ, Staybridge Suitesâ and Candlewood Suitesâ hotels. Established in 1955, the IAHI was the first association of owners in the hotel industry, and today comprises nearly 2,700 members in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Canada, Mexico and Latin America.  The IAHI represents its membership in working together with InterContinental Hotels Group for the purpose of maintaining the highest professional hospitality standards for its brands. 

For the latest news from the IAHI, visit our online Newsroom at


Brenda Thielbar
Director of Communications

Also See: The Owners’ Association of InterContinental Hotels Group Presents First Kemmons Wilson Service Award to George Glover, Chairman and CEO of BayStar Hotel Group, Tampa, Florida / January 2005
Kemmons Wilson Dies at Age 90; Established First Holiday Inn Hotel in 1952 / Feb 2003

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