Hotel Online  Special Report




Gary Mendell, Stephen Mendell and Jay H. Shah Receive the
2007 Hospitality Innovator Award
Sponsored by the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration

Ithaca, NY, June 1, 2007 – Entrepreneurs Gary Mendell ’79, Stephen Mendell ’82 and Jay H. Shah ’90 have received the 2007 Hospitality Innovator Award, sponsored by The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. The award honors entrepreneurs who have created and built distinctly successful ventures in the hospitality field.

2007 Hospitality Innovator Award winners, from left, 
Stephen Mendell '82, Gary Mendell '79 and Jay H. Shah '90.
“The Cornell Hotel School is delighted to recognize these leaders for their innovative thinking and their ability to build and run thriving enterprises,” said Michael Johnson, Hotel School dean. “These leaders are extraordinary entrepreneurs and a great inspiration to our alumni and students, many of whom harbor entrepreneurial ambitions themselves.”

Gary Mendell is chairman and chief executive officer of HEI Hotels and Resorts (HEI), a company he co-founded. HEI is one of the nation’s leading hotel investment and management companies (HEI currently owns and manages a portfolio of 29 hotels with an aggregate market value of approximately $2 billion). Gary started his career in 1985. In 1997, HEI sold a majority of its hotels to Starwood Lodging and Trust where Gary was named president and elected to the Starwood Board of Trustees. Gary resigned from his position in 1998 to pursue entrepreneurial activities and has since raised two completely discretionary private equity funds with some of the nation’s leading university endowments, a $275 million fund in 2004 and a $425 million fund in 2006.

Stephen Mendell is executive vice president, Acquisitions and Development of HEI. Steve also started his career by co-founding HEI in 1985. At HEI Steve oversees a 15-person acquisition and development team in charge of sourcing, underwriting and executing all company acquisitions, development and divestitures. In 2006, HEI formed the HEI Hospitality Development Company to develop new-build hotels with Steve named as president. Steve also co-founded HVS International in London in 1990 and continues to serve as chairman of HVS International: Europe and Asia. HVS is one of the world’s leading hospitality consulting firms with 21 offices worldwide and annually provides consulting services for over 1,000 hotels.

Jay H. Shah is chief executive officer of Hersha Hospitality Trust and a member of its Board of Trustees. Shah is involved in all areas of the business with a particular emphasis on strategic relationships, capital transactions, asset management and acquisitions. Hersha Hospitality Trust is a self-advised Maryland real estate investment trust that invests in institutional grade hotels in central business districts, primary suburban office markets and stable destination and secondary markets in the Northeastern United States, and select markets on the West Coast.

About The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, the Institute supports and enables innovation and new business formation in the hospitality industry, provides students with guidance on entrepreneurship study, introduces students to hospitality entrepreneurs, and encourages students to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. The Institute is also a platform for knowledge about forming new hospitality businesses, managing small and family-run businesses, franchising, corporate venturing, new venture funding, and innovation.


Joe Strodel, Jr. 


Also See: Cornell's Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship Names Charles Mund, Bruce Reinstein and Larry Reinstein as Recipients of the 2006 Hospitality Innovator Award / April 2006



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