SYRACUSE, NY (April 29, 2016) – The Marriott Syracuse Downtown today announced the executive leadership team for the historic hotel. Currently in the latter stages of a $70 million renovation to restore the historic former Hotel Syracuse to its 20th Century grandeur, the hotel is slated to open in July 2016. Experienced hotelier, Paul McNeil was named General Manager of the property in 2015.
“In addition to the depth of their expertise in the hotel industry, what makes this team unique is their commitment to the project and to the region,” said Joe Blewitt, regional director of operations for Crescent Hotels & Resorts. “This project is close to the hearts of the Central New York community. I’m confident we’ve put in place a team that balances the historical significance of the hotel with the vision for cutting-edge technology and exceptional service that high-end travelers and hotel guests expect.”
Paul Mc Neil, General Manager Paul McNeil was named General Manager of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown in 2015. He is responsible for all aspects of the operation of the hotel, ensuring a quality guest experiences in the 261 guest rooms; over 41,000 square feet of flexible, high-tech conference space; and several distinctive in-house restaurants. Most recently McNeil was general manager at Boston Peabody Marriott in Peabody, Massachusetts, where he oversaw the execution of extensive property renovations resulting in streamlined hotel operations and improved guest experiences.
McNeil’s career with Marriott began in 1985 when he helped open Atlanta Marquis, and spans 30 years. His experience with the company includes appointments at 14 hotels throughout the United States, including: San Antonio River Center, San Francisco Moscone Center, and New York Marquis. Prior roles include seven years as director of operations and 9 years as a general manager. McNeil is a native of Buffalo, New York, and is excited to have the opportunity to return to Central New York to be a part of the renovation and management of this historic property. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Hotel Restaurant and Travel Administration program.
Daniel Fry, Assistant General Manager Daniel Fry boasts 17 years of experience in hotel management with Marriott brands in North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. Most recently, Fry was assistant general manager for the Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Nashville, Tennessee, where he provided oversight for the construction of the 245 room hotel. As Assistant General Manager, he will work with General Manager McNeil to ensure the implementation of brand service strategy and brand initiatives to provide an excellent guest experience. Fry has been recognized as a Marriott Spirit to Serve award winner six times.
Phil Austin, Director of Finance Phil Austin’s experience in the hospitality industry includes positions in operations and food and beverage in addition to finance, providing an incomparable understanding of fiscal responsibility as it applies to an excellent guest experience and profitable property. Prior to joining Marriott Syracuse Downtown, Austin held the position of regional accounting controller within the industry. As Director of Finance, Austin will supervise and direct all financial activities of the hotel. An active participant in the community and a Central New York native, Austin is a member of the Board of Education for the Chittenango School District and is inspired by the history and renovation of the property.
Jerry Keohane, Director of Sales and Marketing Jerry Keohane’s career in sales and marketing within the hospitality and tourism industry spans three decades. A Central New York native and industry veteran, he most recently served as director of sales for the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center in Syracuse, New York where he exceeded goals for the conference center and hotel.
Keohane mastered skills in convention sales, travel and tourism as director of convention sales for the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce: Convention & Visitors Bureau – now known as Visit Syracuse – and as vice president/director of sales and marketing for The Oncenter. His demonstrated success and understanding of convention and tourism sales and marketing is a great asset to Marriott Syracuse Downtown as it will be the official hotel for The Oncenter.
Chuck Anthony, Director of Food and Beverage Chuck Anthony comes to Marriott Syracuse Downtown from Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, where he served as a food and beverage manager. His food and beverage experience spans more than a decade and includes opening and operating independent restaurants in and around Central New York. As General Manager at Bull & Bear Syracuse, he coordinated the opening and programming of the restaurant’s expansion. In addition to experience in operations, Anthony is well-versed in restaurant concepting, project management, local procurement, marketing, branding & strategic positioning, and beverage programming. His role with Marriott Syracuse Downtown will include the direction and organization of activities within the Food and Beverage Department with a focus on quality, service and merchandising.
Thomas Kiernan, CEC, Executive Chef Executive Chef Thomas Kiernan has been in kitchens since he was 14 years old. His experience is varied and extensive including New York City, the waterfront of Boston, and the Caribbean. Well trained in the teachings of the masters such as Escoffier & Careme at the Culinary Institute of America, he came into his own during the 1980’s with the advent of the “New American Chef.” Over the last decade, Kiernan has worked vigorously to promote the local, sustainable bounty available in Central New York. Working with local farmers, producers and processors is a significant aspect of his kitchen philosophy. Kiernan recently participated as a guest chef at the James Beard House in New York City for the famed Empire State Feast and is the 2015 American Culinary Federation Chef of the Year for the Syracuse chapter.