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AUSTIN, TX USA (June 15, 2016)Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), producers of Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITECSM), is excited to announce the hospitality technology professionals that will offer their time and expertise as industry mentors at the returning Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) start-up pitch competition. This year at HITEC 2016 will be the first-ever year the mentoring sessions have been available to participants.

The 17 participating, unfunded startup companies will have one-on-one consultations with a paired mentor the morning of Monday, June 20. The meet-ups will happen right before the three-hour competition takes place at 1 p.m. in the convention center’s Rivergate Room. All HITEC attendee and exhibitor badge holders, including exhibits-only, are invited to attend the competition and will get a chance to visit with participants at the E20X pavilion in the exhibit hall.

“HFTP, with the help of Somers Communications, worked hard to make HITEC’s sought-after Entrepreneur 20X event better than ever before,” said HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe, CAE. “The mentoring sessions are an added bonus for the participating E20X companies. The seasoned hospitality mentors were carefully selected and will provide quality advice the entrepreneurs can carry with them as they continue to build their companies.”

HFTP is widely known for its dedication to promoting education, career advancement/development and global communication amongst industry professionals. HFTP is currently expanding globally and is continuously searching for new ways to ameliorate the hospitality technology industry as a whole. 

The 2016 E20X mentors include:

  • Jim Dennedy, president & CEO at Agilysys
  • Alex Shashou, co-founder & president at ALICE
  • Ron Peterson, CEO at Blueprint RF
  • Diane Estner, president & CEO at DANNI Enterprises
  • Sherry Marek, co-founder & vice president of business intelligence at Datavision Technologies
  • Barry Shuler, Design Management Associates
  • Ted Horner, managing director at E Horner & Associates Pty Ltd
  • Chris Garland, senior vice president of operations finance at Four Seasons Hotels Limited
  • Kurien Jacob, principal at Highgate Ventures at Highgate Hotels
  • Mark Pate, assistant controller & IT director at Highpointe Hotel Corporation
  • Richard Siegel, president & publisher at Hospitality Upgrade
  • Henri Roelings, founder  at Hsyndicate
  • Michael  Waltman, CEO & Owner at Interactive Sites
  • Jeff Parker, vice president of technology at Interstate Hotels & Resorts
  • Marcus Robinson, chief experience officer at Monscierge
  • Luis Segredo, president at MTech Division of Newmarket International
  • Valyn Perini, vice president of strategic relationships at Nor1
  • Alan Young, president & co-founder at Puzzle Partner
  • Frank Pitsikalis, founder & CEO at ResortSuite
  • Nelson  Garrido, senior vice president of IT at Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties
  • Mark Haley, partner at The Prism Partnership
  • Mehmet Erdem, Ph.D., CHTP, associate  professor of hotel operations and technology at UNLV

Attendees will also have the exciting opportunity to meet the pitchers during the competition at an interactive techie lounge located in the back of the Rivergate Room. New this year, HITEC attendees will also give their input on the company that most impresses them with the new E20X People’s Start-Up Award—this does not have to match the judge’s Grand Prize winner awarded at the end of the competition. HITEC attendees who visit the Entrepreneur 20X pavilion, during exhibit hours, may cast a ballot to vote for their favorite startup. The E20X People’s Startup Award winner will be presented with a trophy on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at the closing keynote session at 2:30 p.m. in Great Hall A.

Entrepreneur 20X will take place on Monday, June 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Rivergate Room at HITEC 2016. HITEC 2016 is June 20–23 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. USA. For the latest news, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at, +1 (512) 249-5333. Read more about Entrepreneur 20X on HFTP Connect.


HITEC is the world's largest hospitality technology exposition and conference. HITEC offers a unique combination of top-notch education, and brings together the brightest minds and hottest technology from over 375 companies to one place. HITEC 2016 will take place June 20-23 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. USA. The unparalleled expo offers 5,500 + attendees essential education, access to top hospitality technology industry experts and the resources to find cost-effective ways to improve company bottom lines. Combined with the intimate opportunities to connect with fellow professionals, HITEC has everything to enhance your career.

About HFTP

Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) is a global nonprofit hospitality association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, that uniquely understands the industry’s problems. HFTP has over 5,200 members and several thousand stakeholders across the globe. HFTP assists its members in finding solutions to industry problems more efficiently than any organization via its expert networks, research, conferences such as HITECSM and certification programs. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality specific search engine, HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segment of the hospitality. For more information about HFTP, e-mail

Contact: Jessica Blankenship / 512-220-4038

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