SHM News - School of Hospitality Management
Students visit Marriott International headquarters, meet with CFO
Twelve students had the opportunity to tour Marriott International’s newly renovated headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, as part of a pre-professional development experience.
Peter Bordi receives Leadership in Outreach Scholarship Award
Peter Bordi, associate professor of hospitality management and director of the Center for Food Innovation in the School of Hospitality Management, received the Leadership in Outreach Scholarship Award for 2014.
Peter Bordi has served as director of the Center for Food Innovation within the School of Hospitality Management which has been widely recognized for setting the standard for taste research in the U.S. food industry, since 2004. He is also an associate professor of Hospitality Management. Bordi is recognized as an international expert in the area of research pertaining to food innovation in commercial food service organizations. He also holds the International Certified Food Scientist certification through the Institute of Food Technologies in Chicago, Illinois.
This award honors an individual who has made significant leadership contributions to the outreach mission of the college.
Jeffrey Heim receives Evelyn R. Saubel Faculty Award
Jeffrey Heim, senior instructor of hospitality management and internship coordinator at the School of Hospitality Management received the The Evelyn R. Saubel Faculty Award for 2014.
Jeffrey Heim has served as adviser and instructor in the School of Hospitality Management since 2005. He formally advises roughly 40 students and informally advises hundreds of others, in addition to serving as adviser of the school’s largest student organization, the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society. He also teaches various hospitality courses.
This award recognizes faculty members for service to students. Among its criteria are a commitment to human service; accessibility as an adviser; and a caring, professional style. The award was established in honor of Evelyn Saubel, a 1935 alumna in home economics and a longtime assistant to the dean in the former colleges of Home Economics and Human Development.
Brenda Oberlin receives Carol Clark Ford Staff Achievement Award
Brenda Oberlin, administrative support assistant for the School of Hospitality Management, received the 2014 Carol Clark Ford Staff Achievement Award during the College's Faculty and Staff Awards reception, held Nov. 13 at the Bennett Pierce Living Center.
Oberlin has served as the administrative assistant to the director in the School of Hospitality Management since 2003. In this role she greets visitors and monitors phone calls for the director’s office; attains airfare reservations through the University’s travel system; secures lodging on campus for visitors to the school; generates the school’s acknowledgements for all donations, scholarships and endowments; and manages data and prepares reports from the faculty application.
This award recognizes outstanding achievement by a staff, clerical, or technical service employee of the college who “makes it easier for others to accomplish their objectives effectively and efficiently.” The award was endowed by Donald H. Ford, dean emeritus of the former College of Human Development, in honor of his wife Carol Clark Ford.
Students plan nonprofit fundraising events on zero-budget
It’s quite the scenario: $0, two nonprofit groups in need and six students tasked with organizing successful events to raise funds.
It certainly was no easy task, but School of Hospitality Management students enrolled in Advanced Meetings and Events planned and executed two events to raise funds for Operation: Military Kids, which supports military families living in civilian communities, and Pencils of Promise, which builds schools in impoverished countries.
Starting with a zero budget, course instructor Jackie Golas asked students to create community events to generate funds for the nonprofit groups. The six students then split into two teams to solicit donations and organize events, both of which were held in November.
Lindsey Yealy, a junior from Pittsburgh, assisted with the Operation: Military Families event, which was held Nov. 13 at the Snider Agriculture Arena. The event, Uptown Hoedown for Little Heroes, was an evening reception with music, games and a silent auction, raising more than $1,500 for the organization. While the process ended successfully, it took a lot of hard work to get there.
“Students might take this class thinking it will be all about picking centerpieces and colors. That’s nothing,” Yealy said. “There’s so much administrative work that we had to do for this. There are so many things that you don’t even think about that you have to do, such as conduct surveys, fill out paperwork, consider guests’ diet restrictions, ensure the venue is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. There’s so much that goes into it that you don’t realize. You have an idea of where it’s going to go in the beginning, it was close to what we had in mind, but so many small things changed along the way.” Read more about the events.
SHM Students, faculty and alumni attend Hospitality Executive of the Year reception
More than 100 students, 10 faculty members and 50 alumni attended the 2014 Hospitality Executive of the Year reception presented by the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society (PSHRS) in New York City where PSHRS named Michael Leven, president and chief operating officer for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, as Hospitality Executive of the Year.
PSHRS hosted the 53rd annual ceremony Nov. 9 at the New York Marriott East Side in conjunction with the annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show. As part of the honor, Leven also was inducted into the Penn State Hospitality Hall of Fame at The Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State’s University Park campus.
“It is both an honor and a privilege to be recognized by Penn State's Hotel and Restaurant Society,” Leven said. “As my working career comes to a conclusion in 2014 this is a significant event and a capstone.”
Leven is a veteran hospitality executive with more than 50 years of experience in the industry, and a distinguished and well-recognized record of success. Leven has served on the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Board of Directors since 2004. In 2009, he became the company’s president and chief operating officer and assumed responsibility for the overall operations of the company’s U.S. and international locations.
The two-day celebration, which included private tours of 25 hotels and restaurants in New York City along with a conversation session with Leven, gave School of Hospitality Management (SHM) students a rare opportunity to gain professional insight from industry leaders, particularly field veteran Leven.
“I really enjoyed Leven's speech at the 2014 Executive of the Year Award Reception in New York,” said SHM student Samantha Oliver. “His remarks were very insightful and motivated me for the next step in my life. His advice will continue to motivate me throughout my career. He is a great role model and has achieved so much in his life while maintaining high moral and family values.” Read more about the event.
SHM students visit Hilton Worldwide, learn from executives
Students enrolled in Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management (SHM) witnessed first-hand the operations of a major hospitality corporation, Hilton Worldwide, as part of an engaged scholarship opportunity.
Twenty-five students attended the educational trip Oct. 30 and 31 at Hilton Worldwide headquarters in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, including students who are enrolled in Hospitality Real Estate (HM 482) as well as students in the Global Hospitality Management program, student officers of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and students selected to interview for the Hilton Management Development Program.
“This trip was one of the best opportunities I've received through the School of Hospitality Management,” said student Kristina Trainer. “It showed that the school supports not only the education that we need in order to successfully enter into the workforce, but the education that will be applicable as we advance as hospitality professionals. The exposure we received through the exclusive sessions with various Hilton executives will prove to be invaluable as we move forward as they were able to give us a more in-depth view of different perspectives of multiple stake holders in the hospitality industry.” Read more about the trip.
Hospitality Industry Advisory Board opens doors for students
Plato Ghinos, president of Shaner Hotel Group and member of Penn State's School of Hospitality Management Industry Advisory Board, speaks with students in the lobby of Keller Building on the University Park campus.
Three years ago, the Penn State School of Hospitality Management (SHM) Industry Advisory Board was formed, allowing industry experts to strategically advise SHM on industry trends and guide students who are studying the field.
Since then, the 36-member board — which includes vice presidents and senior vice presidents with large companies and executive vice presidents, chief operating officers and CEO’s of smaller companies — has opened many doors for SHM students.
John O’Neill, director of SHM, said the board has helped the school in innumerable ways.
“They have raised the school's profile in the hospitality industry because they're all thought-leaders in the industry and now, they spend time talking with their colleagues about the great things that are going on here,” O’Neill said. “They've helped us to think of ways to enhance and expand our curriculum, including our executive education offerings. Also, new opportunities have been created for our students for both permanent jobs and internships.”
Kelsey Geist, a senior from Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, who is earning a degree in Hospitality Management, interned at Starwood’s corporate office in Stamford, Connecticut, from June to August, where she worked with Brian McGuire, SHM board member and vice president of North American operations.
“Working for Brian was great. He was very flexible with my internship. Anything that I expressed interest in, he would find a way to let me experience that for a day during my internship,” Geist said. Read more about the SHM Industry Advisory Board.
SHM responds to social media's growing influence in hospitality industry
The School of Hospitality Management (SHM) understands the impact Facebook “likes” and Twitter “retweets” can have on a brand, particularly with the hospitality industry.
That’s why the school hired Brian Cliette, a social media and hospitality guru, who will teach a new course focusing on successful social media marketing techniques for the hospitality field. The course, Social Media Marketing and Management for Travel and Hospitality Professionals, will be offered as an elective in the spring.
Social media outlets, from Yelp to Trip Advisor, impact a company’s brand recognition, and therefore are a critical aspect of hospitality management, according to Cliette, who joined Penn State in August after serving as an adjunct professor and distance education coordinator with the Hospitality & Tourism Administration Program at North Carolina Central University.
“Brand recognition is invaluable. It creates a competitive advantage,” Cliette said. “Anything that jeopardizes or enhances that brand recognition is something worth paying attention to and social media has the power to magnify a brand and a brand’s message, and on the contrary has the power to diminish a brand as well as the power to misconstrue a brand message, so anything that has that type of power is worthy of attention.” Read more about the new course.
Marriott Vacations conference gives students hospitality tools
For one week, students in recreation, park and tourism management, and hospitality management attended a U of the Way conference.
Marcus O’Leary, vice president of resort experience at Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp., thinks Penn State students “just get it.”
The business, that is.
For one week, students in RPTM and HM attended a U of the Way conference on Penn State’s University Park campus, hosted by Marriott Vacations Worldwide (MVW) and held in collaboration with Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center.
The vision? To recruit Penn State students into Marriott Vacations Worldwide, a Florida-based company that is a recognized leader in timesharing and through its Marriott Vacations Club (MVC) brand, has 54 properties around the world. This gives students the knowledge, experience and tools to succeed in their respective careers.
“MVW is different from Marriott International in many ways,” said Patricia Kleban, senior instructor of RPTM. “It is a separate, publicly traded timeshare company where 'owners' have paid in advance for an amazing vacation and experience that they can now enjoy every year. Property offerings have gone way beyond ‘kids clubs’ and (now) include special events, wine and beer tastings, etc.”
The 2014 Resort Experience Conference was divided into two focuses: food and beverage leaders and recreation leaders. Throughout the week and through different activities, demonstrations and programming, students delved into the hospitality, recreation and experiential education aspects of the industry to help prepare them for, and potentially land them, jobs. The slogan, “It’s not what we do … it’s the way we do it” aimed to highlight the importance of hosting a quality experience. The event was held Sept. 8 through 12.
Read more about the U of the Way conference.
Café Laura returns with new look, new tastes and new opportunities
Grand reopening celebration set for Sept. 9
From food preparation to healthier eating choices, the newly renovated Café Laura offers the gamut. The cafe re-opened today (Aug. 25) and will hold its grand reopening Sept. 9 after months of extensive renovations. The student-run restaurant housed in the Mateer Building features new fare stations, a revised design, and a variety of novel equipment and technology. More importantly, the $1.2 million renovation boosts the educational experience for students and enhances dining experiences for customers.
The training restaurant for hospitality management (HM) students closed for updates in April. Since then, students, faculty, staff and industry professionals have been working around the clock to ensure the eatery is open in time for the fall semester.
A partnership between Penn State Housing and Food Services (HFS) and the School of Hospitality Management (SHM), Café Laura is open 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and offers both grab-and-go services and in-house dining.
The renovation project, which has been made possible by a number of donations, has been planned for a while, said John O’Neill, director of SHM.
Read more about renovations to Café Laura.
Leland C. Pillsbury named as as Conti Professor
The Penn State School of Hospitality Management (SHM) named Leland C. Pillsbury, co-chairman of Thayer Lodging Group, as the fall 2014 Walter J. Conti Visiting Professor. Conti Professors visit the School of Hospitality Management to interact with students and faculty members, to present guest lectures in hospitality management and to speak at graduate and undergraduate colloquia.
“As the School of Hospitality Management launches its new interdisciplinary minor in entrepreneurship and innovation this year, Mr. Pillsbury is a most fitting Conti Professor,” said John O’Neill, director of the School of Hospitality Management. “He was renowned as an innovator at Marriott Corporation where he was the youngest vice president in the history of the company. More recently, as co-founder and chairman of Thayer Lodging Group, he has instituted his entrepreneurial vision to create one of the most dynamic owners and operators in the lodging space.”
Pillsbury will be on campus in September to interact with students and faculty members. He will discuss topics including entrepreneurship, real estate, strategy, finance and operations.
Prior to launching Thayer, he spent 19 years at Marriott, where he became an executive vice president and corporate officer. Pillsbury led the company’s entry into time sharing, Fairfield Inns and Residence Inns. Since leaving Marriott, he has played a major role in the launch of more than 15 new companies, including Internet services provider TIG Global, Chinese central reservations system innovator HUBS1 and PURE Rooms Co., providing hypoallergenic guest rooms.
PSHRS names Michael Leven 2014 Hospitality Executive of the Year
Michael Leven, president and chief operating officer for Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has been named 2014 Hospitality Executive of the Year by the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society (PSHRS). Leven will receive the award during the 53rd Hospitality Executive of the Year award reception, which will take place Nov. 9, in conjunction with the annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show in New York. As part of the honor, Leven 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.
“The students, faculty and staff of the Penn State School of Hospitality Management are truly honored that a hospitality industry legend like Michael Leven has accepted this award and will be taking the time to meet and speak with us this year. Nobody in the history of the hospitality industry has done more to provide opportunities for people to advance as managers and owners,” said John O’Neill, director of the School of Hospitality Management.
Leven has served on the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Board of Directors since 2004. In 2009, he became the company’s president and chief operating officer and assumed responsibility for the overall operations of the company’s U.S. and international locations.
Leven is a veteran hospitality executive with more than 50 years of experience in the business and a distinguished and well-recognized record of success. He was formerly president and chief executive officer of US Franchise Systems, Inc., the company he founded in 1995, which developed and franchised the Microtel Inns & Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands. He was previously president and COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide, president of Days Inn of America, and president of Americana Hotels. He has also served on the board of directors of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and is currently a trustee of the Marcus Foundation.
Read more about Michael Leven, PSHRS 2014 Hospitality Executive of the Year.
School of Hospitality Management lends expertise to Nigerian food service execs
Oluwatoyin Alabi, president and CEO of a catering company in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria, said one of the most valuable things he learned while studying with instructors in Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management (SHM) is how to maximize small spaces without compromising food safety.
Now Alabi is determined to share what he’s learned with his team back home at The Promise, a company that started in 2002 and now is a key catering service provider for offshore catering operations and remote sites of major oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.
Alabi was part of the Cochran Fellowship Program. As part of the program, Alabi and five other food service industry executives from Nigeria spent two weeks in July at the University Park campus with the SHM faculty touring area restaurants, grocery stores and other facilities to learn about operations when it comes to food safety and how equipment, technology, procedures and training are utilized.
Made possible through a grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the purpose of the Cochran Program for Food Safety & Catering for the African & Middle East Region was to provide the participants with concepts, principles and best practices in catering and food safety.
Changes to Café Laura to Benefit Hospitality Management Students, Customers
Café Laura, an on-campus restaurant that trains Penn State hospitality management (HM) students for future careers in the industry, will be under construction this summer with changes designed to benefit both HM students and customers.
The project, funded in part by a gift from Panda Express, has Café Laura closing on Friday, April 25, with plans to reopen on Monday, August 21, for the first day of the fall 2014 semester.
Café Laura is staffed primarily by students in two HM classes, HM 330 and 430. The students plan, market, prepare and serve customers while creating a memorable dining experience for the University community. It offers a wide variety of menu choices for lunch, and is well known for its popular theme dinners.
Read more about Changes to Cafe Laura.
Students attend Hunter Hotel Investment Conference
The hotel real estate and finance conference is intended for hotel owners, operators, financial institutions/lenders and related suppliers. This year's conference was titled "The Time is Now!" The keynote speaker was Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide.
"This conference is considered to be one of the top four hotel investment conferences," said Brian Black, director of hospitality industry relations in the School of Hospitality Management. "It provides our students with education and networking opportunities with executives from leading hotel brands, owners and lenders. Few students get the opportunity to network with so many executives at this level."
Education sessions at this year's conference are focusing on topics such as hotel valuations, franchising, case studies, industry trends, design and construction, buying and selling, branding, asset management and creative financing solutions.
School of Hospitality Management names Nancy Johnson as Conti Professor
The Penn State School of Hospitality Management named Nancy Johnson, executive vice president, industry relations Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, as the Spring 2014 Walter J. Conti Visiting Professor. Conti Professors visit the School of Hospitality Management to interact with students and faculty members, to present guest lectures in hospitality management and to speak at graduate and undergraduate colloquia.
“Conti Professors are hospitality industry thought leaders, and Nancy is one of the industry’s greatest thought leaders,” said John O’Neill, director of the school. “She is among the field’s best advocates, and her efforts have resulted in so many people becoming engaged in the industry and driving it forward.”
Johnson will be on campus in April to interact with students and faculty members. She will discuss topics, including hotel development, asset management, operations, strategy, political advocacy and women’s leadership. She also serves on the School of Hospitality Management Industry Advisory Board.
Read more about Nancy Johnson and her visit as a Conti Professor.
Fun at work promotes employee retention but may hurt productivity
Within the hospitality industry, manager support for fun is instrumental in reducing employee turnover, particularly for younger employees, according to a team of researchers. However, manager support for fun also reduces employee productivity, which can negatively impact sales performance. Read more about how fun at work promotes employee retention but may hurt productivity.
Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society Names Jim Abrahamson 2013 Hospitality Executive of the Year
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 (IHG), 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 & Resort. 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.
Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management Names Danny Meyer as Conti Professor
The Penn State School of Hospitality Management named Danny Meyer, chief executive officer of Union Square Hospitality Group as the Fall 2013 Walter J. Conti Visiting Professor. Conti Professors visit the School of Hospitality Management to interact with students and faculty members, to present guest lectures in hospitality management, and to speak at graduate and undergraduate colloquia.
Meyer visited the School of Hospitality Management during the Fall 2013 semester to interact with 300 students through classroom lectures and roundtable discussions with student leaders and faculty. Meyer also hosted a group of students for a tour of several of his restaurants in New York City as part of an educational visit which exposed students to hospitality management in a vibrant setting.
Union Square Hospitality Group includes Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, Maialino, Untitled, North End Grill, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient, a learning and consulting business. Meyer, his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 25 James Beard Awards. Meyer’s first business book, Setting the Table (HarperCollins, 2006), a New York Times bestseller, examines the power of hospitality in restaurants, business and life. An active national leader in the fight against hunger, Meyer has long served on the boards of Share Our Strength and City Harvest. He is equally active in civic affairs, serving on the executive committees of NYC & Co, Union Square Partnership, and the Madison Square Park Conservancy
The Conti Professorship Program was established by alumni and friends of the Penn State School of Hospitality Management in 1987 to honor Walter J. Conti for his contributions to the school, to Penn State and to the hospitality profession. Conti, for whom the professorship is named, is a well-known restaurateur and industry leader from Doylestown, Pa. He is the retired owner and chief executive officer of Conti Cross Keys Inn and the Historic Piper Tavern, both located in Bucks County, Pa. Conti has held various leadership positions in the National Restaurant Association, including chairman and “diplomat” of the association’s educational foundation.
Past Conti Professors include John Metz, executive chairman, Metz Culinary Management; Plato Ghinos, president, Shaner Hotels Group; Bill Fortier senior vice president, Development, Hilton Worldwide; Everette James, former secretary of health, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Steve Rushmore, president and founder, HVS; Mark Lomanno, former president, STR; Franco Harris, president and owner, Super Bakery, Inc.; Ferdinand Metz, president emeritus, Culinary Institute of America; Tim Ryan, president, Culinary Institute of America; Wallace Doolin, former president and CEO, Friday's Hospitality Worldwide, Inc.; Raymond Shultz, former president and CEO, Promus Hotel Corporation; William Shaw, former president and COO, Marriott International and Jim Evans, CEO, Brand USA.
Dip, dip, hooray — kids eat more veggies with flavored dips
Many parents have a difficult time persuading their preschool-aged children to try vegetables, let alone eat them regularly. Food and nutrition researchers have found that by offering a dip flavored with spices, children were more likely to try vegetables — including those they had previously rejected. Read more about how kids eat more veggies with flavored dips.
School of Hospitality Management names Frits van Paasschen as Conti Professor
The Penn State School of Hospitality Management named Frits van Paasschen, president and chief executive officer of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. as the Spring 2013 Walter J. Conti Visiting Professor. Conti Professors visit the School of Hospitality Management to interact with students and faculty members, to present guest lectures in hospitality management and to speak at graduate and undergraduate colloquia.
Several Penn State alumni who work for Starwood accompanied Frits van Paaschen, CEO, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. during his Conti Professorship visit on campus. L-R Front: Daniel Entenberg ('01), Sarah Cannon-Foster ('86), Frits van Paasschen, Brian McGuire ('98), Nan Crouter, Tom Mituzas. L-R Back: Jason Bayona ('05), Bob Pirollo ('92), Tom Martini ('88), Javier Nogales, John O'Neill.
"Frits brings to the school a wealth of cutting-edge knowledge and experience about branding in the hospitality industry based on his tenure at Starwood since 2007 where he has nurtured such esteemed brands as W, Westin, Aloft and St. Regis," said John O'Neill, director of the school. "We are delighted that Frits and several Penn State alumni at Starwood were able to spend time with our students to discuss this dynamic industry and their personal experiences, and to give career advice."
Read more about Frits van Paasschen, Spring 2013 Conti Professor.
International Foodservice Manufacturer’s Association honors two Penn State grads
Two Penn State School of Hospitality Management graduates were recognized by the International Foodservice Manufacturer’s Association (IFMA) on May 20. James Purdum, general manager for Hospitality Services at Penn State, was a Silver Plate recipient, while John Metz Jr., president and CEO of Sterling Hospitality, garnered both the Silver and Gold Plate awards. The pair was honored at the Gold & Silver Plate Awards Celebration at the Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago.
Purdum is a 1977 graduate of Penn State and earned a bachelor’s degree in food services and housing administration. He was honored in the category of Hotels & Lodging.
“This award is a tribute to the hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence by the entire Hospitality Services team,” said Purdum. “It’s also a recognition of the support and commitment our hotels have had from our leadership, our guests and the many colleagues we are fortunate to work with each day to support the mission of this great University.”
Metz Jr., who was honored in the Independent Restaurants/Multi-concept category, is a 1990 graduate of Penn State’s hotel, restaurant and institutional management program.
“I’m proud to accept this recognition on behalf of the 859 employees in our company,” said Metz Jr. “They are spectacular people and unbelievable resources. I wouldn’t be here without them. They are the true recipients of something like this.”
Read more about James Purdum and John Metz Jr. and their IFMA awards.
School of Hospitality Management educational partner at Bisnow BLIS 2013 Lodging Investment Summit
The Penn State School of Hospitality Management was the educational partner for the Bisnow BLIS 2013 Lodging Investment Summit held at the Washington Hilton on April 24-25th.
Over 500 executives representing leading hospitality companies from across the country gathered for this two-day summit which included keynote speakers and panel discussions.
Keynote speakers included Chris Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton Worldwide, Jim Abrahamson, CEO, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Paul Whetsell, President and CEO, Loews Hotels and James Murren, Chairman and CEO, MGM Resorts International. Two of the more than two dozen panelists included PSHRS President, Tom Riley, Vice President, Acquisitions and Development, Kimpton Hotels and SHM Industry Advisory Board Member, Dan Lesser, CEO, LW Hospitality Advisors. Topics were focused on the state of the hotel markets with macro discussions on the economy and micro discussions on future hotel development. Dr. O'Neill kicked off the summit with opening remarks and the introduction of Chris Nassetta.
Hospitality students earn high marks on industry exam
Students in Penn State's School of Hospitality Management have exceeded the national average on a rigorous examination that demonstrates their ability to read, interpret and make decisions about the most widely used monthly report used by hotel managers to track the performance of hotels around the world — the STAR report.
The 16 Penn State students who took the exam — known as the STAR exam — earned an average of 82 percent, and all Penn State students received a passing grade of over 70 percent. The national average was 72 percent. The students were enrolled in the course, "Hospitality Real Estate," which is taught by John O'Neill, director of the School of Hospitality Management. The students trained for and took the exam as part of the course. They took the exam and learned their scores in late December 2012. Read more about SHM students who took the STAR exam >>
Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society names HVS’s Steve Rushmore 2012 Hospitality Executive of the Year
Steve Rushmore, chairman and founder of the global hospitality consulting organization HVS, has been named 2012 Hospitality Executive of the Year by the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society (PSHRS). Rushmore will receive the award during the fifty-first Hospitality Executive of the Year Award Reception, which will take place November 11, 2012 in conjunction with the annual International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in New York. As part of the honor, Rushmore 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.
“Steve Rushmore has repeatedly shown the entrepreneurial vision to find market opportunities to serve the hospitality industry with excellent and unparalleled services," said John O’Neill, director of the School of Hospitality Management. "He also serves the industry as a frequent speaker and author, and the industry recognizes the HVS brand name as the leader in professional services.”
HVS is a hospitality consulting and services firm with more than 30 offices around the globe. Rushmore founded HVS in 1980, and he continues to direct the worldwide operation of this firm, as well as the firm's ever-growing expansion and new product development. He has provided consulting services for more than 15,000 hotels throughout the world during his 40-year career and specializes in complex issues involving hotel feasibility, valuation, and financing. He was one of the creators of the Microtel concept and was instrumental in its initial public offering (IPO). Rushmore is a partner in HEI Hospitality, LLC, a hotel investment fund.
HVS has provided consulting services for thousands of clients in all 50 states and more than 60 foreign countries. Its professional staff of more than 400 industry specialists offers a wide range of services, including market feasibility studies, valuations, strategic analyses, development planning and litigation support. Through its divisions, HVS supplies unique hotel consulting expertise in the areas of executive search, food and beverage operations, gaming, technology, hotel operations, asset management, marketing, interior design, parking, golf and investment counseling. HVS is the industry's primary source of hotel sales information. Its databases contain information on more than 13,000 hotel transactions and thousands of financial statements. HVS is also the most comprehensive source of hotel compensation data.
"It is an honor for me to receive this recognition, particularly from a hotel school program as renowned as Penn State," said Rushmore. "I take pride in and enjoy working with and teaching the students at Penn State, as I know they are the emerging leaders in our ever-evolving industry."
"The 7,000 alumni and 700 students of Penn State's School of Hospitality Management are proud to honor Steve Rushmore as our Hospitality Executive of the Year,” said Tom Riley, president of the PSHRS. "We recognize his industry leadership and appreciate his commitment to hospitality education."
ABOUT STEVE RUSHMORE:
As a leading authority and prolific author on the topic of hotel feasibility studies and appraisals, Rushmore has written all six textbooks and two seminars for the Appraisal Institute covering this subject. He also has authored three reference books on hotel investing and has published more than 300 articles. He writes a column for Lodging Hospitality magazine and is widely quoted by major business and professional publications. Rushmore lectures extensively on hotel trends and has taught hundreds of classes and seminars to more than 20,000 industry professionals. He is also a frequent lecturer at major hotel schools around the world.
Rushmore received a bachelor's degree from the Cornell Hotel School and a master of business administration degree from the University of Buffalo. He holds MAI and FRICS appraisal designations and is a CHA (certified hotel administrator). He is a member of numerous hotel industry committees, including IREFAC and the NYU Hotel Investment Conference. In 1999, he was recognized by the New York chapter of the Cornell Hotel Society as "Hotelie of the Year,” and in 2010, Penn State recognized him as Walter J. Conti Visiting Professor.
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 Randell Smith, chairman and co-founder of STR. Previous winners include Roger Dow, president and chief executive officer, U.S. Travel Association; Niki Leondakis, chief operating officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; Andrew Kerin, former group president, Global Food, Hospitality and Facility Services, ARAMARK Corporation; and other notable people in the industry.