The Paragon - Remington Hotels
News of Performance Excellence from Ashford and Remington
First Quarter 2009
REMINGTON & ASHFORD MAINTAIN MOMENTUM
On January 26, Ashford Hospitality Trust announced two senior management promotions. Monty Bennett, Chief Executive Officer and
President relinquished the title of President and promoted Doug Kessler to fill the position. Doug had been Chief Operating Officer and Head
of Acquisitions since the Company’s initial public offering in 2003.
Commenting on the announcement, Monty said, “Doug has been instrumental in every aspect of
Ashford’s growth. His management focus and leadership vision on transactions, capital markets, and
investor relations optimizes Ashford’s strategies. With his initiative and dedication to seek long term
shareholder return, he has spearheaded virtually all of our key objectives. His diverse real estate and
corporate management capabilities contribute significantly to our internal management practices.”
In addition, the Company announced that David Brooks had been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and
General Counsel. Since 2003, Mr. Brooks had been Chief Legal Officer and Head of Transactions.
Monty continued, “The promotion of David to Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel recognizes
his multidimensional capabilities. David engages in every phase of the Company’s business, especially
including the negotiation, structuring, and closing of transactions, and advises on all facets of the Company’s strategies, corporate
governance and legal concerns. His unique combination of business acumen and legal expertise greatly enhance Ashford’s ability to
achieve our strategic goals.”
Through Professional Achievement:
Although several Remington associates knew that Courtney Russell had been nominated for an award at the Starwood Sales and
Operations Conference, Courtney himself was in the dark until he was seated in the “Circle of Excellence” at the event. Held in Toronto
Canada, March 18 – 20, 2009, leadership teams from all the Starwood regions attended the annual gathering. The blur began when photos
of the three nominees appeared on the jumbo screens, and Courtney saw himself among them. Before he knew what was happening, he was
singled out and brought to the stage as the Revenue Manager of the Year having generated over twenty million dollars for a single hotel, the
Remington Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel.
Remington executives were there in force to celebrate Courtney’s success. Loretta Macke, Divisional Vice President of Sales and
Marketing, was joined by three General Managers from the hotels that Courtney supports: Heath Benson, Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel;
Leif Chaffee, Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel; and Scott Hagen, Sheraton Bucks County Hotel. The
Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel also won an award for Catering Team of the Year.
For Courtney, it was thrilling to have a multitude of people from other Starwood properties
patting him on the back with hearty congratulations; however, the reality of what drives success
sank in later that night when he returned alone to his hotel room
to complete the forecast for one of his properties that was due the
Courtney, third from the left in the photo, is
surrounded by Starwood executives.
Winning the Catering Team of the Year for Starwood Franchise
Hotels was the team from the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel.
Pictured from the left are Catering Sales Manager Gina Beasley, Director of
Catering Pam Hawkins, Chassity Howard and VP/DOS Judy Blattert.
Through Portfolio Growth:
On April 1, President Mark Sharkey announced new Remington management agreements for four hotel properties in Georgia. Additions to
the portfolio are:
Hampton Inn Atlanta Buford – Mall of Georgia - Buford, Georgia. The 92-room property is managed by Kathleen Thomas, a previous
Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing for Milestone Hospitality Corporation where she was responsible for Country Inns & Suites,
Choice Hotels, Hilton Hotels and Marriott select service properties.
SpringHill Suites Atlanta Buford – Mall of Georgia – Buford, Georgia. Arlene Baldwin will be acting General Manager at the 97-room
property. She was most recently Director of Sales at the Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites in Jacksonville, Florida.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Atlanta Kennesaw – Kennesaw, Georgia. Andrew Moore continues his success as the General Manager at the 86room Fairfield Inn where he has worked for the past year.
SpringHill Suites Atlanta Kennesaw – Kennesaw, Georgia. Blake Doran was promoted from Assistant General Manager at the Hilton
Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center to General Manager of the newly acquired 90-room SpringHill Suites. Blake’s rise to GM
began as a Front Office Manager at the Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake.
Ashford / Remington 2009
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REMINGTON RECONGNIZES EXCELLENCE
The time-honored traditions of Remington were well-served by the backdrop of the venerable
Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel and Conference Center at the annual GM/DOS Conference,
February 21 – 24, 2009. The gathering of General Managers, Directors of Sales and Marketing,
Revenue Managers and key leadership from the Company’s corporate office staff culminates with
the announcement of those executives and hotel properties that delivered superior performance
in the preceding year. The decor in the Joe Mack Wilson Ballroom capitalized on the gracious
hospitality reminiscent of the hotel’s Southern heritage, providing a memorable venue for the
presentation of the highly anticipated awards.
Controller of the Year
Embassy Suites Austin – Arboretum
Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel/
GM Leif Chaffee
Excellence in Quality
Judy Blattert and
Salesperson of the Year (tie)
Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel
and Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport
Mall of America
Director of the Year
Sheraton Bucks County Hotel
2008 Brand Excellence Awards
Joe Dantoni (ANN); Martin Greenwood (AES); Charles Young (KYW);
Ben Howell (DES); Devin Heath (DUL); Cristi Robinson (IKW);
Jeff Rostek (VES); Leif Chaffee (MIN); Mark Politte (WQO);
Heath Benson – Sheraton Indianapolis
City Centre Hotel
General Manager of the Year
Jeff Rostek –
Embassy Suites Las Vegas
Hotel of the Year
Ashford / Remington 2009
& Southern Hospitality
From the gracious welcome provided by the associates of the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center,
to the elegant surroundings provided at the closing awards gala, it was apparent that the team of experts led by
Sr. Vice President Amy McDaniel was committed to creating four days of unforgettable Southern memories for
conference attendees. Reflecting on the history that is the hotel’s Point of Distinction, charm was the theme at every turn.
In the final analysis, a company is only as strong as its people. Throughout the conference, there were glimpses of
the personal lives behind the leaders that tell the true story of Remington’s success. Particularly revealing were the
video montages created for the nominees of Salesperson and General Manager of the Year by their hotel teams, and
the carefully crafted letters written by the nominees themselves describing what a “wish come true” for them would
be as the winner of the award.
Judy Blattert, commenting on how her promotion to VP Sales/DOS had kept her
busy during the time of mourning right after her beloved father’s sudden death,
revealed that the timing of the offer was the best gift she has ever received. She felt
that her father’s spirit was watching over her as the professional opportunity arrived to
give her peace and focus at a very difficult time. If she won the Salesperson of the Year,
however, she wanted to attend the Tuscan Women Cook Culinary School in Italy for
a week to pursue her own personal “Under the Tuscan
Shawn Anderson admitted regret that he has not
done a good job of letting his wife Jules and their
three kids know how really important their love and
support has been as he has doggedly pursued his
hospitality career. His wish was for a lasting family
memory for the five of them of an ultimate dream
vacation to Disney World.
Heath Benson, who had taken himself out of the
running for GM of the Year for the previous two
years, expressed his desire to be considered in 2008
so he could strive to earn a cruise for his niece Beth
and her parents. The 24-year-old woman has been
diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer; although
she is fighting for her life, Heath hoped to offer the
Marietta Mayor Bill Dunaway
luxury of the cruise to her and her family for some time was one of several elected Atlanta
dignitaries on hand to celebrate.
together in a restful environment.
Ashford / Remington 2009
A Company’s Strength is in its People
Seven Achieve Five Company Drivers
Although every Remington property has specific goals unique to its size and location, the
expectation of every hotel, without exception, is that the General Manager leads it to achieve
the Five Company Drivers: Associate Empowerment, Cost Controls, Exceptional Guest Service,
Asset Maintenance and Revenue Growth. Those that reached the challenging goals in 2008 were
greeted with respectful applause as they were announced by President Mark Sharkey at the
annual GM/DOS Conference.
Those honored were Denis Artiles, Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills Hotel; Heath Benson, Sheraton
Indianapolis City Centre Hotel, Leif Chaffee, Sheraton Minneapolis West Hotel, Martin
Greenwood, Embassy Suites Austin – Arboretum; Ben Howell, Embassy Suites Dallas – Near the Galleria; Devin Heath, Embassy Suites
Dulles Airport ; and Jeff Rostek, Embassy Suites Las Vegas.
Neil Mullen Earns CPA Certification
Sometimes even an MBA can’t get you an interview for the job you want. That is what Neil Mullen discovered
in 2005 when he decided he wanted to go into accounting. Stephanie Bily hired Neil for a two week temporary
accounting assignment, not because of his expertise with numbers but because he knew Excel. Neil made a good
impression on the Ashford team and was called back in November to fill a senior accountant position.
Although opportunity was opening for Neil, he realized that he needed credentials if he was serious about a career
in the financial field. He began an “extremely difficult” year that began with a return to school in May 2006 to
get a Master’s degree in Accounting and Information
Management in December 2007. Not only was the
The Gold Coin Program
coursework notably harder than anticipated, but also
encourages associate-toNeil’s workload at Ashford doubled during the CNL
associate recognition of
acquisition and his wife had their fourth child in
peers who exemplify the
The Mullen family
five Guiding Principles:
Front row from left:
Following the blur of 2007 began the frantic pace of
Madeline (9), Jack (7),
2008 – preparation to take the four part CPA exam. Each
three to five hour exam covers the major areas of
and Engaging. Thirteen
Back row: Patty, Claire (2), knowledge that a professional accountant is expected
managers who keep a
to master. For Neil, passing each exam required
supply of gold coins on hand approve nominations, then
allowi the colleague who originally observed a demonstration
four to eight weeks of preparation, three to four hours of study each day. He
of excellence in a principle present the gold coin to the
optimistically set a deadline for himself to complete the series by the end of
February 2009, requiring working at Ashford during the busiest months of the deserving colleague.
In the First Quarter, the following Remington and Ashford
year until 8 or 9 pm, then going home to study until 2 am the next morning.
associates were presented the prestigious gold coin:
February 18 was the fateful day when he took the test, Ashford closed the
books on the previous year and Neil crashed for a week to recuperate.
Looking back, Neil says that once the routine was set, the months seemed to fly
by. As for wife Patty, playing the role of pseudo-single mom made the time drag
by a little slower. Finding he passed the exam with flying colors in March sent
Neil into a celebratory daze that was complicated by the fact that he suddenly had
so much free time that he didn’t know what to do with himself. His family had the
Jasmine St. Claire
answer: spend the long overdue time with them.
Acknowledging the support he received from both his family and his Ashford
associates in pursuit of his professional goal, Neil feels well prepared to provide
for his family in the future and to contribute effectively to the Ashford team in
organizing the financial data that is the structure of the Company’s success.
“The face is the mirror of the mind.”
Ashford / Remington 2009
The Remington and Ashford First Quarter birthday celebrants had to share the spotlight with participants in three great American
celebrations: the Super Bowl, the Oscars and March Madness. Since the nation was already fired up for a party, Office Manager
and party planner Janet Moyle decided to capitalize on the festive momentum and combine the birthdays and the big events
into three end-of-the-month celebrations for the entire corporate office.
Super Bowl was the theme of the January birthday party held on January 30. Partygoers celebrated the January
birthdays of Heidi McGraw, Jana Smith, Neil Mullen, Russell Rogers, Robbin Javier, Becky Lavene, Bernadette Hudson,
Nanci Pyles, Kerri Cooper, Archie Bennett, Jr., Chris Campbell, Nancy Hafner, Eric Satz, John Terrill and Tammy McGinnis.
We now know that the seasoned Steelers won the football game, and Kasidy Christy and Eddie Liberato won the raffle drawing.
Shiny gold statuettes replaced gaudy gold rings as the symbol of superiority as all eyes turned to those
who celebrated their birthdays in conjunction with the Oscars: Kathy Sledge, Wayne Childers, Narissa Desai, Andrea Welch,
Homan Cull, Tina Newberry, Christy Robinson, Gilbert Arredondo, and Jay Carley. Exactly like a scene from Hollywood.,
Aubrey Fasulo interviewed guests asking, “Who are you wearing?” and Jason Vongsay portrayed the rabid paparazzi who did
not miss a shot. Taking home the gift certificates from the February 28 event were Colin Carroll and Homan Cull.
Madness was the theme of the day on March 31 as the following birthday celebrants took center court: Ruth
Shumway, Tony Battelle, Sharon Jameson-Berry, Lorraine Park, Janet Moyle, Stephen Lehn, Rick Gerhart, Crystal
Johnson, Danelle Ericson, Deborah Snapp, Kim Karchinski, John Goetz and Steve Monserrate. Slam dunk winners of
the drawing were Lennie Abarquez and Jana Puetz.
Ashford / Remington 2009
News from the Field
There’s Strength in Numbers
Paul Williamson, DOS at the Embassy Suites Philadelphia – Airport
and Gordon Palm, DOS at the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel, recently
united their sales teams for a day long sales blitz of Center City,
Philadelphia. The goal of the St. Patty’s Day effort was to educate corporate
group and meeting decision makers who may currently be using higher
priced hotels. A complete cost comparison analysis was provided at each
appointment, listing the potential savings for the client by maximizing the
value added benefits provided by these two Remington properties. The two
marketing directors have discovered the
value themselves of sharing relationships
and joining sales efforts. In the photo are
Paul, left, and Gordon flanking Joseph
DiTrolio, Vice President of Financial
Operations for Comcast Corporation. Creativity Gets Appointments, Generates Revenue
In a business environment where it is important to differentiate
yourself, the Sales and Catering teams at the Sheraton Indianapolis City
Centre Hotel have found a way to capitalize on every joyous holiday
on the calendar. Even during a busy day, targeted prospects find time
to answer a few questions when the sales person making the call is an
unforgettable, eye-popping character that brings a little levity to an
otherwise dreary day. Based on the revenue generated and the awards
won by the Sheraton Indianapolis, the creative approach to sales calls
can certainly be considered effective.
In the photo, dressed for action, are Gingerbread Man Brandi Lee, Julie Mahern in a
Halloween hat, Gina Beasley as an ice cream
cone, Mitch Divens in a St. Patrick’s hat, Pam
Hawkins wearing Valentine wings, Angela
Jordan as an Easter basket and the Easter Bunny
herself, Chassity Howard. Looming in the back
row is the mastermind VP/DOS Judy Blattert.
Catering Success at the
Embassy Suites Palm Beach Gardens
Janae Allison, Director of Sales at the Embassy Suites
Palm Beach Gardens – PGA Boulevard, enthusiastically
applauds the work of new Catering Sales Manager Amy
Berry. Amy, who came from a hotel in the competitive
set, has not missed either her solicitation or booking goals
since her first month on the job, an important feat since the
Embassy has taken over complete control of its food and
Her hard work and dedication to her new job include being on property
whenever the client is, including nights and weekends, to ensure that
business is closed quickly and events are executed skillfully. Her prior
experience at the PGA National Resort and Spa has been utilized in the
from-scratch development of new menus and packaging for the Embassy
A graduate of Syracuse University, the native Californian also spoils
husband Brandon and puggle Remy during her leisure time.
If These Walls Could Talk...
An important part of the tradition of the Historic
Inns of Annapolis is Peg Bednarsky, Innkeeper.
For four decades, Miss Peg has been offering motherly attention to guests who stay at one of the three
historical inns. She has many stories to tell of her memorable guests
and their families’ families, but her favorite is the one about the family
who once came to visit their son as a Naval Academy plebe. They later
came back for his wedding and then returned again to celebrate his promotion to admiral. According to a March article in the Annapolis Capital
Weekly, Peg Bednarsky has the biggest extended family in Annapolis.
At the Governor Calvert House, the current inhabitants – the Remington staff that runs the property – has discovered that “One man’s
trash is truly another man’s treasure.” During the First Quarter, a new
exhibit of 18th-century artifacts went on display for the enjoyment of
guests and visitors. The bits of clay pipe, pieces of plates, utensils and
other items were recovered from an area where the Calvert family once
“For us, it’s like gold,” said Joe Dantoni, general manager of Historic Inns of Annapolis, who runs the
Calvert House at 58 State Circle and
two other properties that comprise
the Historic Inns of Annapolis.
Pictured with the artifacts are Steve
Dudley, Chief Engineer; Ali Guidry,
Front Office Manager; Alison
Trainor, Banquet Chef; and Lynn
Hobbs, Human Resources Director
Cinco de Febrero?
Too excited to wait until
the traditional 5th of May to
hold their Mexican-themed
client appreciation party, the
staff at the Embassy Suites
Walnut Creek hosted a Cinco
De Febrero celebration. To
compensate for the depression
caused by the tough economy, the Embassy Suites Sales and Catering
team decided that some margarita madness would provide a needed
lift to their key clients. Over seventy planners came on the cold, rainy
February evening to sip four different flavors of margaritas while they
enjoyed a fiesta buffet and a gift-packed piñata.
The festivities spread all the way to Oklahoma thanks to the ingenuity
of Sales Manager Keith Hungerford. One loyal Embassy Suites client who
could not make the party enjoyed a margarita delivered to her room at the
Embassy Suites OKC. The sales team at the Oklahoma hotel tag-teamed with
Keith to deliver the festive drink with a note explaining that, “Since you can’t
make it to the party, we are bringing the party to you”.
Ashford / Remington 2009
“Can Do” Attitude Characterizes
Building Connections through a Cook-Off
Bryce, Sales Manager at Embassy Suites Dulles Airport, was
the Embassy Suites Philadelphia – Airport Mimi
invited to judge the 2009 Lafarge Chili Cook-Off . Mimi was honored
by the invitation as she has aggressively pursued Lafarge over the
past year, intent on growing its already significant contribution to the
hotel’s revenue. Her participation in the event was greeted warmly
by the client, particularly since her tie-breaking vote won first place
for the “Shrimp Chili” dish.
Director of Sales Bryan
Hermann is hopeful the
value of the relationship
may get a further boost from
President Obama’s stimulus
package in the coming months.
Mimi on the right at the Lafarge
Media Event for the
Mobile Sports Hall of Fame
There’s a new line-up in the sales department at the Embassy Suites
Philadelphia – Airport, and every individual on the team is committed
to winning. For example, the newest corporate sales manager, Andrew Martin, was working with ESPN sports on its baseball coverage
of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Understanding the value
of speed in closing contracts in the difficult economy, when he didn’t
get the ESPN contract back as quickly as anticipated, he jumped on
a plane to personally follow-up and returned from the trip to Florida
with a $50,000 signed contract in his hand.
Ronni Way, Special Group Sales Manager, is known as “Mr.
Consistency” at the Embassy because he always makes his goals. He
develops strong relationships as he understands the value of repeat
business and the power of a strong pipeline of future group business.
He attended the inauguration in January where working the crowd before the event netted business for the hotel that fit nicely with the over
$100,000 in group business he has developed through the monthly
e-blast specials sent to his database.
The two new Catering Sales Managers Elaine Haegele and Courtney Alleman kept their end of the revenue bargain by making goal in
their first full month on the job. Focused on the Labor Day weekend,
together they replaced a challenging soccer tournament with a regional
jazz festival hosted by Bill Cosby that is worth over $40,000 in rooms,
food and beverage for the four day weekend; additionally, they scored
big with a two year commitment for the event.
The optimism of Paul Williamson, Director of Sales, is understandable as the entire Embassy Suites team is functioning at full
throttle. Bringing experience from other hotels in the Philadelphia
market, Paul is proving that his keys to success will work for Remington. His strategy for a difficult economy are simple: stay close to
your customer, outwork your competitive set and surround yourself
with a motivated sales team. Helping achieve this well-oiled effort is
Administrative Assistant Deana Piva who is the glue to the office,
keeping the team organized and providing attentive customer service
to the clients when the sales team is out of the office.
VP/GM Jerry Galligan, who recently assumed oversight of four of
the Remington Embassy Suites properties, is confident that the team at
the Philadelphia Airport hotel is capable of leading the hotel through
the current challenging business environment.
Ashford / Remington 2009
It was announced in March at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Mobile
that standouts in baseball, football, golf and track — Terry Adams,
Buddy Aydelette, Beth Barry and Pat Galle, respectively left to
right — have been selected to the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame’s Class
of 2009. Director of Sales and Marketing J. W. Engblom explained
that it is fitting that the hotel
be selected annually for the
media event as their POD is
Baseball, and they market
the connection at every opportunity. The Class of 2009
represents a World Series
championship, two college
football national titles, 33
holes-in-one and 35 state
Social Media Draws Guests to One Ocean
As social media continues to evolve,
One Ocean Resort Hotel & Spa is
taking advantage of this universal
method of communication and
electronic marketing. With no financial resources needed to establish
a presence, the return on the investment is immeasurable, and the
relationships built with guests, future guests, writers and bloggers is
well worth the time invested to maintain the online presence. One Ocean joined the microblogging application Twitter early in
2009, and has quickly seen positive results from its daily “tweets.”
Though the 140-character messages are often used to share property
special offers, such as holiday dining, spa events or reduced rates, the
Twitter feed is also a valuable resource for sharing local information
that can draw guests to the destination. Numerous travel writers are
now followers of One Ocean’s Twitter feed and are planning to make
trips to the area to experience the resort first-hand. Facebook is also an important tool in One Ocean’s communications
strategy. The property has developed a loyal local fan base that
comments regularly on photographs and information posted. Many of
them become walking and talking ambassadors for the property, using
the Facebook page as a place to chat together, plan events or meet-ups
at One Ocean to share their great experiences. Page 7
Associates of the First Quarter, 2009
Below are the Remington and Ashford associates who were nominated by their peers as unique representatives of the
Company’s Five Guiding Principles: Ethical, Tenacious, Engaging, Profitable and Innovative.
Aristotle Del Rosario
Fixed Asset Accounting
Office Services Corporate Accounting
IT Project Management
Three Earn Honor of Associate of
the First Quarter
Sandra Fazal’s selection as Associate of the First Quarter will motivate her to continue doing her job to the best of
her ability, always aware that she is surrounded by a team of talented associates. It was difficult for her to select the
principle that inspires her the most. She favors “Tenacious”, “Innovative” and “Ethical”, believing they help her focus on
accomplishing her goals in a responsible way, always keeping the Company’s best interest in mind. Sandra takes pride in
meeting all her deadlines, using all available resources, ensuring accuracy in her projects and treating her coworkers with
respect. The downturn in the economy has inspired her to create new, more cost-effective processes in her department.
Responding to the news like any loving mom, Sandra’s mother said, “It’s about time!”
To celebrate, Sandra, her husband and 7-month-old baby will go to the beach this summer.
Anthony Garcia’s comments regarding his approach to the Guiding Principles reflect the way their existence influences
the culture of the Company: “Because the Guiding Principles exist, I have them in mind in every aspect of my job. They
make me think twice about my actions and keep me focused on our overall goal which is to succeed.” His favorite
of the five principles is “Innovative” because he feels he performs at his peak when he can create a new approach to
surmounting an obstacle – he looks for the quickest resolution that will give the biggest WOW to the customer and to his
Anthony was most excited about sharing his award with his parents, who have consistently supported and inspired him.
He will celebrate with a big MOJITO!
Naming his favorite Guiding Principle was easy for Sean Showers: he selected “Engaging” because as a chatterbox, the
principle comes very naturally. On a daily basis, Sean uses this skill to develop relationships with his peers, going out
of his way to interact with coworkers that are not a part of his daily routine. Sean agrees that all five of the principles
are effective tools of productivity as they direct the development of workplace skills as well as social skills. He finds
being named Associate of the Quarter is significant because it indicates he has made an impression across the corporate
spectrum; but for him, the letter from the CEO will be the icing on the cake.
Once again, Sean’s mother was the first person to hear the news of the recognition, not surprising when Mother’s Day is
so close. In a strange turn of events, Sean will be taking a co-worker out to lunch to celebrate HIS award.
Ashford / Remington 2009