Thursday, 18 May 2017

Appointments In Hospitality, Travel And Tourism

Matthew Kajdan appointed Executive Chef of The Westin Jackson opening early August 2017 in Jackson, Mississippi

Wischermann Partners is thrilled to announce the appointment of Chef Matthew Kajdan as Executive Chef for The Westin Jackson scheduled to open in early August 2017. Mr Kajdan will oversee Estelle, a modern wine bar and bistro, and the entire food and beverage operation at the hotel, reinforcing The Westin Jackson’s mission to boost travel and tourism in downtown Jackson.

Mr Kajdan is joining The Westin Jackson team after five years at Parlor Market. As the Executive Chef at Parlor, Mr Kajdan brought a new Southern menu with progressive ideas and local products in a farm to table atmosphere.

Mr Kajdan has been invited to represent the city of Jackson and Estelle Wine Bar & Bistro by competing in two upcoming regional culinary competitions, The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and the eighth Annual Mississippi Seafood Cook-Off.

“We are so excited to have such a distinguished chef from the Jackson community join our team and lead the opening of Estelle,” said Mike Burton, General Manager of The Westin Jackson. “This restaurant will really cater to the creative-minded individual and embrace Jackson’s Southern charm and local culture, while using only the freshest ingredients. We are confident that Chef Matthew will establish Estelle within the city’s thriving dining scene and offer a new foodie hotspot for guests to gather and unwind.”

Mr Kajdan was born and raised in Madison, MS where his mother and grandmother showed him the way around the kitchen. Growing up in a large European family, he developed a taste for gourmet cooking and fine foods.

“I am proud of what the team has built over at Parlor and will be looking forward to being good neighbors to them in the future,” said Mr Kajdan. “I am very excited to continue working in the Jackson community and sharing my love and passion for food in a new way at Estelle and The Westin Jackson.”

Previously, Mr Kajdan began his career at Bravo! Italian Restaurant under Chefs Louis Larose and Dan Blumenthal. Mr Kajdan then went to work in the kitchen of Nick Apostle, where his skills were honed over the next few years. He left his home state of Mississippi in 2006 to pursue a position in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.

Mr Kajdan worked at the historic Sagamore Hotel under great chefs, including Frank Esposito, Ken Lingle and Pastry Chef Bill Foltze. In 2008, Mr Kajdan moved back to his home state and returned back to work under his mentor Nick Apostle. In these years Mr Kajdan helped open the Mermaid CafĂ© as Executive Chef and eventually General Manager. He credits these years and Mr Apostle’s mentorship to his understanding of what it means to be a chef and how to run business without sacrificing ethics.

Strand Hospitality Services appoints Brittany Polensky as Director of Sales for the Microtel Inn & Suites Greenville, N.C.

Strand Hospitality Services and Greenville Hospitality Investments have recently announced that Ms Polensky has been hired as the Director of Sales for the Microtel Inn & Suites in Greenville, N.C. Ms Polensky will oversee the day-to-day sales and marketing efforts of the hotel, which is located within minutes of Vidant Medical Center and Brody School of Medicine as well as East Carolina University.

“I am thrilled to join the team at the Microtel Inn & Suites,” said Ms Polensky. “It is a wonderful property in a great location and I look forward to building relationships within the community and show them what we have to offer.”

Prior to joining the team at the Microtel Inn & Suites, Ms Polensky was the Assistant Store Manager at a fast-paced retail store in Greenville, N.C. As the Assistant Store Manager, she was responsible for working with the District Manager to train new staff, adapt sales tactics and meet monthly store sales goals. She also managed numerous store associates and managers.

“Brittany is a great choice to lead the sales department at the Microtel Inn & Suites,” said Allan Brunner, Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing for Strand Hospitality Services. “Her vast sales experience is sure to be an asset for the hotel and local market.”

Ms Polensky currently resides in Greenville, N.C.

Kevin Carey appointed as EVP, Chief Operating Officer of AHLA

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has announced the appointment of Kevin Carey as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. This newly created position marks a pivotal point in AHLA’s recent evolution and will ensure that the organization is well positioned to build new revenue streams and further enhance value creation for its 24,000-strong membership base.

Mr Carey comes to AHLA from American Express where he held senior roles in the company’s payments and business travel units. Most recently, Mr Carey served as Managing Director, The Americas, responsible for the largest strategic customers and revenue generating region in the global business travel joint venture company formed in 2014.

Mr Carey brings a breadth of experience across the hospitality industry gained through his service as a board and executive committee member in numerous travel and tourism industry associations at the national and state and local levels. He will be a significant addition to the AHLA team with a focus on growth initiatives to better serve the organization’s large and growing membership.

“Kevin is a highly respected industry executive and accomplished leader with deep commercial experience and long-standing relationships with US and global travel and hospitality companies,” said Katherine Lugar, President and CEO of AHLA. “He will play a critical role in providing strategic direction to grow AHLA’s membership, build new revenues and forge new strategic partnerships to propel our industry forward.

I’m thrilled to have him join our strong team and have every confidence that together we will further our growth and momentum. At AHLA we’ve worked hard to pave a new path, sharpen our focus and effectiveness and drive unparalleled value to our members and Kevin brings exactly the skillset and business background and will play a pivotal role in our future growth and success.”

“AHLA is the leading voice for the hotel industry and I’m thrilled to be joining such a strong and passionate team at this important time,” said Mr Carey. “Incredible changes are occurring in the lodging industry, as the industry landscape evolves and hotels invest in innovative new approaches to technology, guest services, loyalty programs and brand development and future workforce initiatives. I look forward to joining the dynamic AHLA team and working with Katherine to build on their many successes and guide the association to even greater heights in the future.”

Reporting to Lugar, Mr Carey will join the executive team and will oversee operations, member relations and sales, conventions and events, revenue growth initiatives, and will manage the affiliate Educational Institute. He will be supported by strong teams, led by Matt Maclaren, Kimberly Miles, and Shelly Weir, who will continue to play a pivotal role in developing and executing on AHLA’s future opportunities and growth.

“AHLA has transformed under Katherine’s steadfast leadership to represent a united industry with a powerful voice and vision.,” said Mark Carrier, AHLA Board Chair and President, B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group. “Kevin’s depth of experience in building strategic partnerships and growing and accelerating sales and revenue will be instrumental in advancing AHLA and our advocacy agenda. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have him join the AHLA team, and am confident he will play a significant role in driving the next phase of our growth and evolution.”

Mr Carey has a wealth of experience, spending more than two decades rising through the ranks at American Express. He began his career in public affairs and was a member of the company’s government affairs office in Washington, D.C. for six years before transitioning to a series of client management and sales leadership roles. Since 2016, Mr Carey has been consulting with corporations, private equity firms, and start-ups on payment strategies and online/mobile travel-related solutions. He also serves as an advisory board member at Johns Hopkins University and Penn State.

AccorHotels announces new general manager appointments

AccorHotels is pleased to announce the following new appointments in Australia:

Cleo Seaman has been appointed General Manager, Quay West Suites Sydney. Ms Seaman joined Accor in November 2002 as Food and Beverage Manager at The Como Melbourne before moving to Front Office Manager in June 2005. In June 2006, Ms Seaman commenced at The Sebel Melbourne as Operations Manager. She was appointed as General Manager at the Sebel Launceston in November 2006, before leaving AccorHotels to join The Establishment Hotel Sydney.

Ms Seaman returned to AccorHotels in June 2009 as General Manager at the Hotel Lindrum Melbourne and was General Manager at The Como Melbourne in September 2012. Cleo was most recently General Manager, Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour since March 2015.

David McDonald has been appointed General Manager, Pullman Magenta Shores Resort. Mr McDonald started with AccorHotels in December 2009 at Novotel Canberra as Director of Sales and Marketing and National Account Manager. He was then appointed as Director of Corporate Sales in January 2011 and Director of Sales and Marketing in the Hotel Integration team from February 2012.

In February 2013, Mr McDonald was appointed Director of Sales & Marketing for Accor’s Darling Harbour Hotels, before commencing his first General Manager position for ibis Darling Harbour in July 2014. He was most recently General Manager for Quay West Suites Sydney since January 2015.

Sam Panetta has been appointed General Manager, Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour. Mr Panetta joined AccorHotels in 2007 as Operations Manager for Accor’s Sydney Olympic Park Hotels and was part of the opening team of Australia’s first Pullman Hotel. In 2010, he moved on to Sofitel Sydney Wentworth as Executive Assistant Manager and was promoted to Hotel Manager in 2012. Mr Panetta was also awarded the AAA Property Manager of the Year in 2012.

He was most recently General Manager of Pullman Magenta Shores resort for 2.5 years since 2014. He has also held positions as Director on the Golf Board for the resort and as a Chairman of Central Coast Tourism Board.

Chris Naylor has been appointed General Manager, Ibis Styles Alice Springs Oasis. Mr Naylor commenced with AccorHotels in May 2003 and worked as Assistant Manager for Hotel Ibis Sydney Airport Hotel and Mercure Gold Coast Resort before leaving the company in October 2006. In July 2016 Mr Naylor returned to AccorHotels as Hotel Operations Manager at Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel. Prior to this he was Hotel Manager for Oaks Charlotte Towers Brisbane CBD.