Skip to main content
Our Team

Our People

At First Hospitality, we believe that great performance results from exceptional talent. That's why we have built a world-class team of service-oriented experts that use their extensive capabilities to power our platform and provide top-tier experience for our partners.
Meet the First hospitality Team

Our Leadership Team

David Duncan as Ceo
David Duncan
President & CEO
David Duncan as Ceo
David Duncan
President & CEO

As CEO of First Hospitality, David has over 25 years of global operating experience in managing high performing teams and in executive roles in both private and publicly held organizations. He coordinated over $10 billion of real estate and capital market transactions across multiple geographies and currencies. His experience ranges from fee-simple equity transactions to mortgage and mezzanine lending and complex joint venture and structured transactions.

David began his career in public accounting, consulting, and financial institutions before he found his true passion in the hotel and travel space. He has been immersed in the lodging investment and operating space for more than 20 years now. He especially enjoys harmonizing the right capital structure with the right real estate, branding, and operational solutions to optimize investor returns in lodging, and related investments.

His formative institutional experience was with GE Capital Real Estate, Guggenheim Partners, and Ernst & Young, LLC [in Los Angeles, Boston, Stamford CT, and New York]. Before joining First Hospitality, David served in executive roles at JC Resorts in La Jolla, CA and Denihan Hospitality in New York City. David received his B.A. from Western Michigan University, located in his hometown of Kalamazoo, MI. He was an adjunct professor in the Carroll School of Management, Boston College.

David is sought after for comment in leading publications such as Forbes, The Los Angeles Times, Lodging Magazine, and other industry publications. Additionally, he has made appearances on numerous television news programs. He is a frequent speaker at various real estate and lodging industry panels. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute Hotel Development Council.

David lives in Chicago with his wife Susan and their two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, mountain bike, ride motorcycles, and catch up with his three children. He is passionate about improving the lives of underprivileged youth and supporting research to cure Multiple Myeloma with the MMRF.

Stephen Schwartz as Chairman
Stephen Schwartz
Chairman
Stephen Schwartz as Chairman
Stephen Schwartz
Chairman

As Chairman, Stephen provides strategic guidance to the company and works with First Hospitality's partners to unlock the value of their hotels.

Stephen has more than 50 years of hospitality experience and currently serves on the Advisory Boards of Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt hotels. He founded First Hospitality in 1984 and has grown the company portfolio to 50+ hotels nationwide with revenues exceeding $250 Million. Throughout his career, he has successfully developed and financed more than $1 billion in hotel real estate. Also, he is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with Hilton Hotel Corporation and was inducted into the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2007. The firm has received numerous awards reflective of his innovative and creative approach to development and hospitality.

Stephen has been an active board member for several not-for-profit organizations, including The Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago, Midwest Board of the Weizmann Institute, a key sponsor of the Holocaust Education Program at Elmhurst College, as well as a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra Board (CYSO). He is married to his wife Terry and is the father of three children.

Roger Baker as CFO
Roger Baker
Chief Financial Officer
Roger Baker as CFO
Roger Baker
Chief Financial Officer

As the CFO, Roger is responsible for investment acquisitions and dispositions, property development, capital raising, and deployment. Furthermore, he works on finance, accounting, treasury, and administrative assignments for the company.

Roger is a proven executive and leader with over 35 years of experience in the real estate industry. Prior to joining First Hospitality, he served as Senior Vice President of Financial Operations for Trizec Properties Inc. and was a key member of their executive team. Roger has held positions in various real estate firms, including Prime Capital, a private commercial mortgage loan and balance sheet lender, Banyan Management Corp., a diversified group of real estate investment trusts, VMS Realty Partners, a diversified real estate investment and syndication firm, and the Equity Group where he contributed to their tax, investor relations, financial reporting, information services, acquisition, and disposition activities. Roger holds a B.A. in Finance and a B.S. in Accounting from Western Illinois University.

In his free time, Roger enjoys downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and being outdoors. Additionally, he's a father of three boys and helps support and administer various youth hockey programs in Northern Illinois.

David Feltman as General Counsel
David Feltman
General Counsel
David Feltman as General Counsel
David Feltman
General Counsel

As the General Counsel and a member of the First Hospitality Executive Committee, David oversees all legal and compliance matters for First Hospitality. He's responsible for examining and drafting IT, employment, real estate and vendor contracts, managing copyrights and trademarks, and preserving business records.

Prior to joining First Hospitality, David served as the General Counsel for Grand Vehicle Works, a large automotive chassis and body manufacturer in Highland Park, IL. Before that, he served as the General Counsel for United Homes Inc., a multi-state home builder and was a partner in Shefsky & Froelich, Ltd., a large law firm in Chicago. David's education includes a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and a J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.

In his free time, David enjoys spending time with his wife Edie of nearly 30 years, his son Zachary who lives in Denver, and his English bulldog, Maggie. Additionally, he was a youth and high school football referee for 22 years before becoming a high school football coach.

Sam Schwartz as President Of First Investors
Sam Schwartz
Principal
Sam Schwartz as President Of First Investors
Sam Schwartz
Principal
First Investors is the real instate investment management affiliate of First Hospitality, and has a 35+ year track record of delivering industry-leading returns on opportunistic investments in premium select- and full-service hospitality assets across the country. Sam has led and supported over $500M of hotel investment & development in his time at First Investors. Prior to his time in investments, Sam served as one of the opening General Managers of Hilton’s first-ever tri-branded property at McCormick Place, and before then served as Development Director over several award winning projects including the Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel and the Hotel LeVeque Autograph Columbus. In addition to leading First Investors Sam is a member of First Hospitality’s Board of Advisors where his portfolio includes strategic growth efforts and key corporate infrastructure improvements. He holds two engineering degrees from Northwestern University and brings a designer’s mindset to the daily challenges of building and running hotels. Sam is a member of the Hilton Garden Inn Owner Advisory Council and has been recognized as an Up and Coming professional by Hotel Business Magazine, a Thirty under 30 by Hotel Management Magazine, and a CRE Future Leader by REJournals. Outside of hospitality, Sam is passionate about promoting broad access to STEM education. He and his wife are happily raising a family and two dogs in Chicago.
Jason Segebrecht as Chief Technology Officer
Jason Segebrecht
Chief Technology Officer
Jason Segebrecht as Chief Technology Officer
Jason Segebrecht
Chief Technology Officer
As the Chief Technology Officer, Jason is responsible for the infrastructure, security, business, and financial applications, project management, data interfaces, vendor procurement, and hotel IT support for the entire organization. Starting with First Hospitality in 2017, Jason modernized First Hospitality IT infrastructure allowing for scalability, reliability, availability, and security for First Hospitality growth initiatives. Jason led a team in standardizing First Hospitality’s chart of accounts and reporting packages. Additionally, Jason is an active participant in First Hospitality’s hotel development projects. Jason has over 25 years of experience in the office, retail, multi-family, and hospitality real estate sector. Before joining First Hospitality, Jason was the Senior Director of Financial Application and Data Management for seven years, focused on Oracle HFM and JD Edwards financial applications, report writing, along with supporting users in the accounting and financial reporting departments. Jason has diverse experience in departments, as he’s worked in IT, database, financial application management, financial reporting, and accounting. Jason worked at Trizec Office Properties and Brookfield Properties, where he served in various roles. Jason holds a B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Business Administration from Monmouth College. Jason was a member of the varsity basketball team. In his free time, Jason enjoys hanging out with his wife and two daughters at sporting events, working out, playing basketball, hitting the links, reading, and barbecuing in his backyard.
Dan Smith as Executive Vice President Of Owner Success
Dan Smith
Executive Vice President Of Owner Success
Dan Smith as Executive Vice President Of Owner Success
Dan Smith
Executive Vice President Of Owner Success
As the Executive Vice President of Owner Success, Dan is responsible for establishing relationships and communication channels with the company’s owners and acts as the communication link between ownership and the various departments within First Hospitality. Additionally, he represents all of First Hospitality’s hotels concerning each brand’s product improvement plans, renovations, and any issues that need brand assistance. Moreover, he oversees the creation and management of the company’s capital expenses and works very closely with the Development and Renovations team. Dan is a hospitality veteran and has over 30 years of experience in the industry. Specifically, he has extensive expertise in all aspects of hotel operations and revenue generation. He has won several industry awards and has always operated hotels to the top of the brands’ performance metrics. He’s served in leadership positions as General Manager at several hotels including Holiday Inns, Hampton Inn & Suites, and Indian Lakes Resort. Also, he’s held several Director of Operations positions throughout the Midwest, in which he oversaw multiple Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and Hyatt brands. In his free time, Dan enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, fishing, traveling, and refurbishing old woodwork. Dan is happily married to his wife Yvette with whom he has five children.
Jerry Cataldo, Owner Relations
Jerome Cataldo
Owner Relations
Jerry Cataldo, Owner Relations
Jerome Cataldo
Owner Relations

In the Owner Relations role at First Hospitality, Jerry focuses on maximizing relationships built over many years in the hospitality industry, looking to expand First Hospitality's management portfolio and identify investment opportunities.

As President & CEO of Hostmark Hospitality Group, which joined forces with First Hospitality in 2023, Jerry's responsibilities included identifying acquisition, development and management opportunities for Hostmark and its investment partners and expanding business relationships with institutional owners and investment funds. After joining Hostmark in 1983, Jerry led information systems, operations and development departments as the company established a reputation managing hotels & resorts throughout the U.S. and in three countries abroad.

Jerry is a current member of the Board of Directors for the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, having previously served as president. He frequently speaks at conferences, industry events, and as a recurring lecturer at hospitality programs including Florida International University and Roosevelt University. Jerry also serves on DePaul University's School of Hospitality Leadership Advisory Council and formerly served on the Kendall College Les Roches School of Hospitality Management Advisory Board. He has a BS in Finance from Marquette University and an MBA from DePaul University. He was named 2018 Honorary Alumnus of the Year by The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University.

Away from the office, Jerry enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife, four children, and three grandchildren. He also loves traveling, classic rock music, and is an avid reader.

Chris Lorino as Senior Vice President Of Operations
Chris Lorino
Senior Vice President Of Operations
Chris Lorino as Senior Vice President Of Operations
Chris Lorino
Senior Vice President Of Operations

As Senior Vice President of Operations, Chris is responsible for the overall performance of First Hospitality's hotel portfolio in all key metrics. These metrics include top-line performance, bottom-line results, guest service, associate satisfaction, and the overall care and maintenance of the physical assets. Chris supports regional team members to provide support and guidance to the hotel team to maximize returns for key stakeholders, most notably First Hospitality's owners, guests, and associates. Additionally, he works with all of the divisions within the corporate office to ensure that First Hospitality's focus is aligned with their business needs and objectives.

Chris started his career at a young age by working in seasonal resorts where he grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. From there, he attended and graduated from The School of Hospitality at Boston University. Chris then spent the better part of 18 years working for Starwood Hotels & Resorts where his career took him to six cities and seven different Westin hotels. He then joined Provenance Hotels where as Regional Director he oversaw a small group of art-filled, independent boutique hotels. Most recently and before joining First Hospitality, Chris was Vice President of Operations for Sage Hospitality. During his four years with Sage, he supported a portfolio of up to 18 hotels in the independent, soft branded and branded categories.

In his free time, Chris enjoys traveling locally and internationally, especially to his wife's native South America. Chris has been married to his wife Marcela for 14 years and they have one son, Matteo. They live in the greater Atlanta area.

Jenna Fishel as Senior Vice President Of Commercial Strategies
Jenna Fishel
Senior Vice President Of Commercial Strategies
Jenna Fishel as Senior Vice President Of Commercial Strategies
Jenna Fishel
Senior Vice President Of Commercial Strategies
As the Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategies, Jenna oversees the Sales, Marketing & Revenue Management. She is instrumental in formulating strategies to grow the direct business, drive top-line revenue, and sustain profitability. Additionally, she creates and maintains strong brand relationships, participates in industry-leading events, and creates pipelines for revenue talent. She works cohesively with First Hospitality’s regional sales team to assure they are in line with RFP strategies, marketing plans, and group strategies. Jenna is passionate about creating a Revenue Generation culture at First Hospitality and has a proven track record of success in exceeding owner expectations on new hotel launches as well as the growth of stabilized assets. She enjoys creating processes and tools that create collaboration with the property teams to maximize the ideal channel mix. Jenna has been in the hospitality industry for more than 15 years. She has been part of the First Hospitality team since 2004, starting her career as a Guest Service Representative at an Ann Arbor property. She has served in various roles for the company, which include Corporate Director of Revenue, Regional Director of Revenue, and General Manager. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University. In her free time, Jenna enjoys watching the University of Michigan’s football team and loves spending time with her husband and two children.
Mirela Longoni as Vice President Of Revenue Strategies
Mirela Longoni
Vice President Of Revenue Strategies
Mirela Longoni as Vice President Of Revenue Strategies
Mirela Longoni
Vice President Of Revenue Strategies

As the Vice President of Revenue Strategies, Mirela oversees and guides revenue management for the Hilton portfolio within First Hospitality. Her department focuses on increasing market share and profitability for each of the hotels. Despite each hotel's differences, Mirela ensures that the revenue management team uses the same positive results through detailed analysis, a proactive market approach, and sophisticated pricing strategies to achieve desired results. Within her team, Mirela's goal is to always develop strong talent while fostering a culture of accountable revenue management.

Mirela has 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry, with 11 of those years spent in revenue management. Prior to joining First Hospitality, Mirela held an Area Director of Revenue Management role with Kokua Hospitality. Before that, she spent four years with Interstate Hotels & Resorts and seven years at TPG as the Area Director of Revenue. Mirela's hospitality career began in 2002, where she served as a Front Desk Agent at the Hilton Garden Inn in Evanston, Il.

In her free time, Mirela enjoys training for the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She is fundraising for the American Lung Association, where she hopes to raise $1750 to help them with the important work they do. Moreover, Mirela immigrated to the United States in the late 1990s after escaping the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is a proud parent to two girls.

John Brosnan as Regional Vice President Of Sales
John Brosnan
Vice President of Sales
John Brosnan as Regional Vice President Of Sales
John Brosnan
Vice President of Sales

As the Regional Vice President of Sales, John leads the full-service hotels' sales efforts by striving to generate top-line revenue through developing and executing strategic marketing plans. His responsibilities include working closely with the on-property Directors of Sales & Marketing, collaborating with and reporting to key executives on portfolio's revenue generators and formulating creative and unique selling methods. Additionally, he assists in achieving ADR goals, helps create marketing plans for new developments and assists in the transitioning of hotels to First Hospitality management.

John has over 15 years of experience in the hotel, restaurant, and convention center industry. Prior to joining First Hospitality, John served as the Senior Marketing Manager where he managed hotels in Santa Barbara and Beverly Hills. Before that, he worked at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants as a Senior Sales & Marketing Manager and as an Area Director of Sales & Marketing at OLS Hotels & Resorts. Additionally, he began his professional career as a Lead Financial Analyst at Hunden Strategic Partners, where he was responsible for over 50 hotel and mixed-use development projects. John holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Management and a M.S. in Hospitality & Tourism Management from Roosevelt University.

In his free time, John enjoys bicycling, hiking and exploring beaches with his two Pitbulls named Tank and Maya. Additionally, he's an ardent supporter of the LGBT community.

Christina Santarelli-Foster as Vice President Of Marketing
Christina Santarelli - Foster
Vice President Of Marketing
Christina Santarelli-Foster as Vice President Of Marketing
Christina Santarelli - Foster
Vice President Of Marketing

Christina Santarelli-Foster is a results-driven marketing executive with over 15 years of experience in lifestyle branding, experiential and digital marketing, and national partnerships. Christina has played an influential role in the hospitality scene and food & beverage industry in leading the wave of the next generation of leaders. She has garnered national partnership and has worked alongside national partners such as Bravo TV, Barilla, Food Network, PGA, Disney, Harley Davidson and American Girl.

In 2009, Christina led the opening of Hilton's first franchise brand, theWit Hotel located in the heart of Chicago, along with the hotel's two award winning restaurant and catering events marketing. With her passion surrounding food and beverage, in 2016, Christina joined Levy and previously was the Senior Director of Marketing & Communications leading Levy's brand vision and its portfolio of 200+ properties coast to coast. Ranging from Sports & Entertainment, Convention Centers and Restaurants, Christina truly believes that the power of food, beverage and hospitality is one to be celebrated and enjoyed by all.

New to the First Hospitality family as Vice President of Marketing, Christina is no stranger to what excellence in hospitality is and the spirit it brings to the table.

Mike Kuzmar as Vice President Of Revenue Analytics
Mike Kuzmar
Vice President Of Revenue Analytics
Mike Kuzmar as Vice President Of Revenue Analytics
Mike Kuzmar
Vice President Of Revenue Analytics

As the Vice President of Revenue Analytics, Mike is responsible for overseeing the Revenue Management teams and strategies for First Hospitality's full-service hotels. With a track record of success as a revenue team leader, he is responsible for helping individuals and hotels achieve their potential. Mike strives to create a culture of sustained success through process and innovation. He mentors his revenue team by providing them with the tools, training, and guidance to achieve desired outcomes. This blend of expertise and passion helps First Hospitality stand out as an industry leader in revenue management.

Mike has 21 years of experience in the hospitality industry, with the past decade primarily focused on revenue strategy. His oversight duties have included monitoring 16 brands from coast to coast within various urban and dynamic markets. Additionally, Mike has brand expertise and certifications with some of the industry's most prestigious brands, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG. Prior to joining First Hospitality, Mike spent over 20 years at White Lodging in various roles including Corporate Director of Revenue, Regional Revenue Manager, General Manager and Director of Services. Mike holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism from Purdue Northwest.

In his free time, Mike enjoys playing and coaching baseball, and traveling. Additionally, he's a proud husband and father of 2 sons and 1 daughter.

Heather Larison, Corporate Director of Revenue
Heather Larison
Corporate Director of Revenue
Heather Larison, Corporate Director of Revenue
Heather Larison
Corporate Director of Revenue

As Corporate Director of Revenue, Heather works directly with property revenue teams to analyze performance on all KPIs and to build strategies for improvement of RGI and growth within their respective markets. She also works with property teams to build and accurately budget and forecast for their hotels, communicating performance to key stakeholders.

Heather joined First Hospitality as part of the company's acquisition of Hostmark in 2023. As part of Hostmark's corporate team for over 15 years, Heather expertly oversaw property revenue teams, helping hotels maximize profit through a holistic approach that included eCommerce optimization, forecasting, and revenue and marketing strategy.

In her free time, Heather enjoys exploring the beauty of Tennessee with friends - either in the mountains on her UTV or on the lake.

Jason Hutcheson as Vice President Of Investments
Jason Hutcheson
Vice President Of Investments
Jason Hutcheson as Vice President Of Investments
Jason Hutcheson
Vice President Of Investments


As Vice President of Investments for First Hospitality, Jason assesses and coordinates the company's strategic initiatives, including underwriting acquisitions, raising capital, and evaluating sales across First Hospitality's national portfolio of owned and managed hotels.

Prior to joining First Hospitality, Hutcheson worked for AJ Capital Partners as an associate supporting acquisitions, developments, and capital markets for Graduate Hotels. Hutcheson also spent four years working for CBRE, most recently as a senior financial analyst supporting hotel investment sales in the Midwest. During this role, Hutcheson had the opportunity to work with clients that included Fortune 500 companies, REITs, and high-net-worth investors and his work received a Deal of the Year nomination at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in 2018. Hutcheson received a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a Masters of Business Administration with concentrations in real estate and leadership from Kellogg School of Management.

When not working, you can often find him running or biking along Chicago's lakefront trail.

Walter Peseski as Vice President of Business Development
Walter Peseski
Vice President of Business Development
Walter Peseski as Vice President of Business Development
Walter Peseski
Vice President of Business Development

As Vice President of Business Development, Walter helps First Hospitality strategically grow its management portfolio with new and existing institutional partners. In his role, Walter matches investment opportunities across chain scales and markets to clients' investment criteria. He also seeks assets that are mismanaged to present accretive change to ownership.

Before joining First Hospitality, Walter worked as a Senior Director at Aimbridge Hospitality where he worked on the Retention team responsible for connecting company managed assets with internal clients. He also served as the interim Head of Feasibility where he led the company-wide Feasibility effort. Prior to Aimbridge, Walter worked for Quorum Hotels for ten years where he was responsible for growing their third-party management portfolio.

Walter has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilkes University and a Masters of Hospitality with a concentration in Hotel Finance from New York University.

In his free time, Walter enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and daughter, volunteering with his church and community, exercising, and hitting golf balls everywhere except straight.

Aaron Riffe, Vice President of Business Development
Aaron Riffe
Vice President of Business Development
Aaron Riffe, Vice President of Business Development
Aaron Riffe
Vice President of Business Development

As Vice President of Business Development, Aaron Riffe is focused on sourcing third party management opportunities working with a range of investors including institutional funds, private equity platforms, family offices and individual investors through acquisition and new development.

Joining First Hospitality through the acquisition of Hostmark, Aaron has participated in the purchase or development of over $700 million of full service, select service and resort properties in all types of locations since 2008. Projects of note include the dual branded Hampton Inn & Homewood Suites West Loop (Chicago, IL) as well as the recapitalization/redevelopment of the dual branded voco & Holiday Inn Wolf Point (Chicago, IL).

Aaron holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Loyola University of Chicago and a Masters of Hospitality Management from Roosevelt University. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys experiencing new cultures, live music and Seattle sports.

Deborah Cooley as Vice President Of Accounting
Deborah Cooley
Vice President Of Accounting
Deborah Cooley as Vice President Of Accounting
Deborah Cooley
Vice President Of Accounting

As the Vice President of Accounting, Deborah oversees the Property Operational Accounting for the corporate shared services accounting team. She is resSan Francisco, Californiaponsible for directing and coordinating the external audits for the portfolio and ensuring compliance with accounting and industry standards. Additionally, she develops and maintains the company's policies and procedures, thereby creating a strong internal control environment, and provides analytics and operational support to the senior management team.

Deborah has over 20 years of experience in accounting and finance within the real estate and hospitality industry. Prior to joining First Hospitality, she served as Vice President of Accounting at Spire Hospitality for 5 years, where she oversaw the corporate shared services for accounting and acquisitions. Prior to Spire Hospitality, she served as Senior Vice President of Accounting for 13 years at Shell Vacations, an international timeshare company that was acquired by Wyndham Vacation Ownership in 2012. Deborah previously worked with Deloitte in their Assurance & Advisory segment for 8 years in the San Francisco and Chicago offices, where she specialized in manufacturing, distribution, and not for profit industries. Deborah holds a B.S. in Accounting from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California.

In her free time, Deborah loves to travel and explore places and restaurants with her spouse and three children. She is actively involved in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and can often be found proudly cheering for her kids at numerous sporting events. In addition, Deborah's fourth child is her golden-doodle dog.

Tanda Papadopoulos, Vice President, Corporate Controller & Treasurer
Tanda Papadopoulos
Vice President, Corporate Controller & Treasurer
Tanda Papadopoulos, Vice President, Corporate Controller & Treasurer
Tanda Papadopoulos
Vice President, Corporate Controller & Treasurer

As Vice President Corporate Controller and Treasurer, Tanda oversees the Corporate, Owner and Development Entities for the accounting team, as well as the Treasury function. She is responsible for accounting and compliance of the Corporate entities and leading the external audits. She supports the Owner and Development entities, provides oversight to all capital activity and is responsible for external reporting. Additionally, Tanda leads the Treasury function with direct oversight of accounts payable, new property onboarding and cash flow reporting.

Tanda has over 20 years of experience in accounting and finance within the real estate and hospitality industries and experience in public accounting. Prior to joining First Hospitality, she served as Senior Controller of the Timeshare Division at Shell Vacations/Wyndham Vacation Ownership. In that position, she oversaw $140M in revenue generated over 30 operating entities and provided accounting oversight, debt refinancing accounting and compliance, and operational support. Prior to her experience within the industry, Tanda worked at Deloitte in their Assurance and Advisory group servicing clients in the real estate, retail and financial services industries. She also worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in its Transaction Services Group focusing on buy/sell side due diligence and deal transactions. Tanda holds a B.S. in Accountancy from the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign and is a Certified Public Accountant.

In her free time, Tanda is a mom of three boys, and she and her husband can often be found at a hockey rink, baseball field or football field.

Travis Bowman as Vice President Of Learning & Performance Management
Travis Bowman
Vice President Of Learning & Performance Management
Travis Bowman as Vice President Of Learning & Performance Management
Travis Bowman
Vice President Of Learning & Performance Management

As the Vice President of Learning & Performance Management, Travis works to foster an engaging work environment and instills a people-centric culture that supports personal and professional growth while achieving best-in-class results. His responsibilities include sourcing and developing talent and identifying internal rising stars. Additionally, Travis serves as a coach and mentor by providing learning experiences for his peers in all aspects of hospitality management and leadership by collaborating with them to create and sustain industry-leading systems and processes. Moreover, he holds multiple certificates with Marriott, Hilton, IHG, National Restaurant Association, American Hotel Lodging Association, Predictive Index, Franklin Covey, and Leadership Inspired.

Travis is a seasoned industry veteran, with over 30 years of experience in hospitality. Before transitioning into his current role, Travis served as First Hospitality's Corporate Director of Training and was the company's Inner Circle award-winning General Manager during that tenure, an award given to General Managers based upon their property's flow-through, STR, Smith Travel RevPar improvement and rank, guest scores compared to brand, internal associate opinion survey, awards/recognition by the brand, and more. Prior to joining First Hospitality, Travis worked at White Lodging and Sage Hospitality and had multi-brand General Manager experiences in select and full-service hotels and restaurants as the Regional Director of Training and Recruiting. Before that, Travis was the General Manager of a Marriott Connect U hotel. Travis holds a B.S. in Organizational Management from Purdue University.

In his free time, Travis oversees a volunteer-based community garden, Drake Gardens in Chicago and has been in a partnered relationship for 15+ years. Additionally, he's the proud pet parent of an Italian Greyhound, is a member of the All Saints Episcopal Church, and rides horses whenever possible.

Christine Andrews, Vice President of People
Christine Andrews
Vice President of People
Christine Andrews, Vice President of People
Christine Andrews
Vice President of People

Christine Andrews is responsible for the overall direction of First Hospitality's People Services division. As a passionate advocate for First Hospitality's culture, she plays a pivotal role in championing the cause of being an Employer of Choice in the markets First Hospitality serves. She leads initiatives in talent acquisition, total rewards, diversity & inclusion, associate engagement, and associate relations.

Christine has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, most of which has been in Human Resources. Prior to joining First Hospitality, Christine lead the People & Culture division at Hostmark Hospitality Group for 28 years.

Christine received her bachelor's degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she majored in Hotel Administration and holds a Master's degree in Hospitality Management from Roosevelt University. She is an active member of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART), AHLEI's Education and Certification Advisory Council, and Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). She currently serves as an employer trustee on the UNITE HERE Heath Fund and Chicago's Hotel Employer Labor Relations Association (HELRA).

In her free time, Christine enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and two rescue dogs. Additionally, she enjoys watching football, hockey and college basketball with her boys, volunteering at her church, reading, traveling, and spending time in the outdoors.

Nick Johnson as Vice President Of Operations
Nick Johnson
Vice President Of Operations
Nick Johnson as Vice President Of Operations
Nick Johnson
Vice President Of Operations


As the Vice President of Operations, Nick oversees the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Louisville markets. His responsibilities include managing a mixture of full and select service Hilton, Marriott, IHG, and Independent properties. With over 12 years of hospitality experience, his responsibilities include overseeing an Area General Manager and has recently had a focus on opening new hotels, brand transitions, and management takeovers.

Before transitioning into his current role, Nick served as an Area General Manager where he oversaw 5 hotels in the Milwaukee and Louisville markets. Nick began his career with Marcus Hotels and Resorts at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, where he held various positions, culminating with Guest Service Director. Prior to joining First Hospitality, he was the General Manager of the Ridge Hotel in Lake Geneva and the Iron Works Hotel in Beloit, Wisconsin. Nick holds a B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from Iowa State University. He was heavily involved in campus life, as he was elected President of the local chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

In his free time, Nick enjoys golfing, watching college basketball, and spending time with his wife and their 3 children. His family enjoys traveling, seeing extended family, the holidays, attending his daughter's dance competitions, and swimming in the summertime.

Anthony Leitz as Vice President Of Operations
Anthony Leitz
Vice President Of Operations
Anthony Leitz as Vice President Of Operations
Anthony Leitz
Vice President Of Operations

As the Vice President of Operations, Anthony oversees a collection of hotels with oversight of multiple area General Managers. He is responsible for leading the execution of exceptional business standards concerning guest experience, operations, talent development, and financial performance to meet specific goals and achieve desired results. He also ensures all hotels meet brand standards by verifying that First Hospitality SOPs are being followed and executed. Anthony ensures that budgets and deadlines are fulfilled by establishing accountability and by engaging with all associates by providing supportive communication.

Anthony has over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has held two roles at First Hospitality before transitioning into his current role. He began his journey as General Manager for two different Hilton Garden Inn properties in Minneapolis and was promoted to Regional Director of Operations. Prior to joining First Hospitality, Anthony served as a General Manager for a Des Moines Hampton Inn and Embassy Suites in his hometown Minneapolis. Anthony holds a B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management from Iowa State University.

In his free time, Anthony enjoys watching baseball, spending time with his family at their cabin in Iowa, and golfing with friends. He has been married for over a decade to his wife, Samantha. They have two incredible little girls.

Geri Lombard
Geri Lombard
Regional Vice President of Operations
Geri Lombard
Geri Lombard
Regional Vice President of Operations

As Regional Vice President of Operations, Geri oversees several properties, providing support to General Managers to maximize hotel performance and meet or exceed First Hospitality metrics. Her responsibilities include supporting operational management, ensuring compliance to brand standards & regulations, meeting short- and long-term financial goals, and communicating with hotel ownership.

Prior to joining First Hospitality's corporate office, Geri worked for Marriott International in several positions.  Most recently as General Manager in the Columbus, OH market at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown.  She joined First Hospitality as the General Manager at Hotel LeVeque, an Autograph Collection hotel. Geri's tenure in the hospitality industry spans many different brands, including select-service, extended stay, and premium lifestyle brands, and she has experience in large markets such as New York, Boston and Chicago in addition to her expertise on the Columbus area. Geri received a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Marketing from Johnson & Wales University. She currently sits on the Board for the Franklin County Convention Center as the chair of the operations committee and serves on the executive committee of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association. She is a founding member of Ohio's Women in Lodging Group. 

Jay Schumerth, Vice President of Operations
Jay Schumerth
Vice President of Operations
Jay Schumerth, Vice President of Operations
Jay Schumerth
Vice President of Operations

As Vice-President of Operations, Jay serves works closely with the General Managers of his assigned hotels to maximize hotel performance. Jay collaborates with all of the various disciplines within First Hospitality to maximize this performance. He also serves as the liaison with the hotel owners to communicate hotel performance, franchise-related information, and property needs.

Jay joined First Hospitality as part of the acquisition of Hostmark Hospitality Group in late 2023. Jay served as Vice President of Operations with Hostmark for 6 years and prior to that was an area General Manager with Hostmark in Appleton, WI. Jay was honored with the Chairman's Award from Hostmark in 2020 in recognizing his contributions to the corporate team. Jay currently serves as chair of the WI Hotel Lodging Association and has been a board officer for 4 years. Jay was recognized as the 2022 WHLA Corporate Champion for his contributions to the organization and industry. Previously Jay has served as Chair of the Fox Cities CVB and Appleton Downtown, Inc. with several award recognitions in those positions.

Jay is married with 2 grown children and an energetic 2 year old Golden Retriever. When not working, Jay enjoys spending time playing golf, especially with his son, and spending time at his lake house in Northern Wisconsin.

Danny Py as Vice President Of Food & Beverage
Danny Py
Vice President Of Food & Beverage
Danny Py as Vice President Of Food & Beverage
Danny Py
Vice President Of Food & Beverage
As the Vice President of Food & Beverage, Danny is responsible for growing the company’s restaurant and bar portfolio and improving the operational excellence of the food and beverage department for all First Hospitality properties. Additionally, he ensures fiscal responsibility to the division and supports the properties by crafting smart and sound business decisions. Danny is a seasoned industry veteran with over 29 years of hospitality food and beverage experience. Prior to joining First Hospitality, he served as the Corporate Director of Operations at the Richardson Group in South Carolina. Before that, he was the Corporate Director of Food & Beverage for the Kessler Collection Hotel Group. During his time at Kessler, he oversaw the Food & Beverage programs of 11 hotels. In his free time, Danny is all about spending quality time with his family. Danny’s family is an outdoor one that enjoys sailing, competitive shooting, blue water fishing, hiking, and exploring. He wants his two boys to have a 360-degree view of the world and have well-rounded experiences in their education and future careers.
Richard Letko as Regional Director Of Operations
Richard Letko
Regional Director of Operations
Richard Letko as Regional Director Of Operations
Richard Letko
Regional Director of Operations
As Regional Director of Operations, Richard oversees several properties across multiple states. He supports General Managers in their development of strategies and tactics to meet or exceed First Hospitality metrics. He is responsible for supporting the clinical management of operation, property short- and long-term financial goals and performance, compliance to brand standards and regulations, guest service excellence, and finding and developing talent. Richard works with general managers development and growth opportunities. He also ensures that budgets are completed and submitted in accordance with schedule. Richard has over 26 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has been GM/F&B Director for full-service Radisson and IHG convention center hotels, along with GM for select and extended stay hotels. He started with First Hospitality as General Manager for the Hilton Garden Inn, and then transitioned to Area Director of Operations and currently Regional Director of Operations. He has worked with numerous brands like Hilton, Marriott, IHG, Radisson, and Extended Stay American during his career. Richard graduated with a B.S in Business Management from University of Georgia. Home of the DAWGS. In his free time, Richard enjoys, spending time with his family, going boating, watching football, riding his Harley, and socializing with friends. He is married to a wonderful and supportive woman, Deana Letko who is also in the hospitality business. They have 2 wonderful kindhearted girls with the last one going to IU (Empty Nesters).
Chef Tiffany L. Sawyer as Corporate Director of Culinary & Beverage
Chef Tiffany L. Sawyer
Corporate Director of Culinary & Beverage
Chef Tiffany L. Sawyer as Corporate Director of Culinary & Beverage
Chef Tiffany L. Sawyer
Corporate Director of Culinary & Beverage

As the Corporate Director of Culinary & Beverage, Tiffany is responsible for growing the company's restaurant and beverage programs and portfolio, as well as improving the operational excellence of the food and beverage department for all First Hospitality properties. Additionally, she ensures fiscal responsibility to the division and supports the properties by crafting smart and sound business decisions.

Tiffany is a seasoned Chef & Beverage veteran with over 34 years in the food & beverage industry spending much of her career designing and opening dozens of hotels, restaurants, and cruise ships. She has experience working with first-class worldwide companies including Walt Disney World, Gaylord Entertainment, Alexandria Group, Destination Hotels and GoldKey Hospitality.

In the years just prior to joining First Hospitality, Tiffany was the Corporate Executive Chef for Kessler Collection's. During her time at Kessler, she oversaw the Food & Beverage programs of 13 hotels.

In addition to running her own consulting firm for over 5 years with clients in the United States, South America, Caribbean, Canada, Europe, and Asia, Tiffany's résumé also includes credentials as a Level 1&2 Sommelier, member of the Escoffier Society, Silver Medal at the 1993 Culinary Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Gold medalist in the Dallas Culinary Society for FSM Competition, Cooking at The James Beard House, and winning chef at the Culinary Classic World Cup.

In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys skydiving, rock-climbing, B.A.S.E jumping, kayaking, white water rafting, hang gliding, hiking, snow & water skiing, race car driving, mountaineering, traveling all over the world and flying single-engine planes. Tiffany is also an award-winning cyclist and tri-athlete. Tiffany also volunteers for Florida Eco Club and Habitat for Humanity of Central Florida.

Tom Dunklin, Corporate Director of Food & Beverage
Tom Dunklin
Corporate Director of Food & Beverage
Tom Dunklin, Corporate Director of Food & Beverage
Tom Dunklin
Corporate Director of Food & Beverage

Joining First Hospitality in 2023 as part of the Hostmark acquisition, Tom oversees restaurant operations throughout the portfolio. He also helps lead concept development and upcoming new restaurant openings in the United States and the Bahamas.

As a New Orleans native, Tom's passion for food and hospitality started at a young age, assisting his grandfather, a chef, with crawfish boils and backyard BBQs. His extensive experience in the culinary world prior to joining First Hospitality includes Sous Chef at Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans and Executive Chef at Red Star Tavern, Three Degrees and B&O American Brasserie. Tom moved into the hospitality side of food & beverage as the Director of Culinary Programs for Kimpton Restaurants & Bars before opening his own venture with The Waiting Room in Portland, OR. After a five-year run and numerous accolades for the restaurant, Tom joined Hostmark Hospitality Group as the Corporate Director of Food & Beverage.

Outside of work, Tom enjoys teaching his sons about gardening, the importance of local, seasonal produce and how to cook it. He also enjoys snowboarding, hiking, and traveling.

Justin Kaminski, Director of Investments
Justin Kaminski
Director of Investments
Justin Kaminski, Director of Investments
Justin Kaminski
Director of Investments

As Director of Investments for First Hospitality, Justin supports all phases of the acquisition process, including underwriting, conducting due diligence, and supporting capital raising efforts as First Hospitality expands its national portfolio of hotels.

Prior to joining First Hospitality, Justin spent time as a Director with Cushman & Wakefield's Valuation and Advisory practice specializing in hospitality and gaming. Justin also spent over five years with HVS Consulting & Valuation, as a licensed Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, working on market and financial feasibility studies, product/brand recommendations, and the valuation of hotel, motel, resorts, and mixed-use developments. During this time, Justin has valued and consulted on billions of dollars of various hospitality assets for commercial banks, investment banks, and private investors/developer, among others. In addition to his valuation and advisory experience, Justin has over five years of hotel and food and beverage operational experience including revenue management. Mr. Kaminski received a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality & Tourism Management with a concentration in Finance from Purdue University.

In his free time, Justin loves to watch sports and go golfing, bowling, snowboarding, or anything active. Additionally, Justin loves to travel with his wife Kara, and do anything and everything with their dog Teddy.

Emma Dietz, Investment Associate
Emma Dietz
Investment Associate
Emma Dietz, Investment Associate
Emma Dietz
Investment Associate

As an Investment Associate with First Investors, Emma supports all phases of the acquisition process, including investment analysis, underwriting, conducting due diligence, and supporting capital raising efforts as First Hospitality expands its national portfolio of hotels.

Before joining First Hospitality, Emma previously worked at HREC Investment Advisors for several years, providing investment banking analysis and support for the brokerage service division. At HREC, Emma facilitated the sale of hotel properties from valuation to closing, conducting the valuation of properties valued at more than $6 billion in aggregate and closing on $300 million.

Outside the office, Emma loves to cook and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and skiing. She also loves to travel, and has lived in seven different states.