HRM National Advisory Board
NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) was founded in 1986 and since grown to offer one of the largest and most respected hospitality programs in the world. The outstanding curriculum and experiential learning activities are supported by amazing faculty, dedicated alumni, and passionate industry partners.
HRM’s National Advisory Board brings together these different groups to ensure that the school’s curriculum stays on target with industry trends and that the extra-curricular and pre-professional programs are effective at assisting students in their career paths.
The National Advisory Board serves as the primary link between HRM and our alumni, friends, and the business communities by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information between those engaged in the hospitality industry and the HRM. In this way the curriculum, research, and service activities of the School will be informed by those engaged in the industry, and our industry partners will understand the HRM’s teaching, research, and service mission and accomplishments.
The goals and responsibilities of the National Advisory Board include raising community awareness of the need for private financial support within the School, advising the Dean and Executive Director on matters of concern to business and the community, and developing opportunities for business partnerships.
The National Advisory Board is comprised of the Advisory Board and our Industry Partners and Friends. Advisory board members commit to a high level of engagement with students, faculty, and staff, and bring experience with both the School and industry. Industry Partners and Friends are tremendous supporters of the School and give of their time and talents to ensure our students have a great experience and education.
NAU’s late President Emeritus Eugene Hughes was the master architect of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management Program. His service and contributions to the School and to its National Advisory Board changed the lives of countless students. His spirit and dedication to the School give cause to celebrate.
Jason Davis, Chair
Since his graduation from NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management in 2002, Jason Davis has worked for The Old Spaghetti Factory; he worked as a Department Manager and in 2010, Davis was named General Manager of the Year and is currently serving as the District Manager for the Midwest Region. Davis works with restaurants in Colorado, Missouri, and Indiana. He also oversees all college recruiting for The Old Spaghetti Factory.
He received a Master’s of Hospitality Administration from UNLV.
In addition to serving on the HRM Council of Industry Professionals, Davis coaches several youth sports and volunteers at his son’s elementary school.
Fred Reese, Co-Chair
General Manager, Little America Hotel-Flagstaff
Mr. Reese’s picture and biography will be coming soon.
Patty Ashbrook Accordion Closed
Patty Ashbrook, General Manager/COO
Patty Ashbrook, who was originally hired at Forest Highlands as an Administrative Assistant in the general and administrative office nearly 30 years ago, rose through the ranks–holding positions as Membership Coordinator, as Controller, as Chief Financial Officer, and in 2019 as General Manager/COO of the Club and HOA.
Ashbrook received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands and has a Master’s in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University. She also obtained the Certified Club Manager designation through the Club Manager’s Association of America.
Genessa Barnett Accordion Closed
Genessa Barnett, Area Director, College Experience at Hyatt
Genessa Barnett has been with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts for more than 15 years. In her current role as the Area Director of Colleague Experience, Barnett supports six full-service properties in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. She has also held various human resources leadership positions in Los Angeles, Chicago, Newport Beach, and most recently in Scottsdale.
In addition to serving on the HRM Council of Industry Professionals, Barnett is involved in the Junior League of Phoenix and leads the Arizona Women@Hyatt chapter.
Barnett received her Bachelor’s in Organizational Communications from California State University.
Jack Barz Accordion Closed
Jack Barz, Owner, Organ Stop Pizza
Jack Barz is one of the owners of Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, AZ. He started working there when he turned 16 and was hired as a dishwasher; Barz was later promoted to a department head while still in high school.
In 1998, Barz accepted a position with the Walt Disney Corporation at Club Disney in Chandler, AZ, and within a few months was promoted to Operations Manager.
In 2000, Barz returned to Organ Stop Pizza, where he was offered a percentage of the ownership group. In addition to the daily operation of the restaurant, Barz is the Marketing Manager and Human Resource Manager. He is also a member of the Mesa Convention and Visitors Center Steering Committee, is on the Advisory Board of the Culinary Arts program at the East Valley Institute of Technology, and as a member of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce is on the City of Mesa Government Affairs Committee.
He graduated from NAU with a Bachelor’s of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1995.
Hunter Carmichael Accordion Closed
Hunter Charmichael, Chief Operating Officer, MHG Hotels
Hunter Carmichael has served as Chief Operating Officer for MHG Hotels since 2017. He is responsible for the company’s overall operating strategy, for forging strong leadership capabilities, and for continuing the successful expansion for MHG in North America.During his career, Carmichael has served as the General Manager of ten different properties, as well as Regional Vice President of his prior company.
Carmichael graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management from Texas Tech University.
John Cauvin Accordion Closed
John Cauvin, Executive Board Member, Marketing Intelligence Committee
John Cauvin is a 30-year, multi-cultural hospitality-industry veteran and former President and CEO of Scottsdale, AZ-based Windmill Inns of America, Inc. He also served as Managing Director for Trusthouse Forte and has served as CEO of Lodging Unlimited–West, the West Coast partner to Lodging Unlimited Inc. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of Southern Oregon University for 10 years.
Cauvin earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel Administration from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, a Master of Science Degree from Cornell University Graduate School, and is also a graduate of L’Ecole Hoteliere of Lausanne in Switzerland.
Todd Davis Accordion Closed
Todd Davis, Board Chair, MoonshotAZ, Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET)
Todd Davis career includes roles as Entrepeneur, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SkyTouch Technology, Chief Information Officer for Choice Hotels International, and he now serves as Board Chair for MoonshotAZ at Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET).
Davis is a graduate of NAU with a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management. He also received the Franke College of Business Hall of Fame Induction 2019.
Michael Estrada Accordion Closed
Michael Estrada, District Manager, Ecolab, Northern Arizona District
Michael Estrada provides leadership and talent development to area associates while building relationships, innovation, and delivery results to customers and Area Sales. He works to hire, train and develop associates (SR, TR, ATR, SSDM, KARS) and is responsible for setting the tone of Ecolab culture. As well, he is responsible for driving inclusion and engagement and works to develop strategies to promote talented associates.
Michael demonstrates Ecolab’s consultative sales approach, leveraging hands-on service to enhance total value to the customer. While achieving sales budget through leading others and delivering financial expectation, Michael drives retention, growth, and gain in his district while leveraging performance trace to achieve budget objectives and goals. As a partner with Corporate Accounts, Sales Teams, and other Cross Divisions, he works to drive company strategy and promote new product launches.
Karen Favory Accordion Closed
Karen Favory, Director of Human Resources, Enchantment Resort and Mii amo Spa
Karen Favory joined Enchantment Resort and Mii amo Spa as Director of Human Resources in January of 2019. She oversees the HR department and responsibilities of recruiting, training, compliance and legal, compensation, housing, benefits and more. Karen has been in Human Resources for 17 years, she previously was the Vice President of HR for the Mission Inn and has worked for a number of years at various ski resorts and remote locations.
Karen received her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Supervision from Purdue University.
Kari Gfrorer Accordion Closed
Kari Gfrorer, Human Resource Manager, Jason’s Deli
Ms. Gfrorer’s picture and biography will be coming soon.
Jamie Hansen Accordion Closed
Jamie Hansen, Best Western International, Inc.
Mr. Hansen’s picture and biography will be coming soon.
Steve Hart Accordion Closed
Steve Hart, General Manager and Regional Vice President, JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Mr. Hart’s picture and biography will be coming soon.
Janella Hoffman Accordion Closed
Janella Hoffman, Hospitality & Tourism Management (HRM) Program Director and tenured Professor at Scottsdale Community College (SCC)
As the Program Director, she is responsible for the SCC HRM educational program, including the organization, administration, periodic review, continued development, and general quality and effectiveness. She assumes a leadership role in the continued development of the program, including procedures required by the accreditation review process. Program management specific duties include curriculum development, hiring, and evaluation of adjunct faculty, planning, and budgeting.
Janella has taught in the HRM Program for over twenty 20 years and her background in hospitality is in hotel sales and marketing. Janelle received her Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University and a Master’s degree from University of Phoenix.
Dr. Eugene M. Hughes Accordion Closed
Dr. Eugene M. Hughes, President Emeritus – Northern Arizona University and Wichita State University
Dr. Gene Hughes, an ex-officio member of the Advisory Board, had a career in higher education spanning over 40 years. All of his academic degrees were in mathematics and he taught mathematics at Kansas State University, Chadron State College and George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. His administrative experience was at George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Chadron State College, Northern Arizona University, Wichita State University, and Eastern Kentucky University. He served as president of Northern Arizona University from 1979-1993, of Wichita State University from 1993 to 1999, and as interim president of Eastern Kentucky University in the fall of 2001.
During his career at NAU, Hughes identified NAU’s niches as being the state’s premier undergraduate residential university. Research was to be focused on the natural environment of the Colorado Plateau and other selected areas. NAU continued to work closely with K – 12 school systems and developed close working relationships with community colleges. Significant efforts were devoted to working with Native American tribes and to enrolling Native American students. In addition, NAU moved to develop nationally recognized programs through its Center for Excellence in Education, the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and its Inn at NAU, NAU Yuma, the Tozan Kiln, the Southwest Forest Science Complex and through the NAU satellite and microwave television network, NAU-net.
A few of his notable awards include being named President Emeritus of both NAU and Wichita State, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at NAU, recipient of the Arizona Board of Regents Medal (1993), Flagstaff Citizen of the Year (1988), Outstanding Kansas Citizen of the Year (1998), and Distinguished Alumnus by the Nebraska Community College Association. Hughes was past chair of the national Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee, past president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and a member of the Advisory Board of Sunwest Bank. Hughes had also been commissioned a Kentucky Colonel and an Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska the highest honor that can be bestowed by those state’s governors. Gene and his wife, Margaret Ann, have a combined family of 6 grown children, 13 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
’54 AS, Western Nebraska Community College
’56 BS, Chadron State College
’58 MS, Kansas State University
’68 PhD, George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University
’97 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Northern Arizona University
’03 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Chadron State College
’11 Honorary Doctor of Laws, Eastern Kentucky University
Randy Kluge Accordion Closed
Randy Kluge, President, Drury Southwest, Inc.
Mr. Kluge joined Drury Inns, Inc. in June 1989 at the Drury Inn–Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Hotel located in Irving, TX. Over the next 11 years, he was the hotel general manager at a variety of locations; Dallas, TX, Troy, MI, Denver, CO, Cape Girardeau, MO and St. Louis, MO.
In October 2000, Mr. Kluge was appointed to the regional manager position located in Cape Girardeau, MO. He supported the hotel teams located in Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky.
Following the reorganization of Drury Inns, Inc. to Drury Hotels Company LLC in 2008, Mr. Kluge became the director of hotels at Drury Southwest, Inc.
Previous to his employment with the Drury Organization, he was a hotel general manager from 1984 to 1989 for Exel Inns of America, Inc. He managed hotels located in Cedar Rapids, IA and Dallas, TX.
Mr. Kluge is a member of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Executive Committee and Advisory Committee 2000-present. He served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce 2008-2011, serving as Board Chairman in 2010 and on the Executive Committee 2009-2011. Mr. Kluge also served on committees at the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth (TX) Hotel Association 1987-1989, Cedar Rapids (IA) Hotel Association 1985-1986 and Troy (MI) Chamber of Commerce 1991-1993.
A native of Wisconsin, Mr. Kluge attended the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). From 1980 to 1984 he served in the US Air Force with assignments at Lackland AFB (San Antonio, TX), Lowery AFB (Denver, CO), Duluth AFB (Duluth, MN), Incirlik AFB (Adana, Turkey) and George AFB (Victorville, CA).
Mr. Kluge resides in Cape Girardeau, MO along with his wife Kim and their children, Morgan (20) attending school at University of Missouri-Columbia and Grant (19) attending school at Southeast Missouri State University–Cape Girardeau. They are members of St. Mark Lutheran Church. He enjoys spending time with their families located in St. Louis, MO and Horicon, WI.
Mark Koehler Accordion Closed
Mark Koehler, Hotel Executive
Previously, Mark Koehler was the Vice President for Operations Finance for the Americas with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts for ten years. His history with Four Seasons has spanned over 30 years and has included positions such as Area Director of Finance, Director of Finance, and Controller. He has worked at properties or offices in Dallas, TX; Scottsdale, AZ; Boston, MA; Santa Barbara, CA; Philadelphia, PA; and Washington D.C.
Mr. Koehler received his BS in Hotel Administration from the University of Las Vegas and a Master of Professional Studies in Hotel Administration from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.
Andrew Kuntz Accordion Closed
Mr. Kuntz’s picture and biography will be coming soon.
Tammy Ledyard Accordion Closed
Tammy Ledyard, Realtor
To Tamara “Tammy” Ledyard, integrity is everything. She has experienced sales first hand and understands how important that relationship is – you have to be trustworthy, personable, energetic, organized, a go-getter, and very reliable. She is a self-starter, has endurance, and because of her experience as a manager and recruiter in the restaurant industry, she can handle high-stress situations and all kinds of personalities.
“Relationship Driven is my brand! We are working together, and I am available for my clients at any time,” says Tammy. “A buyer’s home is one of the most important investments in their life and no matter how long it takes I will find the best fit for you. I will be honest and transparent as a listing agent and will help my clients to market their home to get the best value in the least amount of time.”
Her goal is to assist buyers to find a home and neighborhood where they feel safe, happy, and a valued member of the community. Tammy will ensure each transaction is right for the client, and every interaction is resolved in the best possible way. She has been described as level headed, patient, a hard worker and a good listener. She doesn’t give up until she delivers.
A “naturalized” Houstonian with Southwestern roots, Tammy has called Houston home since 2007. She earned her BS in Business from Northern Arizona University (NAU) with an emphasis in Hospitality. Tammy is on the advisory board for NAU’s Hospitality Program and a big supporter of the University of Houston Hospitality Program and frequently invited to guest lecture at both universities. Having also been recently selected as a “Spotlight Alumni” at NAU, Tammy is very proud to be sharing her experience with the students who are just starting their post-graduate life and career.
Married to her junior high sweetheart, Matthew, together they have lived in Katy (Firethorne) since 2007 with their two teenage boys, Aidan and Noah. Their home is also full with three (yes three!) pups and their cat, Spotsies. Active in her HOA, Tammy was early on the “Activities Chair” for the community. “My kids jokingly tell me they know to behave when out and about in the neighborhood,” she says. “Because Mom knows everyone in Firethorne!”
Tammy loves traveling, reading historical fiction, tasting various wine and bourbon, and discovering new restaurants.
Paige Lund Accordion Closed
Paige Lund, General Manager, JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort and Spa
With more than 25 years of revered hospitality and hotel experience, industry veteran Paige Lund graciously embodies the spirit and tenacity of which it takes to be at the helm of one of Arizona’s most legendary and historic resorts, the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa.
Built in 1936, Camelback Inn became the treasured vacation spot for Bill Marriott Sr., and his family, until it was purchased by the Marriott Corporation in 1967, becoming the company’s first resort. To this day, the resort still remains as the favorite vacation respite for Bill Marriott Jr., and his extended family, and is considered the flagship of all properties across the company’s expansive portfolio of 7,000 resorts & hotels.
As General Manager of the 453-room award-winning resort that sprawls across 125 acres in the heart of Paradise Valley, Lund is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations including the resort’s six restaurants, two championship golf courses, full-service spa, 127,000-square-feet of meeting and event space, private memberships, retail and recreation and casita ownership.
Lund served most recently as General Manager of the 520-room Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, a member of the Marriott group, a post she has held since 2012. Lund was instrumental in transforming and re-positioning the Renaissance Phoenix into one that is recognized today, as a leader in the market and the throughout the Renaissance brand. She successfully led the property through multiple projects, while creating a distinct culture, improving hotel offerings and amenities, elevating service levels, maximizing revenue growth and increasing market share. As a result of Lund’s successful leadership, the Renaissance Phoenix earned several awards during her tenure that included BLT Excellence, Guest Experience, Talent Leadership and Hotel of the Year for the Western Region. In 2017, while in that role, Lund was promoted to Area General Manager where she oversaw and supported the Sheraton Grand Phoenix and Westin Phoenix, two notable downtown Phoenix properties.
In addition to multiple leadership positions within Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Lund also served as the General Manager of The Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix; Vice President of Lodging for The Canyons Ski Resort in Park City, Utah; General Manager of The Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa in Litchfield; and has served in executive level positions with Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, and The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa in Carefree.
Throughout her storied career, Lund has always shown a strong spirit and believes in giving back to the communities in which her hotels or resorts reside. In the past, she has partnered with and supported an array of local philanthropic organizations including HopeKids, Make-a-Wish, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Washington Elementary School District and the Ronald McDonald House to name a few.
Lund is actively involved in multiple Arizona hospitality and tourism organizations including Visit Phoenix Board of Directors, the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association Board, City of Phoenix Tourism and Hospitality Advisory Board, Northern Arizona University School of Hotel and Restaurant Management National Advisory Board, HopeKids Arizona State Board and is a member of AzLTA Women in Lodging.
Lund earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from NAU in 1993 and remains active in educating and developing the next generation of hospitality professionals by visiting the university and participating in a series of lectures and presentations throughout the year.
When she’s not interacting with her Camelback Inn team and the associates who are committed to delivering the personable and exceptional service for which the flagship property is known, Lund enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Tim Madden Accordion Closed
Tim Madden, Regional Manager, Oregano’s Italian Joint
Tim Madden has worked for Oregano’s Italian Joint as a Regional Manager since 2017. Originally from Rhode Island and completing his studies at the Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Adaptive Education. Teaching was an original passion that has transcended to Leadership and Management Development within his teams and restaurant business. Mr. Madden has been in the restaurant industry for over 12 years in the leadership capacity, growing several concepts such as Smashburger and the Black Bear Diner, both with Corporate and Franchise development, opening over 24 restaurants.
He has had a very good and successful relationship with NAU for the last several years, attracting quite a few graduates from the HRM program that still currently work as Managers in his Phoenix and Flagstaff restaurants.
In addition to his work life, Mr. Madden aides in another passion, coaching his son’s baseball team. What laid the leadership fundamentals he has today stemmed from playing and coaching the game he loves.
Michelle Mason Accordion Closed
Michelle Mason, EventPrep®, Franchise Owner
Michelle Mason (’92 HRM) Michelle is franchise owner and operator of EventPrep®, a cutting-edge full- service event planning and management company that plans unforgettable events and conferences, ranging in size from 10 to 10,000, for corporations and clients around the world. Michelle is a dedicated hospitality executive where she has worked globally with all major hotel brands during the course of her 28+ years in hotels, hospitality consulting, and the meeting procurement industry.
Michelle is a graduate of Northern Arizona University where she began her career at The Inn at NAU, including “Student Manager” for a semester, and earned her Bachelors of Science degree from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Michelle currently serves on the HRM Council of Industry Professionals and volunteers to assist students with professional development throughout the Franke College of Business.
Robb McCreary Accordion Closed
Robb McCreary, Hotel Director, Talking Stick Resort
Anne Niemiec Accordion Closed
Anne Niemiec, Hospitality Executive
Anne Niemeic has been the Director of Global Sales and Strategic Accounts with Choice Hotels International since 2017. Ms. Niemiec is responsible for the development and management of a nationwide sales team representing single and multi-unit entertainment venues across 86 locations, promoting group events to corporate and social clientele at portfolio of venues. Prior to moving to Choice Hotels International, she was recognized as Sales Leader of the Year from White Lodging Services and her team won Global Sales Team of the Year from Marriott International. As National Director of Sales for ARAMARK Parks & Destination, she supported a nationwide sales team representing lodges, cultural attractions, and conference centers.
Anne received her Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Northern Arizona University in 1992. She has earned the Certified Hospitality Administrator, CHA designation through American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Nicole Rosas Accordion Closed
Nicole Rosas, Director of Human Resources, Enchantment Resort
Nicole Cerfontain Rosas has been Director of Human Resources at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona since 2009. In this role, she works with leadership at the resort, spa, golf course, and corporate headquarters to ensure a supportive, fair, empowering, and engaging workplace for employees at all levels.
Ms. Rosas received her Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management from Northern Arizona University in 2003 and a degree in International Tourism Management & Consultancy at NHTV in Breda, Netherlands in 2003.
Amanda Saye Accordion Closed
Ms. Saye’s picture and biography will be coming soon.
Hans Schatz Accordion Closed
Hans Schatz, President and CEO of CULT Artisan Beverage Company
Hans Schatz has been the president/CEO of CULT Artisan Beverage Company, a custom coffee and brewed tea manufacturing and sales organization, since 2015. CULT is a craft beverage innovator, creator and manufacturer servicing the wholesale food service industry including hotels and resorts, restaurants and coffee houses, college and universities, business dining, caterers, and even food trucks. CULT recently entered the retail grocery sector becoming the bulk coffee supplier for Fry’s stores in Arizona.
Prior to his work with CULT, Hans was involved with 3 different technology startups in the food service space. As founder and CEO of the G8 Exchange, he created a platform designed to connect manufacturers with operators for the purpose of simplifying communication, streamlining information and providing a clear line of sight between them. That project lead to two other similar projects designed to bring relief to the food service industry by creating greater connectivity and transparency. Prior to that Hans spent 25 years in the food service distribution industry that lead to him being the Corporate SVP of the SGA Food Group (Food Services of America, Systems Services of America, Amerifresh, Ameristar and Gampac), a multi-billion dollar privately owned foodservice sales, manufacturing and marketing company (that group was purchased by US Foods in September 2018 for $1.8B). Hans grew up through the business starting as a sales rep and held various management positions leading ultimately to division president.
Hans also has been on various non-profit boards and industry associations as a leader, contributor in planning conferences and as a speaker and panelist (IFMA, IFDA, IMA, DMA, YPO, Life’s Kitchen, The Humanitarian Bowl and others). Hans is currently on the Advisory Boards of Kivasun Foods, Arizona State University Fulton School of Engineering TEM College, NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, and Sugarfire Grill which is a chef inspired BBQ chain out of Saint Louis MO. Hans attended LSU and Texas State University and has a BBA in Business Marketing and he resides in Scottsdale AZ with his family.
Dave Sherf Accordion Closed
Dave Sherf, Contract Partner at CHM Warnick
David Sherf has a broad range of experience in the hotel industry, including acquisitions and dispositions of both performing and distressed hotels, hotel development, real estate partnerships, management and franchise negotiations, hotel capital planning, asset management, and hotel operations.
Prior to joining CHMWarnick he was Senior Vice President of Hilton Hotels Corporation, responsible for Asset Management of the company’s owned and joint ventured $8 billion real estate portfolio. In this position Dave also functioned as Hilton’s general partner in roughly 25 jointly owned hotels and established and oversaw Owner Relations for 150 managed hotels. Dave’s responsibilities also included oversight of hotel retail shops and leases.
Dave also served as Senior Vice President of Managed Development for Promus Hotels, responsible for the development, joint venture, acquisitions, and franchising of Embassy Suites, Doubletree, and Homewood Suites.
Dave is a graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University and was formerly a CPA and partner with Laventhol & Horwath specializing in hospitality and real estate consulting. He is a Trustee and Vice Chairman of Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Dave sits on the Industry Advisory Council of NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He previously served on the Board of Advisors for the Collins College at Cal Poly Pomona and was an Executive in Residence at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. Dave is a former Councilman/Vice Mayor of the Town of Paradise Valley.
Rich Stark Accordion Closed
Rich Stark, Hospitality Executive and PHX Beer Co. Board Member
Rich Stark has a broad range of corporate and entrepreneurial experience in the restaurant industry including senior level marketing and franchising positions as well as creating and growing independent multi-unit restaurants.
As founder of the award-winning brewpub Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen, he evolved the original restaurant into multiple locations eventually merging into the newly created PHX Beer Co. Prior to creating and operating Central Kitchen, he was CEO for 14 years of Phoenix based Ziegler’s NYPD Pizza. During that time, he led the expansion from two to twelve Valley locations including two franchised Sky Harbor Airport restaurants. Rich has also served as the founding COO of Soupmasters Int’l, a multi-regional mall food court concept featuring all-natural soups, salads and sandwiches. Prior positions include Vice President, Franchising for Sbarro as well as Director of Licensing, Roy Rogers Restaurants (Marriott Corp.). He has also held senior level operations, marketing and franchising positions in service companies outside of the hospitality industry.
Rich earned his MBA from the Colgate Darden School, University of Virginia after graduating with a BS, Marketing from the University of Maryland. He resides in Scottsdale, AZ with his wife and most recent canine rescues.
Alexis Strizich Accordion Closed
Alexis Strizich, Business Systems Project Manager at M Culinary Concepts
Alexis has been with M Culinary since 2016 and manages the company’s SaaS applications which include Caterease, UKG-Ultimate Kronos Group, HubEngage, FoodTrak and All Seated. She is responsible for database structure design & implementation, user training, and maintaining data integrity across all platforms. As the community outreach leader for M Culinary, she works with several local charities to schedule volunteer opportunities for employees and their families to participate.
Alexis received her Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Northern Arizona University in 1992. She began her hospitality career as Catering Manager with Marriott Campus Dining at NAU. Before realizing software systems would be her career passion, Alexis held positions in several areas of the special events industry including Corporate Team Building, Event Furniture & Decor Rentals, and Event Management.
There are seven NAU grads amongst the Strizich family including husband Jeff and daughter Delaney who are graduates of the HRM program [1991 and 2019]. Alexis and Jeff also have a son, Brett who attends Western Washington University.
Nava Thuraisingam Accordion Closed
Nava Thuraisingam’s passion for hospitality stemmed from a very young age. He graduated from NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management in 2000 and was the General Manager of The Inn at NAU from 1998 to 2001. Nava is the Founder and CEO of Kind Hospitality, an Arizona-based hospitality group with a varied portfolio of restaurant brands dedicated to delivering the highest level of service and leading the industry in food-on-the-go to fine dining. Nava Thuraisingam embodies the essence of the American Dream and has an entrepreneurial spirit. This is evident through his company’s growth from one location to many across multiple states. His thoughtful, strategic planning and dedicated passion for serving others have advanced Kind Hospitality’s mission and development since its inception in 2005.
His over 20 years of experience in the restaurant and hotel industry earned him an induction into the W.A. Franke College of Business Hall of Fame in 2018. Nava has a servant’s heart and is proud to be involved with his community by participating on several nonprofit boards. He engages himself in service to others because he believes it is crucial to uplift the local community, especially supporting youth in pursuing education and their own American Dream.
When he is not engaging in service, Nava enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife Leticia and their two grown daughters. Nava is one of 14 proud NAU Alumni in his family.