Das Haus Studios
Leslie Riddoch, founder of Das Haus Studios, is a beginning-to-end designer of both architecture and interior design who takes a wide view of the BIG picture. She has created concepts for major hotels, and is a member of AIA, ASID, and NCARB.
Leslie inherently understands that the client is the single most valuable asset an organization can have and is driven by the unrelenting pursuit of client-driven focus, ideals and experiential design. Leslie’s aptly named design firm, Das Haus Studios, is where she connects clients to their vision and ideas with a hands-on approach to design, ideation, and project delivery.
Smita Sahoo, former Design Director, Vice President at CannonDesign, Commercial & Hospitality Interiors, a uniquely creative voice in the design profession, informed by a diverse background in architecture, interior design and environmental psychology, I thrive on designing spaces that strengthen our emotional connection to the places we live, work and play. I have worked across the world and excelled at guiding organizations through the entire design process from programming and concept design through to the day people spend their first night. Having worked with many top brands and developers around the country, I am adept at working with clients’ brands standards, visions, value propositions, budgets, schedules and business goals, while breathing new life into them, making them feel fresh and exciting.
Director- Design + Sustainability
American Hotel Register Company
Deidre Schwartz’s career has spanned across insurance, residential kitchen design, senior living development, hospitality design/procurement and now corporate social responsibility. The title of her master’s thesis was: “Pushing a rock uphill: Corporate sustainability effectiveness without top leadership advocacy”. Leading the trail on this firsthand at American Hotel Register, she knows a little about overcoming obstacles and influencing for change.
As a 25-year veteran in interior design, she is aware the essential role that designers play in creating a sustainable environment. It starts with early education and design thinking in a systems framework that will take us toward a better life for all. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are more aptly called the “Good Life Goals” and we all play a part.
American Hotel has successfully diverted hundreds of tons of waste from the landfill over the past several years, lessened its carbon footprint through creative transportation strategies and works with suppliers to mitigate social and environmental risks along their collective supply chain. Deidre is a founding board member of Soap Aid, Inc., which is a USA registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization that works with hotels to collect their waste soap and recycle it to new hygienic soap that is distributed to global communities in need.
Deidre and her husband, Michael, have 3 border collies, enjoy road trips, back-country hiking, and live in Prescott, AZ.
VP Design & Procurement
Host Hotels & Resorts Inc.
Helen Jorgensen, VP Design & Procurement, is responsible for strategic sourcing and design management for Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. an S&P 500 company and is the largest lodging real estate investment trust and one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels. As part of Host’s disciplined approach, Helen is accountable for maximizing the value in design management and execution including the strategic management of the FF&E for the portfolio. As a hospitality leader, she developed one of the first hospitality strategic partnership programs to drive reimagined hotel designs and value, of which several renovation projects received design awards and recognition. She holds a BS degree, Business Management and Mass Communications, Towson University Maryland, and received a Certificate of Graduate Studies Administration and Management from Harvard. She is a LEED Accredited Professional and has held several board positions with the Washington DC chapters of the ISM and NEWH. She is currently an advisory board member for Hospitality Design magazine and is a 2018 Hospitality Design Magazine’s Platinum Circle Inductee.
B+H Advance Strategy
Kelly is an Interior Designer at B+H Advance Strategy. As a local alumna, she has practiced design for seven years in the Seattle area, specializing in hospitality. She has been involved in a range of renovation and new build projects specializing in hospitality, multifamily and corporate, allowing her to bring her attention to detail from design phases thru construction. She is a self-motivated and passionate individual, diving into issues from the viewpoint of a designer and creating meaningful green solutions. Earning the Hospitality Design New Professional Award in 2014, Kelly has continued to show leadership through her local NEWH chapter Board of Directors for the past six years. As an active member of the NEWH Northwest chapter, Kelly currently serves on the board as VP of Development.
Prior to joining B+H, Kelly began her career during the recession working a variety of positions ranging from ticket sales in sport management to sales support manager for a local furniture representative. Finally landing as an interior designer at another local firm, Kelly found her passion for hospitality design. She holds her BA in Interior Design from Washington State University where she was a proud member of her sorority Sigma Kappa.
In her spare time she prefers to opt outside adventuring in the Pacific Northwest wonderland with her husband and son. Enjoying adventures with friends, wine tasting, seeking out new restaurants, and weight lifting.
Aline Architecture Concepts
With a philosophy rooted in sustainability, Brian Laubenthal designs healthy spaces that are in harmony with their environment, bringing a heightened awareness to even the simplest of projects. His love for eco-conscious architecture was instilled at a young age, leading to a career in commercial, residential and hospitality design. A LEED Accredited Professional and an Associate of the American Institute of Architects, Brian earned his Bachelor of Science in architectural studies from the University of Michigan before completing a Masters of Architecture at Arizona State University. Motivated by a passion for design and an obsession with organization, Brian feels a strong desire to help people and the environment. Brian volunteers his time to mentor high school students interested in architecture, works with local non-profit groups to help shape our community, developed eco-friendly classrooms with the green school house series and involved in his church’s continued growth and master planning. He has a strong belief in live work balance making time to coach his boys’ soccer teams, taking them to construction sites, and spending time with his amazing wife.
MJ Galetka is an interior designer with NELSON in Minneapolis. She recently graduated from UW-Stout where her she discovered her passion for sustainable design. Currently she holds a LEED Green Associate certification and will be taking her WELL AP exam this summer. Along with those certifications, MJ leads wellness and sustainability efforts at her local office to ensure designers are aware of the newest research regarding sustainable design and wellness. MJ believes that sustainable design should be incorporated into every project and that designers should think about their environmental impact daily.
Peter Harrison is an interior designer at ZGF with a passion for sustainable and regenerative design. Instilled from his Pacific Northwest location, his LEED AP ID+C, Living Future, and Fitwel credentials support these values. Peter’s project experience includes a breadth of design work including healthier material research on project types including aviation and transportation. With a deep dedication focused on the next generation of commercial interior designers, Peter serves on the IIDA Oregon Board of Directors where he advocates for and supports students, educators, and emerging professionals. Peter holds a Bachelor of Interior Design with a Landscape Architecture minor from Utah State University.
Brittany H. Johnson, CID
Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc.
Brittany is an interior designer with over a decade of experience working on a variety of project types, including hospitality, gaming, restaurant, and corporate offices with Cuningham Group. As a dynamic team member, she helps to ensure design integrity and quality control throughout the duration of a project, as well as a valuable resource for her clients. Brittany supports Cuningham’s core value that it’s a responsibility of our profession is to incorporate wellness and sustainability into all our projects. The wellbeing of the building’s occupants and our impact on the environment are an extremely important to our teams.
President & Chief Sustainable Officer
Valley Forge Fabrics
Diana Dobin is President & Chief Sustainability Officer of Valley Forge Fabrics, the largest decorative textile and textile products supplier to the Hospitality industry worldwide. A family owned business, Dobin is 2nd generation leadership and partners with her brother Michael. Valley Forge is headquartered in South Florida and Massachusetts and respected for its environmental stewardship, agility, speed and adaptability to each customer.
Diana is also co-founder of WeaveUp, a technology start-up that was originally developed to connect artists to the specifiers and buyers in the hotel industry in order to put customization of textiles into the hands of Valley Forge customers. The WeaveUp customization tool allows users to select and sort through a library of ever growing designs; customize color, size and repeat; and place orders of their choice from 25 different fabric qualities – in just a few clicks. Protecting and celebrating authorship, artists retain ownership of all their IP and get commission against sales. WeaveUp was launched originally to the trade only, but was released to consumers in Q3 2015.
With 20 years’ experience, Diana’s present responsibilities include company strategy, sustainability, mentorship and design & brand leadership.
Diana is a LEED Accredited Professional who is also very active in educating her community on a regular basis in the areas of business, innovation, creativity and environmental sustainability. Former Board member of The Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreurship at Cornell and Former Board member of Sustainable Florida. She graduated from Lafayette College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English & Psychology. Diana loves yoga, art & fashion, journeys to unfamiliar destinations, and enjoying time outdoors with her family.
Studio 11 Design
Stacy Elliston co-founded Studio 11 Design with the ambition to create a boutique firm where the principals could be involved in every aspect of the design process. With an affinity for maintaining budgets and adhering to timelines, she draws on three decades of diverse experience working with clients such as MGM Mirage, Marriott, Starwood, IHG, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and more. Most recently, Stacy led the firm’s completion of Vermont’s historic Equinox Resort: Luxury Golf & Spa Resort in Manchester, VT and the debut of The Daytona, Autograph Collection in Daytona, Florida. Stacy’s multidisciplinary design repertoire and a rich network developed throughout the years have supported the firm’s grow by leaps and bounds. Founded in 2011, Studio 11 Design has experienced continued success over the years with 2019 marking the firm’s most impressive year of growth to date under Stacy’s diligent leadership.
Assistant Professor and Intership Coordinator
Amanda Gale, PhD is an assistant professor and Internship Coordinator in the Department of Interior Architecture at UNC Greensboro. She is a WELL AP, LEED AP, and NCIDQ certificate holder. Amanda teaches upper level studios and coursework in lighting design, research methods, and sustainable design, and has mentored over 125 students to earn their LEED Green Associate. Her research is focused on sustainability issues and career preparedness.
Brennan Broome, LEED Green Associate, is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and designer living and working in Miami, Florida. Brennan holds a BFA in Intermedia from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Master’s of Interior Architecture from Florida International University. He is one-half of design duo Raneytown, and is a Designer at EoA in Coral Gables, Florida. His work has been featured in Interior Design Magazine, Interiors + Sources, AD Pro, and the Wall Street Journal. Brennan was the winner of NEWH’s Green Voice Design Competition in 2019.
Jonathan Butler-Knutson, NCIDQ, LEED Green Associate, is an interior designer with BKV Group, with experience in the areas of Multifamily Housing, Senior Living, Hospitality, Corporate, and Government environments. He now focuses on government design and senior living and affordable housing apartments creating dynamic and timeless facilities. With over 30 projects in the aforementioned project types as a young professional, he is tracking to be an expert in these sectors within the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. Beyond his role at BKV Group he sits on the board of IIDA Northland’s Chapter as the Vice President of Professional Development elevating members experience by providing continuing education opportunities
Julia is an Interior Designer that specializes in the design and installation of functional, ergonomic and inspired work spaces. She has designed a multitude of spaces in areas including, but are not limited to: corporate, retail, healthcare, education, government and hospitality. Her design firm is also a Herman Miller dealer where she provides problem-solving designs that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In 2019 she achieved WELL AP certification demonstrating extensive knowledge in creating buildings and communities that define health and wellness for people and that meet the 10 concepts of WELL building standards (Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community).
Julia graduated magna cum laude from Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design and a minor in Marketing. While attending she was the recipient of NEWH, Inc.’s 2018 scholarship where she attended the Chicago chapter’s awards ceremony. She also studied design abroad for a semester her Junior year at Kent State living in Florence, Italy and was able to travel around Europe.
Julia is passionate about designing environments that meet client needs, that are sustainable and provide wellness for others.
Sarah Beteag, EID
Gensler Atlanta Hospitality Studio
Sarah Beteag is an interior designer in Gensler Atlanta’s hospitality studio where she focuses on retail, food and beverage, and hospitality projects. Inspired by creative design solutions, Sarah develops interior concepts from finishes to fixtures and establishes a high standard for the quality of materials and installation of a project. Most recently she has been an integral part of the interiors team for multiple Great Wolf Lodge Resorts, bringing the client’s vision of a modern mountain lodge experience to life.
An active member of the NEWH Atlanta chapter, Sarah currently serves on the board as the Continuing Education chair and participates in community outreach initiatives. She serves on multiple internal committees at Gensler including University Outreach, Mentorship, and GenslerTalks!, a panel series of local industry experts focused on the next generation of innovative ideas. Sarah holds a BFA in Interior Design from Georgia State University and is a Registered Interior Designer in the state of Georgia.
Tracey Bush, RID
Senior Associate, Director of Business Development
LEO A DALY
Tracey Bush is a veteran of the hospitality industry, with more than 20 years of experience under her belt. She has been an NEWH member since 1996, served on the Dallas Chapter Board of Directors from 2004-2007 and was Treasurer and VP of Development, Sustainability Chair in 2009. She achieved LEED AP in 2008, as she saw the critical importance of sustainability practices in building hotels that meet the needs of clients, while enhancing their communities and guest experiences. Tracey is incredibly passionate about learning and growing and makes a special effort to help others in the industry develop and showcase their talents.
Ashley Gilliam, MPH, IIDA, WELL AP
Regional Healthcare Manager, Southern California
Ashley represents Steelcase Health in Southern California by supporting leading healthcare organizations and providing comprehensive solutions for both clinical and non-clinical healthcare spaces. Prior to joining Steelcase, Ashley practiced design for over a decade at various Los Angeles Architecture Firms, focusing her passion for design around the impact of the built environment on health and wellbeing. She holds a Masters of Public Health with concentration on Community Health Sciences from the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA, a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Clemson University, and Professional Certificate in Interior Design from UCLA Extension. Ashley is NCIDQ certified, an IIDA member, as well as a LEED and WELL Accredited Professional.
Kelly is an associate interior designer at Degen & Degen. As a local alumna, she has practiced design for five years in the Seattle area, specializing in hospitality. She is involved in a range of renovation and new build projects from hotels to multifamily, allowing her to bring her attention to detail from design phases to construction. A self-motivated and passionate individual diving into issues from the viewpoint of a designer and creating meaningful green solutions. Earning the Hospitality Design New Professional Award in 2014, Kelly has continued to show leadership through her local NEWH chapter Board of Directors for the past four years.
Prior to joining Degen & Degen, Kelly has held a variety of positions ranging from ticket sales in sport management to sales support manager for a local furniture vendor. She holds her B.A. in Interior Design from Washington State University where she was a proud member of her sorority Sigma Kappa.
In her spare time she prefers to opt outside in the Pacific Northwest wonderland with her husband. Enjoying adventures with friends, wine tasting, seeking out new restaurants, and lifting.
Amanda has been working as an architectural designer at HKS, Inc. for almost 5 years, where she focuses on innovative and progressive hospitality design. She thoroughly enjoys designing, and strives to combine this with her passion for everything relating to sustainability, whether in the office or in the garden. Amanda devotes a significant amount of time to the sustainability aspects of architecture, and seeks to share her knowledge with her colleagues to help expose them to different ideas and resources pertaining to “green” building and wellbeing.
Outside of the office, Amanda is involved in the AIA both at the state level and at the local component level. For the past three years, she has attended the AIA Florida Legislation Day in Tallahassee, and where she has met with our local representatives to discuss issues that are important to our architectural community. Amanda recently began her second term as the Associate Director on the AIA Miami Board. She also chairs the AIA Miami YAF (Young Architect Forum) and ARE Committee and co-chairs the AIA Miami Mentorship Committee, which gives presentations to local universities about the importance of licensure and the steps needed to get there. Amanda sits on the AIA Florida Mentorship Committee and has also sat on the AIA Florida Professional Development Committee.
Amanda graduated from the University of Miami in 2013 with a Bachelor in Architecture, with minors in Ecosystem Science and Policy and in Business Administration. She was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal in 2013, and was chosen the AIA Miami Associate of the Year in 2016.
Andrew continuously delivers value to worship and non-profit projects with drive and focus, challenging assumptions and carefully balancing unexpected design solutions with technical requirements. With over a decade of experience practicing in architecture, Andrew’s diligence hones the design and delivery process to be on time and on budget. As one of Cuningham Group’s Market Group Sustainability Leaders, Andrew strives to weave sensible sustainability and well-being design solutions into the creative process, advocating for conceptual energy and daylight modeling in conjunction with performance goal setting. His diverse skill set includes clear communication with clients and process management from beginning to grand-opening.
Becca has over eight years of experience in the interior design industry, focusing mainly on hospitality clients. For the last five years she has been an integral part of SERA’s Hospitality Studio, working on a variety of projects in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. The studio focuses on custom packages for branded hotels in urban environments. Becca is involved in projects from the very beginning, allowing her to bring a high degree of focus and attention to the overall design concept as well as diving into the details of construction. This attention to detail and hands-on involvement results in greater efficiencies in the design, a high degree of collaboration with the design team, and cost plus environmental savings for the projects. In 2012 she was published in Hospitality Design Magazine for being on the team that crafted a case study on the costs of “greening” a standard hotel PIP for a Denver Courtyard by Marriott.
Becca is deeply involved in SERA’s culture of sustainability and was the chair of the Sustainable Action Committee (SAC) in 2012, an in-house group that works to increase the firm’s understanding of sustainable products and methodology. SAC works to find ways to incorporate these findings into both design and everyday office practice. Her approach to incorporating sustainable design in hospitality projects includes researching and specifying FFE&E materials that tell a unique story while still respecting the environment.
Prior to joining SERA, Becca has had several career iterations, which range in diversity from Minneapolis computer programmer to London bookstore manager. She also has a B.F.A. in English/Archaeology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
When not working on a hospitality projects, Becca enjoys all manner of activities. If pressed to list just a few, she would choose having adventures while traveling in foreign lands, eating fine foods, drinking tea and reading books of all kinds.
Michele has over a decade of experience in the hospitality and tourism industries focusing on sustainable operations and authentic guest experiences. As an integral part of Hostelling International USA’s (HI USA’s) effort to expand sustainability best practices across its network, Michele engages with stakeholders to achieve property level quality management systems that are sustainable across the triple bottom line. Her work also centers on creating shared experiences for the local community of travelers that break down barriers, lead to increased tolerance and willingness to work together to improve the world for all.
Since 2009 Michele’s work has received over 25 sustainability awards and Eco-certifications for HI USA hostels around the country. HI USA hosts over 1 million annual overnights across more than 50 hostels throughout the United States. She has presented at several industry events including the inaugural Lodging Green and Sustainability Conference in Dallas, TX and in Switzerland for the International Youth Hostel Federation. She has also participated as a judge for the City of Portland’s Sustainability Best Awards and for NEWH The Hospitality Industry Network’s Sustainable Design Competition.
Michele currently works for the internationally acclaimed HI Portland Hawthorne Hostel. As co-founder of the Sustainable Southeast Map, she is also engaged in her local community of Portland, OR. Michele holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College, is an international traveler, civic ecologist, certified sustainability assessor, nature enthusiast, mother and bluegrass aficionado who enjoys local foods and Oregon wines. She also owns her own business, EthosCascade, and occasionally performs independent sustainability audits of international tour operators for Sustainable Travel International.
Dr. Jane L. Nichols is an associate professor and department chair of interior design and visual merchandising design at High Point University. Nichols practiced commercial interior design for 20 years prior to joining academia, specializing in corporate, healthcare and hospitality design. She has worked for such prestigious firms as Chuck Barton & Associates and Taliesin Architects, designing corporate offices, restaurants, hotels, country clubs and health & wellness centers since 1980 across the U.S., Canada and abroad.
Debra Duneier is the founder and President of EcoChi LLC, a full service sustainable interior design company with a focus on the human experience. Debra is a Feng Shui Master Practitioner, accredited LEED® Green Associate, Certified Eco-Designer and award winning author of EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience. Debra created the EcoChi 180° Seal Certification which is the only building and design certification that is customized for each project. As such, the EcoChi® 180° certification helps any business, location or project make a 180-degree turn toward a model that respects people, the planet and profits. Debra’s training, background and perspective have made her a resource for media outlets including Martha Stewart Radio, CNBC, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, SpaFinder.com, Barons.com, New York Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens TV, and the Associated Press. Debra is the Feng Shui expert on the Reality TV show “Natural Reboot” on the Z Living Network.
As Regional Director of Hospitality Interiors, Lorraine Francis is an integral member of Gensler’s Los Angeles and Firmwide Hospitality practice area. She is an award-winning author and widely respected within the Hospitality community. Lorraine brings to Gensler a large breadth of architectural and interior project expertise working with major and boutique hotel brands like Starwood and Xanterra Resorts at her previous firm Cadiz Collaboration, which she owned and performed as lead Principal. In addition, she is a pioneer of the Hospitality industry’s sustainability movement. She launched Hotels+Green 44, a platform where she leads monthly seminars regarding sustainability best practices, and Shades of Green, an educational program that delivers a green-based curriculum to local schools in Orange County.
Mary Ann is the Academic Coordinator of the Interior Design Program at The Art Institute of Colorado. Prior to this she was a principal in The Firm specializing in hospitality interiors. In addition, she serves on the national board of NEWH as the Director of Continuing Education after serving as delegate and President of the Rocky Mountain Chapter. Mary Ann is an Allied Member of ASID, a member of the Interior Design Educators Council and she holds an MA from Regis University with a specialization in Design Education.
Mr. Burdeshaw is Vice President of CFRST New-Build Projects for Marriott International’s Global Design Americas team. In this role, which he has held since February 2011, Mr. Burdeshaw manages a team of architects, interior designers, and project managers who support the design and construction process for Marriott’s select service and extended stay hotel brands (Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, and the recently launched AC Hotels and MOXY brands). Currently, the team manages approximately 1,000 active projects in the Americas, which includes Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. Prior to his current role, he was a Senior Design Director for Full-Service Design Management from November 2006 to February 2011 supporting new-build hotel projects, property conversions, and relicensing property improvement plans (PIPs) in Canada and the United States. Work included supporting the launch of a new brand, the Autograph Collection.
Prior to joining Marriott, Tom was Vice President of Construction for 2 ½ years with Comstock Homes, a residential home builder in Northern Virginia, planning and developing large scale mixed-use projects consisting of condominiums and retail. He was also a project manager for 14 years with Hines Interests, an international real estate developer, managing new tenant improvements and developing Class “A” commercial office buildings. Notable projects supported by Mr. Burdeshaw prior to Marriott include the design and construction of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum, the modernization and repositioning planning for the United States Postal Service Headquarters, and design support for completing The Washington National Cathedral.
Currently, Tom works at Marriott International’s corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.
Mr. Burdeshaw is a graduate of Virginia Tech and a licensed Architect.
Lisa is an interior designer with over 20 years of experience. Lisa believes that project success is directly related to focusing on the client’s goals and cultivating an inspiring and energizing design process. As a
Principal in Charge of SERA’s hospitality projects, she ensures that SERA continually advances the incorporation of sustainable design practices into projects from the very beginning as a base principle, not as an afterthought.
Lisa’s strengths lies in working closely with clients, listening to their ideas, drawing out the goals, expectations and parameters that guide a client’s visions of the project, and reflecting that vision throughout the design process.
Lisa is an active member and past President of the Interior Design Association (IIDA) Oregon Chapter. Additionally she mentors other designers, including students through Marylhurst University, University of Oregon Thesis project and she is a member of the Art Institute PAC Committee.
Michele has over a decade of experience in the hospitality and tourism industries focusing on sustainable operations and authentic guest experiences. As a trained civic ecologist and eco-certification consultant and assessor for Sustainable Travel International, Michele engages with stakeholders to achieve property level quality management systems that are sustainable across the triple bottom line.
For the past three years, Michele has been an integral part of Hostelling International USA’s (HI USA) efforts to expand sustainability best practices across its network. HI USA hosts over 1 million annual overnights across more than 50 hostels throughout the United States.
Since 2009 Michele’s work has received over 25 Sustainability Awards and Certifications for HI USA Hostel’s around the country. In 2012 she presented the values of third party eco-certification as panelist at the Lodging Green and Sustainability Conference and participated as a Judge for the City of Portland’s Sustainability Best Awards. As co-founder of the Sustainable Southeast Map, Michele is also engaged in her local community of Portland, OR.
For her day job, Michele is Co-Manager of the Portland Hawthorne Hostel. Michele holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College, is an international traveler, nature enthusiast, mother and bluegrass aficionado who enjoys local foods and Oregon wines.
Barbara directs the hospitality practice for Gensler in the Northwest region, bringing over 20 years of experience with boutique and large-scale hotels, spas, restaurants, and resorts. In addition to being actively involved in business development, Barbara leads her project teams through all stages of a project for such prominent brands as The Four Seasons, Hyatt Hotels, the Marriott, and the Westin, designing projects that elegantly suit the demands of both the client and their guests. Prior to Gensler Barbara was the Owner of Best-Santos Studio, where created award-winning interiors for Kimpton, Woodside Hotels & Resorts, and Larkspur Hotels &Restaurants; along with development of a number high profile restaurant concepts including Bing Crosby’s, Joe DiMaggio’s and Carlos Santana’s Maria Maria Cantina. Prior to Best-Santos Studio, her work included the Hotel Bel-Air, the Claremont Resort and Spa and many large scale projects around the world as a designer for Bent Severin and Associates.
ecca has over eight years of experience in the interior design industry, focusing mainly on hospitality clients. For the last five years she has been an integral part of SERA’s Hospitality Studio, working on a variety of projects in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. The studio focuses on custom packages for branded hotels in urban environments. Becca is involved in projects from the very beginning, allowing her to bring a high degree of focus and attention to the overall design concept as well as diving into the details of construction. This attention to detail and hands-on involvement results in greater efficiencies in the design, a high degree of collaboration with the design team, and cost plus environmental savings for the projects. In 2012 she was published in Hospitality Design Magazine for being on the team that crafted a case study on the costs of “greening” a standard hotel PIP for a Denver Courtyard by Marriott.Becca is deeply involved in SERA’s culture of sustainability and was the chair of the Sustainable Action Committee (SAC) in 2012, an in-house group that works to increase the firm’s understanding of sustainable products and methodology. SAC works to find ways to incorporate these findings into both design and everyday office practice. Her approach to incorporating sustainable design in hospitality projects includes researching and specifying FFE&E materials that tell a unique story while still respecting the environment.Prior to joining SERA, Becca has had several career iterations, which range in diversity from Minneapolis computer programmer to London bookstore manager. She also has a B.F.A. in English/Archaeology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.When not working on a hospitality projects, Becca enjoys all manner of activities. If pressed to list just a few, she would choose having adventures while traveling in foreign lands, eating fine foods, drinking tea and reading books of all kinds.
Melissa is Hospitality Designer with Gensler. Based in Newport Beach, California, Melissa designs hospitality environments for Gensler offices worldwide. In her 13 years of experience, Melissa’s projects have ranged in scale from a wine bottle label to convention centers and sports stadiums. By fusing hospitality interiors & brand design, Melissa has a unique talent for creating thoughtful environments that create marketplace differentiation as well as an emotional connection with the guest.Notable hospitality projects include SLS Hotel Las Vegas, Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, the D Hotel Las Vegas, Golden Gate Hotel Renovation Las Vegas, The Westin, San Diego Convention Center, Philadelphia Eagles Stadium, Star Alliance Lounge at Los Angeles International Airport, Air New Zealand Lounges, Stone Brewing Company, 40/40 Clubs, and Petco Park Stadium restaurants in San Diego. Her brand design for “Dollheads” salon at Planet Hollywood won a HOSPY Award for Best Hospitality Retail Space.Melissa graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska College of Architecture, where Melissa was admitted to the Golden Key National Honor Society and Tau Sigma Delta (the Honor Society in Architecture and the Allied Arts). Melissa completed a design study abroad in London, England and upon graduation was awarded 1st place winner of the ASID student portfolio competition.Melissa is on the Steering Committee for the NEWH Orange County Region.
Kara Angotti, founder of KO Angotti – a woman-owned interior design and energy analysis companyKara’s formal training in interior design and building science developed her awareness of the symbiotic relationship between performance and aesthetics within the built environment. Her “whole environment approach” delivers high performance spaces and responsible sourcing while striving to reduce the client’s operating expenses. Her commitment to local manufacturing, smart design, and industry engagement has grown into an online resource library available through active social media outlets, including over 50 videos available on YouTube.In 2012 Kara accepted the Director of Sustainability role for the NEWH Atlantic City/ Greater Philadelphia chapter and this year, as the Programming Chair, she’s organized the calendar of events to reflect the chapter’s development, NEWH goals, and industry shifts for an exciting mix of CEUs, project tours, and educational lectures.
A licensed architect, a certified interior designer and a LEED Accredited Professional, Pamela Parsons brings a unique hotel owner’s perspective and a great depth of experience to FORRESTPERKINS in her position as Senior Vice President of Operations. Ms. Parsons, a seasoned professional in hotel design and construction for both domestic and international new development and renovations, has built and managed teams and relationships with many different internal departments and external resources. She is particularly savvy in project and design management.Ms. Parsons led the design and construction group at Host Hotels & Resorts and understands the owner’s point of view thoroughly. She focuses on bottom line performance, return-on-investment and linking superior design with sound business decisions regarding investments. During her 10-year tenure with Host Hotels & Resorts, Ms. Parsons administered the design and construction of $90 million to $550 million of annual capital for construction for the $10 billion Fortune 500 Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Host is the largest hospitality REIT in the world and at the time of Ms. Parsons’ leadership owned 125 upper upscale and luxury hotels in the US, South America and Europe. Hotel brands included Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott International, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, St. Regis, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts and The Luxury Collection, among others.Earlier in her career, Ms. Parsons was the department head of the Conference Center Division of the Design and Construction Group at Marriott International and a Design Manager for New Build Construction at Marriott Corporation. She was Associate Vice President of RTKL in a previous position, where she was project architect for the new builds. NCARB- and NCIDQ-certified, Ms. Parsons is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Interior Designers and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
Helen Reed has over 22 years’ experience as an Interior Designer in the Hospitality Industry. Her experience has ranged from Project Interior Design from an award winning Architectural and Interior Design firm to working as a manufacturer’s representative where she took time to learn about the manufacturing process for interior materials and furniture. In 1992 Helen started HL Reed Design, a full service interior design firm mainly specializing in restaurant, retail, and spa design. The firm has worked all over the United States providing design and branding services for the majority of their clients. In addition to HL Reed Design, Helen has recently become Vice President for SEElogix, an online platform for residential and commercial projects. As a partner in this new startup Helen’s main title is Curator of Creativity since she is overseeing the design of the companies brand in all aspects. In addition she is in charge of all social media, marketing and sustainable efforts.Helen is very passionate about sustainability in her work and personal life. Sustainability is not only a passion it is a mission. She works hard to educate her clients on how they can be more sustainable in their work environment creating programs and guidelines to help them with their own sustainability mission. In her role as Vice President of SEElogix, she specifically is working on ways to educate the users with ways to become more sustainable in their own personal environments as well as, to become better environmental stewards in all aspects of their life.
Christine Geronaga is design professional at Gensler, an internationally acclaimed architectural firm. Her current role covers everything from responding to requests for proposals to construction administration. And she has been an active participant in the studio culture representing Gensler at various industry events as part of a team and as an individual.Her educational background in architecture, combined experience at various architectural firms and a general contracting firm, has allowed her to have diverse insight into the industry from both sides. Her experience has covered the schematic design process at the architectural to construction administration.Her project experience includes the Redondo Beach North Branch Library, Huntington Beach High School Music Building, and Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) in the capacity of Project Engineer for SMC Construction as well as Chase Banks across southern California, John Wayne Airport Tenant Improvements, and Dallas Fort Worth Concessions in the capacity of Project Coordinator for Gensler.Christine looks to provide design excellence as well as the promotion of architecture as a service profession to the community and the environment. Passion in this profession is absolutely crucial and her desire is to work for a firm that desires create a sense of place versus space which ultimately is the goal for promoting the well-being of a community
Deidre Schwartz has been with American Hotel Register Company for the past 5 years and holds the responsibility of strategic positioning and promoting of the Interior Design and Project Management services offered by their FF&E Solutions team. With Deidre’s leadership and business development focus, American Hotel has expanded their award winning design talent and has been successful securing business across numerous markets including hotels/resorts, timeshare, residential, senior living, as well as government and educational.Prior to joining American Hotel, Deidre was Director of Design for Classic Residence by Hyatt (currently known as Vi) responsible for the development, planning and execution of Capital Projects of $500k – $3million across a portfolio of 19 corporate properties.Deidre and her husband, Michael, have 3 border collies, enjoy back-country hiking and live in a nationally recognized conservation community (Prairie Crossing) in Grayslake, IL where they live among open spaces, trails and neighbors with a common interest of lessening their footprint on the earth.
Lora graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in Interior Architecture and minor in Art History. Following an internship at Walt Disney World, she made Orlando her permanent residence and has continued to work for Disney since 1992. For the past 8 years, Lora has worked as a Design Manager for Facility Asset Management, a team that oversees all the room renovations, suites, lobbies and public spaces for the World Disney World Resorts. In her position, Lora rewrote the FF&E specifications to reflect a more sustainable standard and has always strived to obtain a more “green” environment for their guests. Lora is a LEED AP and Florida Licensed Interior Designer. She is a mentor to the student interns within her department, and encourages higher standards in sustainability within all design.Lora has been a member of NEWH/Sunshine Chapter for 8 years and on the executive committee for 4 years. She is currently in her second term as the Sustainable Director, where she oversees a committee of 7 that plan and coordinate sustainable events throughout the year. Recently she joined the NEWH, Inc. Sustainable Committee.Living sustainable is part of life that she infuses in both her work and personal environment.
Richard is the Design Director for the Gensler Atlanta office, having joined the firm in 2007. With degrees in both business and architecture/design and over 25 years’ experience in the design industry, he brings a unique understanding of business-driven design to his clients. Over the course of his career, he has designed a variety of project types including corporate, hospitality, retail, medical and mission critical for clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, Aflac, GE, Philips, Hewlet Packard, SunTrust, The Container Store, InterContinental Hotels, MetLife and Delta Air Lines.
Grace Machado McClurg brings both domestic and international design experience to the WATG team. Her project experience includes public spaces, guestrooms, luxury suites, thematic design, hotel spas and convention centers. She brings a strong background in all phases of project development, from conceptual design to construction administration.Her expertise includes development of design concepts, material/color and furniture/ lighting selection, verbal and digital presentations, and specifications. Grace also contributes strong design development and construction documentation skills to create a cohesive design package. Her knowledge in various design programs such as Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, Revit, Sketch Up and 3D Studio Max makes her a valuable asset to any project and design team.Prior to joining WATG in 2004, Grace was a full-time student at California State University Long Beach, where she honed her skills in design concept, programming, and presentation. Her recent projects with WATG include Haptik, winner of the inaugural Sustainable Suite Design Competition, and Oakwood – Tower C, a residential tower project in Hangzhou, China. Grace is currently working on the Atlantis Golden Age project, a themed resort hotel in Chengdu, China.
Adrienne is the Global Head of Adoba Eco Brand where she drives the company’s overall strategic growth and sustainable investment opportunities. She has 25 years of hospitality sales and operations experience building defining revenue performance for branded full-service, focus service, independent and resort properties and taking them to new heights of achievement. Prior to participating in the launch of the Adoba Brand, Adrienne most recently served as Vice President of Sales & Marketing for a large branded hotel development company.
Jean Klueter, a graduate in architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, has contributed to numerous hospitality, entertainment and leisure projects since joining WATG in 1990. Jean has worked on various entertainment and hospitality projects for WATG around the globe. She has been involved in the development of several major projects including the Rosewood Palacio Tangará Park Hotel & Spa in São Paulo, Brazil; The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California; and The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, a 3,036-suite luxury hotel, casino and retail complex.Jean became an associate in 2004 and senior associate in 2006. She has been instrumental as project architect and designer for numerous spa and wellness projects including: the Golden Door Spa at the Boulders Resort in Arizona; Miraval Destination Spa Resort in Tucson, Arizona; and the Wynn Macau Spa in China.Recent efforts as senior designer include the JW Marriott Desert Springs Spa Addition and Renovation in Palm Desert, California; the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia; and the Playa Pelicano Destination Spa Resort, a new five-star destination spa resort hotel to include a 65,000-square-foot spa wellness center and living community in Costa Rica.Jean has been a featured speaker on spa design at Cornell Spa Conferences and Cornell University.
As America’s most remote urban oasis, virtually everything is imported to Las Vegas, including most of the world-class design talent that creates the city’s lavish resort interiors. Renowned designer Todd-Avery Lenahan is the exception as an international designer based in Las Vegas and who’s highly sought-after work is exported to the world’s leading hoteliers, restaurateurs, and celebrity clientele. Todd’s highly awarded & published designs span the globe with commissions on nearly every continent for icons of the luxury hotel industry including Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts, and The Ritz Carlton. In Las Vegas, he’s been locked-up by Steve Wynn almost exclusively for seven years while they’ve collaborated on Wynn Las Vegas, Encore at Wynn, and Wynn Macau.As evidenced by his recent commissions for Vegas A-list venues such as Wolfgang Puck’s CUT and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Todd’s work exemplifies his point of view on good design behavior and the value of great deportment in architecture. Lenahan is currently authoring the design vision and comprehensive brand standards for four major international luxury hotel brands and in 2008 published PLACES, a tome of the stories behind the art of TAL Studio’s place making.
Katarina Tesarova is a Senior Project Manager for the Energy and Environmental Services Division of MGM MIRAGE, one of the world’s leading and most respected hotel and gaming companies. In this capacity, Katarina plays an integral role in implementing company’s strategic plans for sustainability by providing management, guidance and subject matter expertise.Most recently, Katarina was responsible for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) building certification process of CityCenter, an 8.6 billion dollar, mixed-use urban destination in Las Vegas, Nevada. She managed the LEED compliance process during four years of design and construction. Under Katarina’s leadership CityCenter achieved six LEED Gold certifications making it the largest new construction LEED certified project in the world.Katarina is recognized for her expertise in green buildings and has served on various prestigious panels and committees, including the Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force for the United States Department of Homeland Security. She also volunteers as a life skills class teacher at The Shade Tree, a non-profit organization that provides safe shelter to homeless and abused women and children in crisis in Las Vegas.Katarina received her law degree from Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia. She also earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in Finance from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Katarina is a LEED Accredited Professional and is a member of the Green Building Council of Nevada.
2009 New York Rising Star Chef Angelo Sosa’s story is that of the quintessential contemporary American chef—ethnically diverse, creative, and untethered by culinary definitions. He’s Dominican and Italian by heritage, grew up in Connecticut, and has adopted Asian cuisine as his own. His fast-casual Asian sandwich shop called Xie Xie was already gaining acclaim in 2009.
Growing up, Sosa’s family took their meals seriously, and it was the perfect breeding ground for Sosa’s budding culinary curiosity. He graduated The Culinary Institute of America with honors and jumped headlong into two of Connecticut’s top-rated kitchens, including the four-diamond Stonehenge Inn and Restaurant and Acqua. In 1999, Sosa moved to New York to work at Jean Georges—the starting point of his obsession with Asian ingredients and techniques.
In the following years Sosa worked at TanDa, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Dune in the Bahamas, Spice Market, and Yumcha; and consulted at Buddakan and Morimoto. He was also invited by Alain Ducasse to create a special seasonal menu at his Paris restaurant Spoon Food & Wine.
Sosa’s broad-ranging restaurant experiences cemented his devotion to Asian flavors, which he expanded with trips to Thailand, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. Last year he has appeared as a finalist on Food Network’s “Top Chef”. His latest project, Social Eatz, is an Asian-influenced sandwich joint.
Clifford R. Tuttle managed the interior design practice in the San Francisco office of ForrestPerkins. Mr. Tuttle worked as Director of Design for eight years in Washington, DC, before launching the San Francisco branch of the firm. Earlier in his career, Mr. Tuttle was president of Concept Design Group in Honolulu and Concept International Design Group in Singapore for nine years.
Mr. Tuttle’s extensive experience in the hospitality design profession includes the design and management of projects in the United States and Southeast Asia. Active in numerous professional organizations, ForrestPerkins’ Director of Design is involved in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), in which he has served as Director of Professional Development for the Washington, DC Metro chapter, and was previously President of the Hawaii chapter. Mr. Tuttle has served as President of the Washington, DC, chapter of NEWH, and has served on its International Board of Directors.
An award-winning designer, Mr. Tuttle has been honored with Lodging Hospitality Designer’s Circle First Place Award and Boutique Design’s Best Hotel Design. He has also served as an educator, teaching at the Interior Designers’ Guild in Los Angeles. Mr. Tuttle’s creativity, expertise in spatial planning and project management skills augment the experience and skill of the firm’s principals. His considerable experience in Asia expands ForrestPerkins’ ability to provide comprehensive service to its international clientele.
Mr. Tuttle is a pioneer in sustainable design in the hospitality industry. He recently served as Director of NEWH Sustainable Hospitality, and serves on the Sustainable Design Council for ASID. A LEED-Accredited Professional, he serves on the Technical Advisory Group for LEED for Hospitality for the US Green Building Council.
Born in Sweden, educated in China, and working in New York and Paris, the founder and principal of her namesake design firm draws on her varied cultural experiences to create compelling and diverse hospitality environments.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Mandarin, a graduate degree from the New York School of Interior Design, and continuing coursework in such varied topics as marketing law, research, and emotional intelligence, Therese is a true renaissance woman. Starting her career with Ikea in Business and Logistics Management in Shanghai before landing in New York to create renowned hospitality spaces with Jeffrey Beers International. She is a rare combination of business acumen and creative expression.
Having created hospitality experiences throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, and Russia, Virserius continues to be intrigued by the business side of the industry. She recently became an owner in her latest New York City restaurant project, Bocca di Bacco, and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Real Estate Development from New York University.
A 30-year veteran in the hospitality design industry and former Vice President of Interior Design with Hilton Hotels Corporation, Becka Chester has the capacity to provide a unique oversight service to the hotel and resort owner. As a hospitality design specialist, Becka ensures that final designs meet the owner’’s unique vision, while exceeding the guest’’s expectations. During her tenure as Vice President with Hilton, Becka developed an exclusive insight into owner needs and the high standards required for enduring design by overseeing both Hilton’s owned assets as well as many new-built managed properties. Her prior 25 years working as an interior designer for many of the leading international hotel firms has given her an in-depth understanding of chic, yet functional, design concepts. For four years, Becka was based in Hong Kong, where she worked on projects in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Taiwan and Vietnam as well as several commercial projects in Paris, France. At sfa design Becka continued to direct national and international design projects before moving to Hilton, where Becka oversaw all design ventures owned and operated by Hilton Hotels Corporation. With her extensive experience overseeing the design of a broad mix of hospitality projects, Becka offers comprehensive design solutions, while optimizing both time and budget.
Tim has been in the hospitality industry since 1980 and holds a California Architectural and General Contractor’s license. As a practicing Architect he was instrumental in the design and construction of more than 10 Embassy Suite Hotels and 12 restaurants. He was then responsible for all the design of Sunterra’s timeshare product until 1999. Tim then joined Tarsadia Hotels Inc. as the Senior VP – Design & Construction and led the renovation and additions to their franchise of hotels. In 2001 he joined MVW as the Regional VP – Project Management and was in charge of all MVW construction on the West Coast. He was promoted to Corporate VP – Architecture & Design in 2003, and is now the design conscience and is responsible for all MVW design both nationally and internationally. In 2007 he was additionally named MVW Chief Environmental Officer and now diligently manages design to promote a “green” building environment.
Andrea Thomas has been an independent, multi-line sales representative and a member of NEWH for almost two decades. The Thomas Design Source product package includes custom area rugs and carpet, wall covering, fabric, and accessories. Andrea’s career started as an interior designer, working on primarily commercial projects in various architectural and interior design firms in Milwaukee and Las Vegas. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Interior Design and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Andrea has been on the board of the Las Vegas Chapter in various positions starting in the capacity of Scholarship Director. She is currently Vice President of Scholarship and Education on the NEWH International Board.
Jillian Van Dresser, president of The Van Dresser Company, an Atlanta, Georgia based full service interior design firm providing interior design services for distinctive design projects throughout the United States, Italy and the Caribbean, brings 26 years of design and management experience to new construction as well as renovation and rehabilitation of hotels, resorts, conference centers, timeshare, condominiums, restaurants, and adult living facilities.
A strong proponent of social and educational service within the hospitality industry, Jillian has served on numerable professional boards as well as serving as Founding President of the Atlanta Chapter and President of the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality, Inc. Board of Directors, the international governing board of the organization. She currently serves as Advisor to the NEWH, Inc. Sustainable Hospitality. Van Dresser Company is a Certified WBENC Women’s Business Enterprise
Christine is principal of Wasmer Contract Group a manufacturer’s representative with over 25 years of experience in the contract and hospitality industry. She holds a BFA in Interior Architectural Design from California State University Long Beach.
Venturing from design into contract sales in the early 1980’s, she found sales and marketing to be a great pairing with her design skills. Since beginning her own business in 1996, Christine has applied her experience, dedication to detail and commitment to her client’s needs to forge lasting business relationships. Wasmer Contract Group represents fine manufacturers of interior and exterior furniture.
Christine’s support of NEWH can be described in one word: Scholarship. Through her work on the Los Angeles Chapter board and on the board of NEWH Inc., she formulated protocol and procedures for the management of the scholarship program. Future plans include expanding the NEWH opportunity through student chapters and inviting the participation of premier educators by establishing an NEWH Educator’s Roundtable.