Four hospitality innovators join Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship advisory board

Contact:  Jane Henion, 607.255.9780, jmh222@cornell.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Four hospitality innovators join Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship advisory board

Ithaca, NY, March 18, 2013 – The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE) recently welcomed four new hospitality industry leaders to its advisory board. In this role, they will help shape the entrepreneurship curriculum at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and support entrepreneurial students through such programs as the Hospitality Business Plan Competition, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and internships.

New advisory board members:

Moby Ahmed has more than 30 years of experience in hotel management, resort development, operations, marketing, and developing future leaders. His entire professional life is spent developing operational and marketing strategies and techniques with distinct strengths of executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking. As managing partner of A/R Hotels, a group of boutique properties, he is responsible for securing third-party management contracts, developing acquisition strategies, and providing technical advisory services for eclectic hospitality projects.

Bob Alter is president of Seaview Investors, LLC, a real estate investment management company that is a corporate partner of the PIHE. He is also chairman emeritus and founder of Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. He founded the company in 1985 as a hotel owner and management company and took it public in 1995. During the 22 years that Alter was CEO, Sunstone acquired 125 hotel properties with more than 20,000 guest rooms and led the disposition of 80 hotels. Alter oversaw approximately $1 billion of renovations and brand conversions and built seven ground-up hotels, including the JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek.

Kenneth M. Blatt is chief operating officer of the hotel division and principal in Caribbean Property Group LLC (CPG), a real estate investment firm that develops, redevelops, acquires, manages, operates, and owns real estate assets in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Central America across the retail, hotel, industrial, and office sectors. CPG's current hotel assets include The Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa, and Casino and the Radisson Ambassador Hotel and Casino. CPG is the managing partner in Caribbean Real Estate Opportunity Fund I, a $500 million real estate fund co-sponsored by Goldman Sachs and Perry Capital that invests in income-producing real estate assets in the Caribbean and Central America.

Thomas Corcoran served as president and chief executive officer of FelCor from its formation in 1991 until his appointment to chairman of the board in 2006. FelCor, a real estate investment trust that is a corporate partner of the PIHE, owns 69 primarily upper-upscale, full-service hotels that are located in major and resort markets throughout 22 states. FelCor partners with leading hotel companies to operate its diversified portfolio of hotels, which are flagged under globally recognized names such as Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Fairmont, Hilton, Marriott, Renaissance, Sheraton, Westin, and Holiday Inn, and premier independent hotels in New York.

"We strive to teach students about every aspect of entrepreneurship either in the classroom or through experiential learning opportunities. Our advisory board members give us the guidance and financial support to grow our program and also provide a professional network that students can call on as they set out in their careers," said Neil Tarallo, senior lecturer and academic director of PIHE.

About The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
An operating unit of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, the Pillsbury Institute advances the study and practice of entrepreneurship and innovation in the hospitality industry. Through our network of faculty, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs, we give students the knowledge and skills they need to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. To learn more about the institute, visit www.pihe.cornell.edu.