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Leadership

With more than 400 years of collective experience, partnering with Marcus Hotels & Resorts means you can rest assured; your hospitality business is in good hands. Our team consists of experts from all aspects of the industry, including revenue generation, food and beverage, development, operations, marketing, and more.

  • Joe Khairallah
    Joe Khairallah, President & Chief Operating Officer

    Joseph S. Khairallah, President and Chief Operating Officer is responsible for day-to-day leadership of Marcus Hotels & Resorts. He reports directly to the President and CEO of Marcus Corporation and manages operations of the business with all hotel division personnel reporting up through him.

    Khairallah joined the company in 2013 following a 30-year career with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts where he gained extensive experience managing business operations across six continents and 44 countries. He most recently served as Vice President of Rooms, Spa and Security for the Hyatt Americas Group. In this role, he supported 383 hotels, oversaw 155 properties and 30 spas.

    Khairallah prides himself in finding operational approaches that engage employees, improve profitability and result in an exceptional customer experience. Since arriving at Marcus Hotels, he has successfully focused the company’s efforts on customer-impacting initiatives and has garnered support for large investments in infrastructure and new technology deployments.

    Khairallah grew up in Lebanon. After graduating from the prestigious Institut Haulot in Brussels with a hotel management degree, he began his career with Hyatt Corporation in New York City. He is multilingual and believes that languages can be instrumental in bridging cultural barriers in the workplace and society as a whole.

    Khairallah serves on the national board of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Hilton Hotels’ Full Service Advisory Board, and Oklahoma State University’s School of Hotel & Restaurant advisory board. He is also Vice Chair and board member of Visit Milwaukee.

    He is passionate about education and frequently takes time to share his industry knowledge and experience with students across several universities that specialize in hospitality studies.

  • Michael Swasey
    Michael Swasey, Senior Vice President of Operations

    Michael Swasey is the Area Vice President of Operations for Marcus Hotels & Resorts.

    Swasey joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts in 2015, having most recently served as Vice President of Hotel Operations for Alena Hospitality, based in Orlando, FL. His prior experience includes serving as Vice President of Asset Management for Inland American Lodging Management, L.L.C. (now Xenia REIT) in Orlando, FL, and serving in operations roles for B.F. Saul Company – Hospitality Group, Bethesda, MD.; Legacy Hospitality, Inc., Albuquerque, NM.; InterContinental Hotel Group, Atlanta, GA, and Sage Hospitality, Denver, CO.

    Swasey graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and holds a master’s degree from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He serves on the American Hotel & Lodging Association Food & Beverage Committee and is a member of HAMA (Hospitality Asset Managers Association).

    Swasey is an avid college football fan, speaks fluent Spanish and loves to travel to Latin America. He spends his time volunteering as a Career Coach for Pathfinders, an after-school program that helps students develop a successful future. He is also actively involved with his congregation’s youth program.

  • Andrea Foster
    Andrea Foster, Senior Vice President of Development

    Andrea Foster is the Senior Vice President of Development for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Foster, a 20-year hospitality veteran and lodging industry expert, is responsible for marketing the company’s hotel management capabilities and identifying and securing potential acquisition, joint venture and third-party management opportunities for the company.

    Foster joins Marcus Hotels & Resorts and MCS Capital from PKF Consulting|CBRE Hotels, where she most recently served as managing director, leading PKF’s Boston office and overseeing its national Spa Advisory Practice. From 2006-2011, she served as vice president, marketing and business development for Miraval Holdings, a top-rated destination spa resort and healthy lifestyle brand. Foster began working with PKF|CBRE in Los Angeles in 2002 where she was responsible for hospitality real estate ventures and feasibility analysis. She returned to PKF|CBRE in 2011. Her career also includes operations management positions with boutique-size branded and independent hotel properties on the East and West coasts.

    During her career, Foster has worked on a variety of assignments involving market positioning and repositioning, feasibility analysis, appraisals, operational analysis, sales and marketing analysis, spa studies, impact studies and tourism studies. She has become a key voice at hotel investment conferences and was the publisher of PKF’s Trends® in the Hotel Spa Industry report. Foster is president of the Cornell Hotel Society New England Chapter, industry advisor to Cornell University Spa Association, scholarship chair for ISPA (the International Spa Association), a member of the NEREJ (New England Real Estate Journal) Hotel Advisory Board, an active member of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Boston, and is a regular speaker at the hospitality schools at Cornell and Boston University.

    Foster, originally from Maine, is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration with a concentration in real estate finance and operations.

  • Peggy Williams Smith
    Peggy Williams Smith, Senior Vice President of SafeHouse Restaurants

    Peggy Williams-Smith is Senior Vice President of SafeHouse Restaurants. She oversees the development and renovation of the SafeHouse brand in Milwaukee, as well as additional SafeHouse locations to be named in the future.

    Williams-Smith joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts in 1997 as a Catering Manager with the Hilton Milwaukee. During her career with the company, she served in a variety of positions, including Director of Catering for the Hilton Milwaukee and The Pfister Hotel, General Manager of Brynwood Country Club, Senior Corporate Director of Catering Sales and Event Management, and most recently, Corporate Vice President of Food & Beverage, where she has been instrumental in developing and enhancing many successful concepts in the Marcus Restaurant Group portfolio.

    Actively involved in charitable and business organizations, Williams-Smith is the past president of TEMPO Milwaukee, and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association and United Cerebral Palsy of Southeastern Wisconsin. She also volunteers her time with Junior Achievement, United Way, Best Buddies and the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), including co-chairing the 2016 campaign.

    Williams-Smith graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

  • Jeff Peterson
    Jeff Peterson, Vice President of Finance and Transaction Administration

    Jeff Peterson is the Vice President of Finance and Transaction Administration for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Peterson is responsible for overseeing all accounting and finance functions for the division, as well as oversee new deal structures, joint ventures, management agreements and the implementation of funding investments.

    Peterson joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts in 2013 as Vice President of Operations. In 2015, he was promoted to senior director of finance and transaction administration for The Marcus Corporation, overseeing a wide range of financial and strategic initiatives as well as providing support for MCS Capital, the company’s hotel investment affiliate. Prior to joining Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Peterson served more than 17 years with Hyatt Corporation in various real estate, asset management, finance and accounting roles. He also served as chief financial officer of Ticketmaster Resale, a division of Ticketmaster/Live Nation, the second largest company in the online resale ticket industry.

    Peterson, a CPA, began his career in public accounting at the international accounting firm, KPMG. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

  • Peter Engel
    Peter Engel,
    Chief Technology Officer

    Peter Engel is the Chief Technology Officer at Marcus Hotels & Resorts. He manages strategy and implementation of hotel, food & beverage, electronic distribution, and guest experience technologies. In addition, Peter is responsible for technology evaluations of acquisition candidates, IT support of hotel openings, and business opportunity development.

    A 30+ year veteran of the information technology industry, Engel comes from both a consulting and technology operations background. Most recently, Engel was President of Aperias Management Services, a consulting firm specializing in information technology and strategic management consulting services. Engel has over eight years of travel and leisure industry experience including serving as Chief Operating Officer for Trisept Solutions, and Senior Vice President at The Mark Travel Corporation, managing customer support, software development and technology operations for leading travel distribution companies.

    Prior to joining the travel industry, Engel gained broad technology experience at Tandem Computers (now Hewlett Packard), providing hardware, software and IT consulting services for retail, insurance, telecommunications and travel related companies.

  • Susan Terry
    Susan Terry, Vice President of Culinary and Food & Beverage Operations

    Susan Terry is the Vice President of Culinary and Food and Beverage Operations, joining the Marcus Hotels & Resorts team in 2016 from Hyatt Hotels & Resorts where she spent the previous 25 years. Terry started her career at the Fairmont Chicago as a Chef Tournant. In 1990, she began her Hyatt tenure as Executive Sous Chef as part of the opening team for the Hyatt Regency Suites on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. She continued her culinary career at Park Hyatt Century City as Executive Chef, and then on to Grand Hyatt Washington as Senior Executive Chef. In 2006, Terry was promoted to Corporate Director of Culinary Operations with Hyatt, and was then promoted to her most recent role as Vice President of Culinary and F&B Operations in 2008.

    Terry has a passion for creating dynamic food and beverage experiences and considers her skills to be focused in the areas of management, design, concept development and operations.

  • Kent Duncan
    Kent Duncan, Vice President of Strategy & Analytics

    Kent Duncan is the Vice President of Strategy and Analytics for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. He joined Marcus in August 2008 as Corporate Director of Revenue Strategy and currently provides overall revenue management leadership and strategic guidance for our properties.

    Duncan brings over 19 years of hotel experience from Marriott International, including department leadership positions in Conference Services, Sales, and Revenue Management. Most recently, Duncan was Director of Market Strategy for Marriott International overseeing revenue management for several hotels' in the Atlanta area representing the J.W. Marriott, Marquis, Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard and Residence Inn brands.

    In addition to his leadership experience, Duncan has gained valuable knowledge through his time spent in all various types of properties including major convention, luxury, resort, downtown, and suburban hotels.

  • Linda Gulrajani
    Linda Gulrajani, Vice President of Revenue Strategy & Distribution

    Linda Gulrajani is Vice President of Revenue Strategy and Distribution for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. She is responsible for leading the development and implementation of revenue management and distribution activities and strategies for all hotels in the company’s portfolio.

    Gulrajani joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts in 2009 as Regional Director of Revenue Strategy. Prior to joining Marcus Hotels & Resorts, she served in a variety of revenue management roles at hospitality companies including TravelCLICK, Walt Disney World, Marriott, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Loews Hotels.

    Gulrajani was elected to serve on the HSMAI Revenue Management Advisory Board for 2014 and 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

  • Laurie Hobbs
    Laurie Hobbs,
    Vice President of Marketing

    Laurie Hobbs is Vice President of Marketing for Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a leading hospitality management company and division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE:MCS). She is responsible for providing executive leadership and management of strategies including marketing, message development, e-commerce, and public relations.

    Ms. Hobbs began her career with Financial Shares Corp., an international public relations, marketing and training firm based in Chicago.

    She later served more than 15 years at Edelman Worldwide, the largest international communications agency. She joined the firm as an account executive and was promoted to Vice President, responsible for major corporate and travel accounts, and notable consumer brands. While at Edelman and as a marketing communications consultant, one of Ms. Hobbs clients was GE Healthcare where she helped introduce major medical technological advancements in North America and worldwide.

    Ms. Hobbs returned to the travel and hospitality industry in her role as director of marketing communications for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, the top destination property on Florida’s North Gulf Coast. There, she was responsible for marketing the resort, its business units, major events, and the management of complex issues like the Gulf Oil Spill. Her other travel related positions included director of marketing at Blue Harbor Resort, Spa and Conference Center.

    Ms. Hobbs is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. She is a board member of ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, and serves as a speaker for various colleges and universities. She has received several industry recognitions including the Publicity Club of Chicago Silver Trumpet Award, the Golden Bell Award from the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association, the Clarion Award from Women in Communications, and the Tower Award from the Business/Professional Advertising Association. She was named an Outstanding Young Woman of America, listed in Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in the Midwest and Who’s Who in the World.

  • Linda Price-Topp
    Linda Price-Topp,
    Vice President of Sales

    Linda Price Topp, the Vice President of Sales, oversees sales efforts for the 18 properties within Marcus’ portfolio as well as managing the company’s Milwaukee market sales team. Price Topp joined Marcus Hotels and Resorts in 1993 in a sales role at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa and over her 24 years with the company has served in a variety of positions including Director of Sales and Marketing at the Pfister Hotel and Market Director of Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Strategy for the Milwaukee market where she was responsible for Marcus’ three downtown Milwaukee properties.

    Price Topp has extensive hospitality experience including sales roles at La Costa Resort & Spa and Sugar Bay Plantation Resort in St. Thomas, USVI and further industry experience through engagements in the Travel Management Industry with American Express and Summit Performance Group. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Steve Martin
    Steve Martin, Vice President of Human Resources

    Steve Martin is Vice President of Human Resources for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. He is responsible for supporting and overseeing operational human resources issues and strategic initiatives for the company’s entire hotel portfolio.

    Martin has over 20 years of human resources and hospitality industry experience. He joined The Marcus Corporation in 2000 as Corporate Human Resources Director of the company’s former Baymont Inns & Suites limited-service lodging division. During his career with the company he served as the Director of Human Resources for the Hilton Milwaukee and held several human resources roles for The Marcus Corporation including Director of Benefits and most recently, Assistant Corporate Director of Human Resources. Prior to joining The Marcus Corporation, Martin worked for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotels and Embassy Suites.

    Martin is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation from the HR Certification Institute. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, restaurant and institution management from Iowa State University.

  • Joe Sebestyen
    Joe Sebestyen, Area Vice President of Operations
    Joe Sebestyen is the Regional Vice President of Operations for Marcus Hotels & Resorts.

    Sebestyen joins Marcus Hotels and Resorts from Hotel Equities where he was responsible for a portfolio of 20 properties. Prior to Hotel Equities, Sebestyen was a Regional with Marriott International and the Compass Group where he honed his operational expertise and achieved success inall aspects of conference center and hotel operations, and revenue generation. Sebestyen also spent time at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration where he facilitated a program catered to understanding Conference Centers within the Professional Development Program. He led a team of subject matter experts that dedicated time to development, sales and marketing, operations, finance, and food and beverage.

    Sebestyen was recognized as the Marriott General Manager of the year in 1999. He served as the President of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) – a global organizationwith over 300 membership properties and in 2010 was recognized for the Distinguished Award of Excellence. In line with Marriott’s commitment to the community, Sebestyen served as Chair of the Red CrossChapter, United Way, and currently serves on the Hotel and Restaurant Advisory Board at Oklahoma State University.
     

    Sebestyen is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and has three daughters, Rosemary, Annaand Valerie with wife Nancy.

  • Christine Williams
    Christine Williams, Senior Director of Marketing

    Christine Williams is the Senior Director of Marketing and brings 15 years of travel marketing experience to Marcus Hotels & Resorts. She is responsible for marketing for the company's major restaurants and SafeHouse brand.

    Prior to joining Marcus, she held a number of marketing positions at Mark Travel Corporation, beginning as an Associate Manager and rising to Senior Marketing Manager for Funjet Vacations, overseeing operations and marketing of the southern U.S. markets.

    Williams received a B.S. degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1991. She later earned an M.S. degree in Management, with an eBusiness concentration, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

  • Kevin Gallagher
    Kevin Gallagher, Senior Director of Project Management

    Kevin Gallagher joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts in January, 2004 as Resort Manager and then promoted to General Manager of the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa where he was involved in several large capital projects, including the building of the Grand Entry and the Grand Geneva Conference Center. In July, 2007 Gallagher was promoted to Operations Project Manager, responsible for supporting all construction and renovation projects throughout the Marcus Hotels portfolio. Through Gallagher's leadership from 2007 – 2011, more than 55 projects have been completed. The Grand Geneva Resort & Spa underwent a $15 million renovation, including guestrooms, pool and lobby in 2010. More recently, Gallagher oversaw the completion of an $11.5 million multi-phase renovation of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, including guestrooms, lobby area, public spaces, fitness center and more. This renovation assisted in the Hilton Milwaukee receiving the AAA four diamond rating for the first time in the hotel's history. Prior to his tenure at Marcus, Gallagher held various General Manager positions for Adam's Mark Hotels and Resorts. During this time with Adam's Mark Hotels Gallagher was involved in multiple renovation and new build projects including the building of the 1,850 room Adam's Mark Dallas.

    A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Gallagher has a passion for hospitality management, and creating memorable guest experiences. The achievement of an exceptional guest experience through outstanding service and thoughtful design has been Gallagher's mission.

    Gallagher and his wife enjoy cheering for their two sons and daughter in various sporting activities, including basketball, skating and soccer. Golf is also a passion, when work and family do not take priority.

  • Mark McDonald
    Mark McDonald, Corporate Director of Event Management

    Mark McDonald is Corporate Director of Event Management for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. He is responsible for leading event teams for the company’s entire portfolio across the U.S. Mark has been with the Marcus Hotels & Resorts for more than 20 years.

    McDonald has held various positions within Marcus Hotels & Resorts, including the roles of Director of Banquet Operations at The Pfister Hotel and Director of Event Management at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. Mark most recently served as the Regional Director of Event Management for the Milwaukee market, which included the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, InterContinental Milwaukee, and The Pfister Hotel.

    In his free time, McDonald volunteers with the Vince Lombardi Foundation and Menomonee Falls Little League. He also enjoys coaching baseball, boating, golfing and spending time with his family.

    McDonald and his wife Rachel have two children, Jacob and Megan. They reside in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

  • Will Geissel
    Will Geissel, Corporate Director of Procurement

    Will Geissel joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts in September 2012 to direct the centralized procurement function for our division. Geissel brings with him a thorough knowledge and passion for the hospitality industry. His oversight includes standardizing and measuring company wide F&B, and Contract Services program.

    Geissel has years of property, corporate, and group purchasing experience. He was the Director of Purchasing at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale and the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton. He was also a Regional Director of Purchasing in multiple regions and Director of Procurement Services for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, as well as Director of Sales for BuyEfficient. Geissel's purchasing style focuses on transparency, collaboration, and measurement/metrics. His mentor within the industry taught him that ”Data is Power.”

    Geissel attended Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA for Business Management where he also played basketball.

    Geissel and his wife Audrey currently reside in the Milwaukee area. Both of their children Cole & Lauren attend the University of Iowa. Geissel's outside interest include biking with his wife, playing golf, spending time with his children, and attending Hawkeye football games (tailgating).

  • John Hendricks
    John Hendricks,
    Division Controller

    John Hendricks, CPA, is the Division Controller for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. He is responsible for overseeing daily accounting operations for the entire hotel division.

    Hendricks joined Marcus Hotels & Resorts as director of accounting in 2015 and has been instrumental in major accounting improvements for the company. He also assisted in the company’s conversion to a new fiscal year in 2016.

    Hendricks graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater with a master’s degree in professional accountancy and a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He also serves as a big brother as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee.


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