10 Smart Moves at Visit Santa Cruz, Benchmark, Turtle Bay Resort, Westgate Park City and More

Laura Manriquez Laura Manriquez

Visit Santa Cruz County (VSCC) in California has hired Laura Manriquez as the new director of sales and marketing. She brings more than eight years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry and will focus on management of sales and marketing programs for group travel. She will target two primary markets: corporate group meetings and international tourism travel trade.


Jim KoutskyJim Koutsky

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels named Jim Koutsky director of finance for Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, West Virginia. He brings vast experience in financial operations at multiple resorts, including as chief financial officer for Visionary Destin, a resort and property management company in Destin, Florida. He attended Florida Southern College in Orlando.


Barret De SantosBarrett De Santos

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels hired Barrett De Santos as director of leisure sales for Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. He brings 35 years of experience in the Hawaiian hospitality industry. He previously held the position of area director of domestic and international sales for Highgate Hotels Hawaii. He attended Leeward Community College and Travel Academy.


Philipp KnuepferPhilipp Knuepfer

Mandarin Oriental, Boston, appointed Philipp Knuepfer general manager of the five-star hotel. Originally from Bonn, Germany, he received a degree in hotelmanagement from International School for Hotel and Catering Business in Munich. His prior roles include hotel manager of Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C., and Mandarin Oriental, Taipei where he served an instrumental role in opening. He started his career with Kempinski Hotels in Germany and has 15 years of global hospitality experience.

Ivan RuizIvan Ruiz

Westgate Park City Resort & Spa, a premier Utah resort, announced that Ivan Ruiz is now serving as food and beverage director and executive chef. In his new role, he will oversee the resort’s food and beverage operations including marketplace and banquet operations, and the two award-winning restaurants. For the past eight years, he worked with Carlson Hotels launching and managing restaurant and banquet operations. He received his education from Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona.

Felipe FacchinFelipe Facchin

Felipe Facchin was hired as chef de cuisine of Edge Steakhouse at Westgate Park City Resort & Spa in Utah. Born in Brazil, Facchin has 10 years of experience starting from dishwasher. He came to the United States to pursue a culinary arts career and has since spent most of his career in Park City, learning techniques in fine dining. He lives by the culinary philosophy of sourcing as many local ingredients as possible and incorporating influences from his Brazilian upbringing and Italian heritage.

Frits HannenbergFrits Hannenburg

Newly opened The Shore Club Turks and Caicos named Frits Hannenberg general manager. The hotel was unveiled in December under Hannenberg’s leadership. He oversaw pre-opening and opening development and strategy; project management and budget and hiring strategy. He brings 15 years of luxury resort and hotel experience to his role and received his degree from Hotel Management School Maastricht in the Netherlands.


John KurtzweilJohn Kurtzweil

The Special Event Company, a North Carolina-based event and meeting management company, named John Kurtzweil chief financial officer. He brings 19 years of experience in a CFO role for multiple companies, including Cree and Extreme Networks. He will work closely with CEO Sally Webb as the international company expands the scope and scale of its operations.


Jordan BarnettJordan Barnett

St. Regis Atlanta resort appointed Jordan Barnett executive chef. He has served in many culinary positions, including chef de partie and executive sous chef and has over a decade of experience. In 2014 and 2015 he received the Four Diamond Award and was nominated for the Marriott International Rising Star Award. In his role, Barnett will oversee all culinary initiatives, including operations at Astor Court and The St. Regis Bar, in-room dining, and banquets and catering.


Robert DorrRobert Dorr

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels named Robert Dorr director of sales and marketing for The Chattanoogan in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He previously served as director of sales and marketing for The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center and has held multiple positions at Westin, Hilton, Sheraton and Dolce properties. Dorr received his education in hotel and restaurant management from Paul Smith’s College in New York.



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