Chief Executive Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Investment Officer
Chief Information Officer
Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations
Senior Vice President of Hotel Performance Support
Senior Vice President of Development
Senior Vice President of Employee Services
Vice President of Sales and Revenue Management
Vice President of Accounting Services
Vice President of Legal Services
Leadership Team"Our management team is built on solid core values and shares a common commitment to both our employees and our owners. The leaders of our hotels are able to minimize costs and maximize revenue because of their talented and dedicated team members, industry leading technology, solid brand and vendor partnerships, and strong support from our home office. Our commitment to asset preservation and maximizing value for our investors are the priorities of our highly capable teams. We have a deep bench of results-oriented leaders, experienced in full and select service hotel operations, sales and marketing, revenue management, centralized accounting, information and technology, PIP and capital management, including full-scale renovations." - Chris Russell
Chris Russell, Chief Executive Officer
The initial founding member of Pillar, Chris and his team started the in-house property management company for Archon Group L.P., a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. In addition to leading the growth of the management company, the business also supported the investment and asset management team at Archon in the acquisition, disposition and strategic growth of the hotel platform. Prior to joining Pillar, Chris was a partner and Chief Operating Officer of Dallas-based Prism Hotels where he led the growth of the management business. He has also held various leadership positions in operations, sales, and food and beverage at Bristol Hotels and Resorts, Four Seasons, and AIRCOA. Originally from New York, Chris holds a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and is former owner of an off-premise catering business. He is an active supporter of Texas Special Olympics and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, as well as past Vice-Chair of the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.
David Altshuler, Chief Financial Officer
David is responsible for the accounting and finance operations of Pillar Hotels and Resorts. David has served in this capacity since June 2008. During his tenure the number of hotels under management grew from 24 to 233. This growth was achievable by developing an accounting infrastructure that utilized information technology systems to automate and streamline a significant portion of the accounting process. Prior to joining Pillar, David held several senior financial leadership positions with Archon Group/Goldman Sachs, Countrywide Financial, and Lend Lease Real Estate Investments. David spent his early career in public accounting with KPMG rising to the position of Senior Manager. While at KPMG, David audited both public/privately owned service based companies, was a national instructor and served a two year assignment in Sydney, Australia. David is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Houston.
Rick Frank, Chief Investment Officer
Rick's primary responsibility is to help lead the growth of Pillar Hotels & Resorts new business opportunities; which includes third-party management and ancillary services, acquisitions, and new investment opportunities. Most recently, Rick was senior vice president overseeing acquisitions and asset management at Behringer Harvard, a real estate investment company. Prior to joining Behringer Harvard, he was a senior vice president within AEW's hospitality group where he was responsible for investment origination and asset management activities. Rick's additional past experience includes asset management with Olympus Real Estate Partners, and hotel operations for ITT Sheraton (later becoming Starwood). After graduating from Cornell and gaining his MBA from Fordham University, Rick began his career at Arthur Andersen, specializing in the real estate and hospitality industries.
Lance Kobza, Chief Information Officer
Lance is responsible for Information Technology at Pillar Hotels & Resorts, which includes hotel technology and Pillar’s enterprise applications and infrastructure technology. He joined Pillar in 2009 to assist in establishing the company as a leader in the hospitality industry for business intelligence capabilities, and he has held several roles in IT since then including Vice President of Application Services. Prior to joining Pillar, Lance’s career has been focused around IT and IT Consulting beginning with United Services Automobile Association (USAA) where he helped grow state-of-the-art eCommerce and insurance systems. He was also a manager at Hitachi Consulting where he focused on enabling companies to make better decisions using business intelligence and data integration technology solutions and he spent time in the full-service luxury resort business at Omni Hotels and Resorts as Director of Application Services. Lance has the privilege of leading a highly skilled and knowledgeable IT team at Pillar which embraces “Serving” in a “Service” industry. Lance holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University.
Dawna Comeaux, Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations
Dawna is responsible for hotel operations and revenue generation. With her support, the Pillar Hotels management team provides hands on operational leadership and engaged sales and revenue management guidance to maximize top line revenue and market share and produce strong financial results. She has 24 years of experience in the Hospitality industry. Her previous positions include 4 years as Regional Vice President with Prism Hotels and 14 years with Bristol Hotels, where she participated in the company's growth to more than 120 hotels at its peak. Dawna holds a BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Houston Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Dale Turner, Senior Vice President of Hotel Performance Support
Dale oversees key support functions in the home office providing leverage to the operations teams - to allow for focus on service, revenue and profitability. These functions include: performance metrics analysis and reporting, brand standards compliance/service tracking, purchasing and procurement, food & beverage support and consultation, risk management, engineering and asset preservation, business technology systems integration including oversight of the company's in-house IT group. With 37 years of experience in hotel operations, Dale joined Pillar Hotels & Resorts at its inception in 2005. His previous positions include President/Founder of Alliance Hospitality Management, LLC, which grew to 34 hotels in less than 90 days and peaked at 42 hotels under his management. Dale also held Regional VP of Operations positions with Bristol Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Worldwide overseeing operations of owned/managed full-service lodging assets in 20 of the top 25 US markets.
Phillip McNeill, Senior Vice President of Development
Phillip is responsible for managing all of the brand related Property Improvement Plan and cyclical renovation requirements for all of the hotels in the platform. In this role, Phillip manages an annual capital investment spend of $75-100 million. Previously, he served as Executive VP for Equity Inns - a REIT. He was involved in growing the company from 8 hotels with a value of $40 million to 138 hotels valued at approximately $2.2 billion. He has been involved in the acquisition, capital investment, development and management of hotels in excess of $3 billion. He was President of Trust Leasing (formerly McNeill Hotel Company) prior to joining Equity Inns. Phillip has over 25 years of experience in the Hospitality industry with extensive experience in capital projects and real estate development. Phillip holds a BA from the University of Memphis.
Jolynda Ward, Senior Vice President of Employee Services
Jolynda is responsible for all aspects of employee services including recruiting, training, on-going development, compensation and benefits. With over 20 years of experience in education and training, Jolynda is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). Prior to joining Pillar Hotels and Resorts, Jolynda spent over 12 years with Archon Group in a variety of roles. Jolynda holds a Bachelors degree from Texas A&M University.
Liz Uber, Vice President of Sales and Revenue Management
Liz leads Pillar Hotels & Resorts' sales and revenue management teams. As a group, they identify and implement strategies to maximize revenue with a strong focus on improving market share. Liz joined Pillar Hotels and Resorts in 2005 as the General Manager of the Holiday Inn Downtown in Atlanta, Georgia and was subsequently promoted to area roles including Area Director of Sales and Area Director of Operations. In 2010, Liz joined the revenue management team to further develop the department for greater performance and growth opportunities. Prior to joining Pillar Hotels and Resorts, Liz served in roles as an Area Director of Revenue Management and General Manager with Meyer Jabara Hotels and also as the General Manager of a historic hotel in New England for two years. Liz began her hotel career with Bristol Hotels & Resorts, and has worked in Human Resources, Housekeeping, Front Office, and Sales. Liz holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University.
Anita Evans, Vice President of Accounting Services
Anita is responsible for assisting with the oversight of the accounting operations of Pillar Hotels & Resorts. Anita has served in this capacity since March 2007 and assisted with the growth of the platform from 24 hotels to 237 hotels. Prior to joining Pillar, Anita served as an Accounting Manager and then Portfolio Controller of Interstate Hotels and Resorts for almost seven years. Anita has worked with several other management companies in accounting over the 20 plus years she has served in the hospitality industry including Bristol Hotels and Resorts, Medallion Hotels and Richfield Hospitality. Anita holds a degree in Accounting from Texas State University at San Marcos.
Susi Schmidt, Vice President of Legal Services
Susi’s responsibilities include handling legal related matters for the hotel properties (contracts, litigation, subpoenas, etc.) as well as assisting the properties with administration of the insurance and risk management at the hotel level and is a member of the Safety Committee. She was previously a member of the Archon Group Legal Team. Prior to joining the Pillar team, Susi spent 20 years with Prism Hotels as Senior Vice President. She has also worked with Park Suite Hotels as Secretary and Vice President of Administration and Brock Hotels in their investor relations and treasury department.