Chief Executive Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Information Officer
Executive Vice President of Hotel Operations
President, PHR Construction
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.
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, Executive 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.
Ben Wallace, President, PHR Construction
Ben began his career with InterMountain Management LLC as a Project Manager, overseeing new build construction projects. In 2009, he joined the asset management team where he worked closely with operations to ensure property assets were maintained to the highest standards. Ben also has experience with Emergency Capital and Planned Capital. In 2010, he started a subsidiary company, InterMountain Renovation Consultants (IRC) to offer third-party renovation services to owners and friends. Ben currently leads the growth of both PHR Construction and InterMountain Renovation Consultants.
Jolynda Ward, Senior Vice President of Employee Services
Jolynda champions Employee Services Initiatives in the areas of Talent Acquisition, Benefits, Employee Development, Risk and Compliance. Jolynda also leads the company’s efforts around charitable giving, sustainability and wellness. With over 20 years of experience in education and training, Jolynda is passionate about focusing on the company’s culture, organizational growth strategies and safety programs. She is a member of the HR Symposium, a collection of HR professionals from the Hospitality Industry and supports many local charities. Prior to joining Pillar Hotel & Resorts, Jolynda spent over 12 years with Archon Group in a variety of roles including the Director of Employee Relations. Jolynda holds a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her PHR certification from the Society for Human Resources Management.
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.