2024 Executive Vendor Summit Speakers

Walter Isenberg, Co-Founder and CEO

Education Session #1

Walter Isenberg is an award-winning hotelier, restauranteur, and place-maker with a deep understanding of how to create places people go to, not through. As co-founder and CEO of Sage Hospitality Group, Walter directs the efforts of Sage’s four companies – Sage Hotel Management, Sage Restaurant Concepts, Sage Investments, and Sage Studio. Since starting the company in 1984 with Zack Neumeyer, Walter has led Sage with heart and has truly become the embodiment of loving what you do and loving who you do it with. Over the last four decades, Walter’s leadership has helped shape and grow Sage into a company known throughout the industry as a leader in hotel and restaurant operations, real estate investment, development, placemaking, strategic design and brand building. Walter’s career in hospitality includes not only a long history of successfully operating hotels across the country but also dozens of major adaptive reuse projects that have transformed neighborhoods, like the complete renovation of Denver’s historic Union Station. Now, he is leading Sage forward into its next chapter with a focus on significant urban mixed-use developments and continuing to build Sage’s brands while furthering the company’s purpose of enriching lives, one experience at a time. A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Walter is a member of the American Hotel Lodging Association (AHLA) Board of Directors Executive Committee and has served on several brand Owner Advisory Boards. Among his many accolades, he was honored with the 2023 ULI Colorado Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2020 Most Admired CEO Pinnacle Award by the Denver Business Journal, and the 2017 Hospitality Design Platinum Circle Award. He and his wife Christie received the 2019 Community Enrichment Award from Denver’s Mizel Institute, honoring their many outstanding contributions to the local community. Walter was also inducted into Denver & Colorado’s Tourism Hall of Fame, which is the highest award given by Denver’s travel industry. Passionate about giving back to the community and teaching the next generation of great leaders, he currently serves on the boards of Visit Denver, The Downtown Denver Partnership, and Colorado Concern.

Zach Plener, Director, Mergers & Acquisitions, Jonas Hospitality, a Division of Constellation Software

Educational Session #3 – The Investor View of the World Panel – Four Square Ballroom

I have had the pleasure of working at Jonas for three years as Director of Mergers & Acquisitions. Prior to my current role, I worked at PwC in their audit and tax practice, where I developed my skillset of financial analysis, due diligence, and strategic planning. Over the past three years with Jonas, I have successfully closed 7 acquisitions, five of which with a core focus on the Hospitality industry. My role requires me to use my background in finance and strategic advisory to navigate the complex landscape of vertical market software acquisitions and work to drive growth and success within these investments. We approach each acquisition opportunity with honesty, transparency, and a commitment to helping sellers and business owners smoothly navigate this monumental change in their lives. As trusted advisors, our aim is to create the ideal “forever home” for the businesses we are fortunate to acquire, emphasizing continued growth while preserving the culture and relationships you have built with both customers and employees. I am eager to share my M&A insights and best practices with my peers and hospitality professionals. Come say hello - I’d love to learn more about your business!

Shawn McGowan, General Partner, Equality Asset Management

Educational Session #3 – The Investor View of the World Panel – Four Square Ballroom

Shawn has more than twenty five years of operating experience and has extensive experience in software and tech enabled service companies. Shawn was formerly the CTO and COO of Newmarket International and most recently was CEO of Scribe Software. Shawn Co-Founded Equality Asset Management inspired by the idea of working with a collection of diverse and talented companies. He believes companies excel for their team members, customers and investors when they balance their focus on Product, Operations, Commercials, and Culture.

James Filsinger, Ponterra Business Advisors

James has nearly 30 years of experience in the technology industry. As Managing Director at Ponterra, he works closely with clients to effectively evaluate, operationalize, and prepare the business for a value-driven exit, up to and including the due diligence and close process. He has been the CEO of three unique travel technology companies, leading two (Yapta and EZYield) through very successful, high value exits. James also spent nearly nine years on the buy-side at Sabre, acquiring companies on behalf of its Airline Solutions business. James holds an MBA and a BA in Accounting, both from Washington State University.

Jonathan Weibrecht, Partner, AGC Partners

Jonathan, a Partner at AGC Partners, has over 15 years of experience in investment banking and investment management where he has provided strategic advice to a wide range of public and private technology and operating companies in the travel & hospitality tech, proptech, fintech, real estate, gaming, lodging and leisure industries. He was previously a senior banker at Moelis & Company in the Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging Group where he worked with both technology and operating companies covering this sector. Jonathan also worked as Head of Capital Markets at Harbor Platform, Inc. a real estate focused fintech and was a founding partner of Mirror Lake Capital Partners, an independent advisory firm focused on real estate companies. Over the course of his career, Jonathan has executed over 25 strategic transactions for clients having an aggregate value of over $12 billion. Jonathan received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis and earned his MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University where he graduated with distinction.

Max Rayner, Partner, Hudson Crossing

Educational Session #4

Max is an accomplished technology and product executive with more than 30 years of experience with leading technology and travel & hospitality companies. Max has led some of the largest hotel chain technology RFPs, major private equity and strategic buyer transactions, and new product introductions for technology vendors. Prior to joining Hudson Crossing in 2012, Max served as TravelClick’s SVP of Product Engineering & General Manager for Reservations Solutions, leading a team focused on hotel distribution and SaaS e-commerce solutions. Max also served as CTO at Travelzoo, EVP of Products & Services and CIO at Internet security company SurfControl, VP of Systems Architecture at Salesforce.com, and Director of Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence at Sun Microsystems. Max was born in Africa and educated in Europe and the United States. He has an M.B.A. in Finance from UCLA and is based in Palo Alto, California.

Cindy Estis Green, CEO & co-founder, Kalibri Labs

Speaker - Educational Session #5 – The Age of Digital Disruption and the Economics of Hotels -

Cindy Estis Green is the CEO and co-founder of Kalibri Labs, a next generation benchmarking and analytics company that has built the most robust database of hotel performance in the U.S. and uses data science techniques to evaluate and predict hotel revenue performance. Estis Green is a thought leader and frequent speaker on hospitality distribution and commercial strategy having written many books and studies on the topic that explain and anticipate how digital disruption will impact the economics of hotels. Estis Green’s background include roles as a corporate brand marketing executive, hotel general manager and founder and leader of two successful data analytics companies.

Erin Snodgrass, Foster Garvey

Speaker - Educational Session #5 – Legal Counsel: AI & Hospitality: Opportunities, Challenges and Practical Tips – Four Square Ballroom

Representing several of the travel industry's most prominent companies, Erin adds new capabilities and depth to the top tier Foster Garvey Hospitality, Travel & Tourism team. Erin works closely with clients to develop privacy and data security compliance programs as well as social media and blogging programs, including creating internal and external policies for social media partners and contractors.

McLean Xavier, CIO, INNVest Hotels

Session - CIO Panel

McLean Xavier is the Chief Information Officer for INNVEST Hotels.

Christine Moffett, CIO, Kessler Collection

Session - CIO Panel Chief Information Officer, Kessler Collection

Christine Moffett is the Chief Information Officer with the Kessler Collection.

Gustaaf Schrils, CIO, Omni Hotels

Session - CIO Panel

Gustaaf Schrils is the Chief Information Officer for Omni Hotels & Resorts.

Michael Mahar, Senior Vice President, Head of Technology & Digital Products leading all Technology, Digital, and Data Strategies, Wyndham Hotels

Session - CIO Panel

Mike is representing Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest Franchise Hotel Company with more than 9200 hotels across 24 brands in more than 95 countries worldwide. Mike is currently serving as the Senior Vice President, Head of Technology & Digital Products leading all Technology, Digital, and Data strategies as well as the Wyndham AI Steering Committee co-chair. As a passionate leader, Mike has held many positions within Wyndham over his near 22 years of service. Mike has served in several critical roles in Wyndham’s transformation journey contributing to one of the fastest and expansive transformations in the industry; in recent years includes; migrating and closing 4 data centers to AWS, first ever industry CRS to 3rd party migration, PMS to 3rd party migration, a full digital transformation, a corporate SPIN, 4 acquisitions and the launch of a new Brand (ECHO) with several other major accomplishments in between. Mike leads with the common goal to; innovate, optimize, and achieve more through the growth and development of people. Mike originally from Canada now resides with his family in NJ.

Kevin Walters, CIO & VP Zachry Corporation

CIO Panel

Kevin is the Vice President and CIO at Zachry Corporation, responsible for providing IT leadership and developing a culture of innovation. His primary focus is on the delivery of IT infrastructure and services that align with the diverse business requirements of all Zachry Corporation business units, providing demonstrable value while maintaining an emphasis on usability, security and compliance. Kevin began his career at Zachry in 2001 as Application Development Manager. Kevin was with Citibank prior to joining Zachry, where he led multiple development teams most notably in the development of remote banking solutions and data warehousing. Kevin has enjoyed a diverse set of roles throughout his career with Zachry, culminating in the opportunity to build the IT Department for Zachry Corporation from the ground up following the Zachry re-organization in 2008. This effort has included the merging of several business units under a common technology support strategy. Primary among these businesses involved in the technology merger have been Zachry Construction Corporation, Capitol Aggregates and Zachry Hospitality. Kevin is a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in Computer Science, class of 1991. Kevin lives in San Antonio Texas with his wife Vicki and his two Labrador Retrievers Callaway and Oliver. Kevin is an avid cyclist and enjoys playing golf and swimming.

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