Dallas Hotel Conference Featuring panels and presentations from industry leaders

2018 Panelists and Presenters

Chuck Bedsole Headshot Photo
Chuck Bedsole
Managing Director
Alvarez & Marsal North America, LLC

As founder and global leader of A&M’s Hospitality & Leisure Advisory Services Group, Chuck Bedsole has more than 34 years of industry experience, including eight years with Big Four professional service firms and five years of corporate-level experience with hospitality companies in the areas of acquisitions, development, finance and marketing. He has substantial domestic and international experience with various hospitality asset types including lodging companies, hotels, mixed-use resort developments, hotel condominiums, interval ownership, all-inclusive resorts and marinas. He also has significant experience with residential, commercial and industrial projects in Latin America.

Mr. Bedsole's advisory experience includes interim management, strategic planning, asset management, due diligence, feasibility, valuation, marketing and financing engagements for multinational companies, capital sources, developers, financial institutions and governments in major markets in the United States, Caribbean, Europe and Latin America.



John Bourret Headshot Photo
John Bourret
Managing Director

Mr. Bourret is a Managing Director in the Dallas office of HFF and is primarily responsible for institutional-grade hotel and resort property sales, equity placements and structured finance advisory.

Mr. Bourret joined the firm in July 2006. During the course of his career with HFF, he has completed over $6.0 billion in commercial real estate transactions. Mr. Bourret is a member of the Urban Land Institute, and a member of the North Texas Hotel Development Council.

John Brennan Headshot Photo
John Brennan
Amaris Hospitality

John Brennan is Chairman of Amaris Hospitality and a strategic adviser to LRC Group on all its hospitality investments. John is the former CEO of Amaris Hospitality which on establishment in 2015 comprised 89 hotels, with 14,000 rooms and over 8,000 employees. Following a $180 million investment program and a series of other successful strategic initiatives, including the rebranding of 21 hotels, John led the successful sale of the portfolio to a range of leading international hotel investors, realizing over $2 billion for Amaris Hospitality’s shareholders.

Prior to that, as CEO of Jurys Inn Hotel Group, John restructured, repositioned and re-energized the Jurys Inn business over a six-year period, before leading its successful $1 billion sale to Lone Star in 2015.

John joined private equity firm Quinlan Private as Director of Hospitality in 2007, following 23 years with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, where he held a number of positions including Regional Vice President with responsibility for its hotels in Dublin, Prague and Budapest.

Robert Burg Headshot Photo
Robert Burg
President & Chief Operating Officer
Aimbridge Hospitality

Robert Burg has been with Aimbridge since 2003 and has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Mr. Burg is responsible for the overall operations, performance, owner relations and capital planning for all of the properties in the Aimbridge portfolio across 45 states and the Caribbean & Canada. His extensive experience and industry knowledge provide the foundation for the company’s core strength of producing superior results at top and bottom line.

Prior to joining Aimbridge, Mr. Burg was the Senior Vice President of Operations for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. While at Wyndham, Mr. Burg’s operational experience included luxury, full service, select service and extended stay. Mr. Burg was also the Senior Vice President for the Summerfield Suites brand, where he led the entire chain in operations, development, and revenue for the upscale, extended-stay product. Among his many accomplishments during his tenure, he created and implemented specific sales strategies that enabled the portfolio to increase market share and revenues.

Mr. Burg has a degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America. He currently serves on Hilton’s Operations Advisory Board for Embassy Suites and Starwood’s Owner Advisory Boards for Sheraton Hotels, Aloft and Element Hotels. Mr. Burg has also served on the Board of Directors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Brian Crawford Headshot Photo
Brian Crawford
SVP of Government Affairs
American Hotel & Lodging Association

Brian joined the association in February of 2014 after serving more than eight years as a senior staffer on Capitol Hill. In this role, Crawford leads the association’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and with key administration policymakers and stakeholders on priority issues including short-term rentals, workforce career development and technology and distribution. He also oversees the lodging industry’s largest political action committee, HotelPAC, ensuring that the association’s political voice is strong and united by investing in federal candidates who support the industry. Crawford came to AHLA following eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives, having served five as Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17). He previously served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Florida Congressman Ric Keller (FL-08) and held senior roles in other national trade associations.

Bruce Davidson
Bruce Davidson
Managing Director, Asset Management
Mosaic Real Estate Investors

Bruce Davidson is a Managing Director and Head of Asset Management. Mr. Davidson has more than 25 years of industry and real estate capital markets related experience specializing across asset management, acquisitions, finance, development, due diligence, workouts, and restructuring. Over his career, he has overseen $15B of lending and asset management activity. During the global financial crisis, Mr. Davidson led the disposition of the $10B Maiden Lane Commercial Real Estate Portfolio at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Prior to his experience at the Federal Reserve, Mr. Davidson built and led the hospitality construction lending business at WestLB bank. Most recently, Mr. Davidson served as Director of Real Estate Investments and Capital Markets at Linx Industries. Mr. Davidson has also served in numerous other senior level positions, including Director at Ackman-Ziff and Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal’s Hospitality and Leisure Group. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wagner College and attended the Real Estate Finance and Development Certificate Program at Monmouth University.

Leslie Hale Headshot Photo
Leslie Hale
President & CEO
RLJ Lodging Trust

Leslie Hale became the President and Chief Executive Officer of RLJ Lodging Trust in August 2018. She has served as RLJ’s Chief Operating Officer (since 2016), Executive Vice President, Real Estate & Finance (since 2013), and Chief Financial Officer (since 2007), after joining the company in 2005. In these roles, Ms. Hale has been key to RLJ’s investment decision-making and long-term strategic planning processes, overseen asset and corporate level transactions, and managed the investor relations, design/ construction and asset management functions.

Before joining RLJ, Ms. Hale held positions within General Electric Capital Corp., and was an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs & Co. She earned a BBA degree from Howard University (summa cum laude), and her MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Goldman Sachs and Robert F. Toigo Fellow.

Leslie currently serves on the Board of Directors of Macy’s, Inc. and as a trustee of Howard University.

Judy Hendrick Headshot Photo
Judy Hendrick
Chief Financial Officer
Aimbridge Hospitality

Judy Hendrick joined Aimbridge in 2008 with an extensive background in hospitality and banking. She currently oversees the company's debt and equity capital sourcing, structuring for acquisitions, development and redevelopment of hotels, management of all finances, cash management, real estate and partnerships, and plays a key role in guiding investment and business development strategies for Aimbridge.

Ms. Hendrick was previously Chief Investment Officer, Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasurer while at Wyndham International for 16 years. Prior to Wyndham, she held senior commercial loan officer positions in the Dallas offices of Chase Manhattan Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and First Republic Bank.

Ms. Hendrick holds a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University and an MBA in finance from the University of Texas at Dallas. She currently serves on several boards, including the American Hospitality & Lodging Association’s Women In Lodging Advisory Board; the Marriott Owners Advisory Council for Element; the American Heart Association Executive Leadership Team for Go Red for Women and co-chair of the 2019 Go Red for Women luncheon; and the Executive Committee of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce Executive Women's Roundtable. She is also the senior leadership team sponsor for Aimbridge Women’s Leadership program, W-Leads. She was a finalist for Dallas Business Journal’s CFO of the Year in 2015 and was named a Bisnow DFW Power Woman in 2014.

Mike Jaynes Head Shot
Mike Jaynes
Hall Structured Finance

Mike Jaynes has more than 30 years of commercial real estate experience. As president of HALL Structured Finance (HSF), he is directly responsible for loan originations and the asset management of HSF’s outstanding loans. Prior to rejoining HALL Group in 2000, Mr. Jaynes was with GE Capital Real Estate for more than seven years as vice president and program manager. At GE Capital Real Estate, Mr. Jaynes was responsible for the performance of equity and debt portfolios valued at over $2 billion and consisting of more than 240 multifamily, office, retail and hotel assets located throughout the U.S. Mr. Jaynes is a graduate of The Ohio State University, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a concentration in real estate.

Doug Kessler Head Shot
Doug Kessler
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ashford Hospitality Trust

Douglas Kessler is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ashford Hospitality Trust (AHT) and the Senior Managing Director of Ashford Inc. He also previously served as the President of Braemar Hotels & Resorts and Ashford Inc. Mr. Kessler has been with AHT since its formation, having led its IPO, and has served in various other capacities, including its Chief Operating Officer. He has spearheaded virtually all of Ashford's key initiatives.

Mr. Kessler has an extensive background with over 30 years of diverse experience across many real estate sectors and operating companies in terms of acquisitions, development, dispositions, finance, asset management, and capital markets. Over those years, Mr. Kessler has served on several corporate boards or executive committees, including both the AHT and BHR Boards of Directors. Previously, Mr. Kessler spent 10 years with Goldman Sachs' Whitehall Funds and five years with Trammell Crow.

Mr. Kessler earned both his MBA and his bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University.

Larry Kwon Head Shot
Larry Kwon
Managing Director
Moelis & Company

Larry Kwon is a Managing Director at Moelis & Company where he specializes in advising clients in the real estate, gaming, lodging and leisure industries. Mr. Kwon has over 15 years of investment banking experience, advising both companies and investors on a wide variety of corporate finance matters including M&A, recapitalizations and restructurings, and debt and equity capital raisings. Mr. Kwon advises on both U.S. and international transactions and has executed numerous cross-border transactions involving parties in Asia, Canada, Mexico and the Middle East. Prior to joining Moelis & Company, Mr. Kwon was a Vice President at Jefferies & Company in the Recapitalization & Restructuring Group and a Management Consultant at Accenture.

Daniel Lesser Head Shot
Daniel Lesser
President and Chief Executive Officer
LW Hospitality Advisors LLC

Daniel H. Lesser, President & CEO of LW Hospitality Advisors has for more than forty years specialized in real estate appraisals, economic feasibility evaluations, investment counseling, asset management, and transactional services of hotels, resorts, conference centers, casinos, mixed use facilities, spa & wellness, and timeshare/fractional ownership properties on a worldwide basis. Mr. Lesser provides services to corporate, institutional, municipalities, and individual clients on all facets of hospitality real estate including: litigation support and expert testimony, site evaluation, highest and best use analysis, appraisals for mortgage, acquisition, and portfolio management, workout strategies, operational analysis, property tax assessment appeal evaluations, economic impact studies, market and feasibility analysis, asset management, strategic planning, management company selection and contract negotiation, franchise company selection and license agreement negotiation, deal structuring and fairness opinions. As a leading international authority with iron clad credibility on the topic of hotel feasibility and property valuation, Mr. Lesser has testified as an expert witness in U.S. federal and state courts, and arbitrations in connection with a wide variety of matters including: bankruptcy related including solvency, valuation dispute, and interest rate and plan confirmation feasibility, analysis, brand area of protection, condemnation, construction defect and/or delay damages, ground/property rent reset, management dispute, partnership/joint venture conflict, property tax certiorari, and lodging industry standards, customs and practices to evaluate legal liability. Mr. Lesser has balanced his practice with service as neutral panelist in commercial arbitration disputes.

Cliff Risman Head Shot
Cliff Risman
Partner, Co-Chair, Hospitality & Leisure Team
Foley Gardere

Cliff Risman is a veteran business lawyer who represents companies that develop, own, operate and finance hotels around the world. He is described by clients in the Chambers USA Guide as "very practical and always accessible." Clients choose Cliff over competitors because he speaks the language and fully understands every aspect of their business – from securing capital, structuring deals and negotiating management contracts to guiding clients through labor, tax, food and beverage, and operational matters and disputes.

Cliff represents luxury and boutique hotel and resort brands, operators and management companies, developers, private equity and other investors in their highest profile projects. He understands how to best tackle the various agreements that arise in real estate law, knows the hospitality industry and its unique business and economic issues, and has guided clients through many complex matters and dispute resolutions. Cliff ensures that clients are protected, focuses intently on their broader business goals, and knows how, where and when to push to get the deal done as quickly as possible.

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