Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association Elects 2013 Officers


The Metropolitan Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association recently elected its slate of officers to serve in 2013, and the group now ramps up for a busy year, including the 14th annual MMHLA Lodging Industry Update on Feb. 22 at the Hilton Memphis.

The association held its general election late last year, and the 2013 officers and board members were elected unanimously, according to MMHLA chairman Wayne Tabor, general manager at the Holiday Inn Select Downtown.

Mary Calorio, general manager at Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, is the association’s president for the fourth consecutive year, while Tabor remains as the MMHLA chairman, also for the fourth straight year.

“Mary is a great leader. She’s got a handle on the issues that the association is concerned about, and she’s very popular with our members,” said Tabor, who also served as MMHLA president for four years in the mid-2000s.

Tony Goebel, general manager at the Memphis Marriott Downtown, is this year’s MMHLA vice president. Tricia Weatherford, the general manager at the Residence Inn Downtown, is the secretary; Doug Owings, president of Owings Properties, is treasurer; and John Rucker, owner Key Magazine, is sergeant at arms.

MMHLA board members for 2013 are: Doug Browne, general manager at The Peabody hotel; Shawn Danko, owner of Kooky Canuck; Anne-Marie Famalette, general manager at Courtyard by Marriott Collierville; Mohamad Hakimian, owner of Unison Hotel Co.; Kevin Kane, CEO of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau; Bill Spencer, general manager of Hilton Memphis; Pierre Landaiche, general manager of Memphis Management Group and Memphis Cook Convention Center; Craig Marshall, general manager of Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis-Beale Street; Chuck Pinkowski, owner of Pinkowski and Co.; Radesh Palakurthi, director of the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality at the University of Memphis; and Rick Zurburg of R. A. Zurburg & Associates.

The MMHLA, whose executive director is Peggy Callahan, features more than 200 local business members, including roughly 120 allied services members and 80 hospitality industry execs. The group provides networking opportunities for its membership.

“Our main goal is to keep an eye on legislation both from a local standpoint regarding city, county and state issues that might affect our industry, and we do participate with the American Hotel & Lodging Association on national issues as well,” Tabor said.

One of the hot topics lately has been a wage theft ordinance that the MMHLA opposes.

“We took a lead role in opposing the ordinance, along with the Restaurant Association, in order to defeat it (by the Shelby County Commission on Jan. 7),” Tabor said. “It is coming up again in the City Council on Feb. 5, and we will oppose it there also.”

Other major issues for this year include national immigration laws, any increases in taxation and health department regulations.

Upcoming MMHLA events include the 14th annual Lodging Industry Update to be held on Feb. 22 at the Hilton Memphis along with a trivia night on Feb. 8 at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis. The industry update on Feb. 22 is expected to draw industry execs to the area from around the country.

The association is also getting set for its annual golf tournament that will be held at Cottonwood golf course in Tunica on June 19.

“It’s a big event for us since it benefits the hospitality education fund and political action committee,” Tabor said.

Later in the year, on Aug. 21 and 22 the MMHLA will host its 11th annual Hotel Lodging Summit, a two-day event that will feature workshops and speakers from around the country at the Cook Convention Center Downtown, as well as a dinner at The Peabody.

“The summit has grown into a national event, and all of the major hotels send representatives to our event,” Tabor said. “It’s our biggest and most successful event.”