Doyle A. Graham, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of Valencia Hotel Group. After developing numerous nationally flagged hotels during the mid to late 1990s, Mr. Graham became the visionary behind what would become an award-winning collection of luxury hotels, all highly regarded as independent properties - developed, branded, owned, and operated by Valencia Hotel Group.
This collection of hotels has evolved to include unique properties, ranging from 5-star luxury high rises to local and retro-hotels, positioned as urban retreats. All of Valencia Hotel Group’s properties have been developed from the ground up. This has enabled the company to build a team of individuals who collectively possess a broad range of expertise, which spans all the disciplines required to finance, brand, design, develop, operate, and serve as managing partner for each of these unique hotels.
As the CEO of Valencia Hotel Group, it is Mr. Graham’s role and responsibility to continue to ensure that Valencia Hotel Group’s properties remain best in class within the industry, while also continuing to deliver a unique and memorable experience at each hotel. Prior to the founding of Valencia Hotel Group, Mr. Graham served as president of Eland Investment Corporation and as co-founder of Molke & Graham, Inc., both Houston-based private merchant banking firms. These companies were active in the energy, environmental, real estate, and hospitality industries.
Prior to forming Molke & Graham, Inc., Mr. Graham established an energy lending background with RepublicBank Dallas beginning in 1983. During this time, Mr. Graham was engaged in oil & gas lending and worked within RepublicBank Energy Finance Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the bank which specialized in mergers, acquisitions, and initial public offerings.
Mr. Graham graduated from Texas A&M University in 1981 with an undergraduate degree in economics. Mr. Graham also received a Master’s of Finance degree in 1983 from Texas A&M University.
Mr. Graham is involved in numerous religious, educational, medical, and charitable organizations.
Jeffrey S. Rawson serves as the Managing Director of Valencia Hotel Group. He has been responsible for the operational, finance, and administration facets of the company since 1999. He leads the way on lender, investor, and joint-venture partner relations, including sourcing and structuring debt and equity, negotiating and securing joint-venture opportunities, and managing any legal matters regarding the company in cooperation with the CFO. In addition, Mr. Rawson advises the President on matters of strategic importance for the company.
Mr. Rawson is also President of Merrick Capital Corporation. A Houston-based private equity investment company focused on various industries, including energy, transportation equipment, real estate, and banking. Beyond Merrick, Mr. Rawson also serves as an adviser to a number of closely held enterprises, family trusts, and wealthy individuals. He maintains a strong working relationship with many local, national, and international banks. He is a member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and is involved with a number of charities, including Eagle Ranch for Boys and Girls, Houston: reVision, Ronald McDonald House Houston, The Women’s Home and Small Steps Nurturing Center.
Mr. Rawson graduated from the University of Florida with a BSBA in International Trade and Economics. He served his country in the United States Air Force from 1968 to 1972 and is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
John Keeling is primarily responsible for sourcing and vetting both hotel acquisitions and hotel development projects for Valencia Hotel Group. He also participates on the firm’s Executive Committee. He brings 30+ years of experience in hotel management, asset management, brokerage, appraisal, development consulting, and strategic planning to Valencia.
Mr. Keeling is a noted lecturer, teacher, author, and authority on hotel matters and is frequently sourced by respected industry trades, business journals, and newspapers. He received his BA from UCLA, MBA in Hotel Management from Michigan State University, and MA in Theology from the University of St Thomas in Houston. Previous positions included Senior Vice President of PKF Consulting, Partner with Laventhol & Horwath, and Manager with Marriott International. He served as an infantry squad leader with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam where he earned the Purple Heart and Navy Commendation with Combat “V.”
Mr. Keeling has lectured numerous times at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston and lectures on hotel design and serves on the student project review panel at the Rice University School of Architecture. In 2008 he was named an honorary alumnus of the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston. In 2015 Mr. Keeling was inducted into the Michigan State University School of Hospitality Business Hall of Fame as an Alumnus of the Year.
Keeling’s numerous professional and social memberships include The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE); The Appraisal Institute (MAI); the Hotel Development Council of the Urban Land Institute; the Real Estate Development Advisory Council for the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University; the Board of Advisors at the Boutique & Lifestyle Leadership Association; the Board of Directors of Visit Houston (CVB); former Chairman and current member of the Executive Committee of the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston. He has earned the Certified Hotel Industry Analyst (CHIA) designation from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.
David A. Miller joined Valencia Hotel Group in January 2008 as its Chief Financial Officer. As CFO, Mr. Miller leads all aspects of the company’s financial activities, including accounting and reporting, strategic financial planning and analysis, commercial and legal compliance, internal controls, treasury management and project finance, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures, risk management, tax, and stakeholder relations. He is integral to project development through presentations to prospective business partners, advising on deal structure and document negotiations and feasibility analyses.
Prior to joining Valencia Hotel Group, Mr. Miller was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Integrated Electrical Services, Inc. (“IES”), a $1 billion NASDAQ listed electrical contracting solutions provider to the commercial, industrial, residential and service markets. Mr. Miller was at IES from 1998 to 2007. During his tenure at IES, Mr. Miller held several positions, including Chief Accounting Officer and Controller. While at IES, Mr. Miller led all aspects of the finance function, guided the company through a restructuring of the company’s capital structure, integrated and advised on over 70 acquisitions and divestitures, and negotiated numerous capital markets transactions.
Prior to 1998, Mr. Miller worked for Houston Cellular Telephone Company (now AT&T) in private industry and began his career in public accounting at Arthur Andersen LLP.
Mr. Miller holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. Mr. Miller is a Certified Public Accountant.
Scott Williams joined Valencia Hotel Group in 2012 as Executive Vice President of Development and Construction. In this position, Mr. Williams directs development, entitlement, design, and construction activities for the company. He has more than 35 years of increasingly complex construction, project management, and real estate development experience. He has managed projects ranging from $1 million to more than $300 million for The Walt Disney Company, Castle & Cooke, and Texas A&M University. His project management skills have been utilized on dozens of high-profile projects successfully. The list of projects include the development and construction of multiple hospitality/hotel venues, multi-family residential complexes, large entertainment projects, and aviation facilities. He has expert management skills in the leadership of multi-disciplined project teams in various geographies.
Mr. Williams has directly managed project work exceeding $2.2 billion in construction value. He has completed projects such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach Water Park, and Disney-MGM Studios and, while he was working at Castle & Cooke, worked in California as Vice President of Development for Castle & Cooke from 2004 through 2007 where he directed real estate development activities on the West Coast. He is highly skilled at both hands-on design, as well as project and construction management. He has the ability to rapidly develop and modify projects based on the local economic need, environmental sensibilities, and unique market circumstances. He is a proven leader and expert in his area of expertise. Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and has completed post-graduate work in contract management from The University of California – Irvine. He has held memberships in the Urban Land Institute, Association of University Real Estate Officials, and The Association of General Contractors.
Roy A. Kretschmer is Vice President of Operations for Valencia Hotel Group. Mr. Kretschmer joined Valencia Hotel Group in 2001 as the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s opening General Manager and has more than 20 years of experience in the luxury, lifestyle, boutique markets.
Mr. Kretschmer began his career in 1990 with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as a corporate recruit and spent nearly five years in various progressive management positions. In 1994, Mr. Kretschmer joined the La Mansion Del Rio Hotel, an independent Preferred luxury hotel on the San Antonio River Walk, and served as the Rooms Division Manager.
Mr. Kretschmer became the Assistant General Manager of the Plaza San Antonio Marriott (formerly Four Seasons San Antonio). In 1999, the Plaza was recognized as the top-rated Marriott in customer service and overall satisfaction in the South Central U.S. market.
Prior to joining Valencia Hotel Group, Mr. Kretschmer was the Director of Rooms at the Omni Houston Hotel (formerly the Four Season Inn on the Park), recruited specifically to regain the AAA Five Diamond designation, which was achieved that very year. Also, during his tenure, the hotel was awarded the top score for customer service in the company as measured by J.D. Power & Associates and achieved one of the highest employee satisfaction results measured through a company-wide survey. In response to these achievements, he was designated to lead a service training initiative program throughout the country at various other Omni Hotels.
Mr. Kretschmer graduated from the Honors Program of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from their renowned College of Hotel Administration.
Ms. Shults participates in all aspects of projects, from pre-development to design and construction. She is responsible for prospective project evaluation and analysis, competitive market analysis, and implementation of detailed investment and financial analysis on a variety of deal types and structures at various stages (acquisition, construction, refinancing). She prepares and supervises the analysis for development pro formas, market forecasts, acquisitions, loan refinancings, and cash flow projections. Ms. Shults also plays an integral role in market assessments, site assessments, and other due diligence related to site acquisition and development feasibility. She helps with the sourcing and structuring of debt and equity in addition to managing investor relations.
Before coming to the hospitality industry, Ms. Shults held positions in trading and risk analytics at Enron Corp, Duke Energy, and PG&E Energy Trading.
Ms. Shults holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Tulane University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Rice University.
Brandi Montgomery serves as Vice President of Branding and Design for Valencia Hotel Group. Ms. Montgomery joined Valencia Hotel Group in January 2008. As VP of Branding and Design, Ms. Montgomery is recognized for her diversified strengths and plays a valuable role in all aspects of the development process, from concept design to construction administration, with concentrated efforts on architectural finishes and the interior design detail throughout the project.
Ms. Montgomery is known for her creative thinking, ability to capture a sense of place, and creating brand identity throughout each project. She brings extensive knowledge in furniture design and FF&E specifications to Valencia Hotel Group and has a keen ability on being able to match the appropriate resources to a project. Ms. Montgomery works closely with Architects, various Designers, Branding experts, Purchasing Agents as well as Valencia Hotel Group’s Development Team to ensure the overall vision is carried through development.
Upon her joining Valencia Hotel Group in 2008, Brandi has overseen the design and brand identity for multiple projects, including Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE – Houston, TX, Lone Star Court – Austin, TX, Cavalry Court – College Station, TX, Texican Court – Irving, TX, Hotel Alessandra – Houston, TX and the renovations of Hotel Valencia Santana Row – San Jose, CA and Hotel Valencia Riverwalk – San Antonio, TX.
Wendy Norris is the Vice President of Marketing & Revenue Optimization for Valencia Hotel Group with 20+ years of experience in the hospitality industry. The majority of her experience is in the upscale and luxury lifestyle independent hotel market. She is responsible for leading the development and implementation of strategies for revenue management, distribution, loyalty programming, and digital marketing initiatives for all hotels within the company’s portfolio.
Wendy’s leadership has resulted in consistent achievement of budgeted revenue, profit goals, expense management, and consistent RevPAR and ADR growth. She is heavily involved with her hotel leadership counterparts in identifying future markets and hotel opportunities and creating the hotel sales strategy and pricing for transient and group for all prospective and current properties in the Valencia Hotel Group.
Wendy has formed a high performance, diverse, and cross-functional revenue team. Through utilization of her knowledge in revenue management, she has been able to educate team members to ensure understanding of revenue management principles. Her process, which encompasses demand, revenue, forecasting, opportunity analysis, and inventory management, is designed to develop and drive revenues and ensure optimal profitability. With the oversight of the digital marketing initiatives, the team is constantly focused on the strategic brand development with a balanced approach to acquisition and revenue to create greater visibility and exposure for the properties and the Valencia Hotel Group brand.
To accomplish goals, her team leverages the use of advanced analytics for price positioning, predictive modeling, and channel distribution in an effort to optimize top-line revenue, control distribution costs, drive owner profits and gain market share. Wendy also represents company interests in industry-wide forums and initiatives pertaining to the areas of Distribution, Digital, and Revenue Management, and oversees all negotiations within the Digital, Distribution, and Revenue portfolio.
Wendy holds certifications for Certified Hospitality Revenue Management Executive (CRME), Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer (CDHM), and a Certification in Predictive Index Analyst.
When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending some of her free time traveling with her husband to watch her two college children play soccer and perform in marching shows during football games.
Trent Freeman, Vice President of Operations, with Valencia Hotel Group, is responsible for various aspects of hotel operations for all properties, heavily involved in standardizing procedures, with a passion for training and employee development. He brings 25 years of experience in luxury and upper-upscale hotels, having worked previously with Peabody Hotels and Resorts, Omni Hotels and Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Joining Valencia Hotel Group in 2011, Trent has held various positions in the Company, including Director of Food and Beverage, Director of Operations, General Manager of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk and most recently as Director of Operations Development & Quality Assurance.
Trent holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas State University and a Master of Hospitality Management from Conrad N. Hilton School at the University of Houston.
James Watts is the Vice President of Information Technology for Valencia Hotel Group. He is responsible for planning and overseeing the Technology future for the organization, as well as the implementation and maintenance of current systems. He has helped to oversee various successful projects from hotel renovations, Low voltage infrastructure designing, migration to the cloud via Tier 2 Datacenters helping to streamline and creating efficiency for the company's data and Hotel properties. He works hand in hand with the CFO, Development, and Hotel Operations teams to coordinate the success of a portfolio of award-winning boutique hotels.
Mr. Watts joined Valencia Hotel Group in August 2006. Prior, he headed up a Network Operations Center at FSN (NewsCorp) Master Control, taught Electronics and Networking classes at MTI College of Business and Technology, and was part of the Energy Systems Division, Power and Propulsion (EP) team at Johnson Space Center. He was a founding instructor at GenesysWorks (nonprofit), as well as currently a Technology Board member of Ronald McDonald House, Houston.
Mr. Watts holds a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston. He also has various field certifications such as MCSE, MCSA, MCDBA, MCP, and Network +.
Curt Greer is the Director of Quality Assurance and Procurement for Valencia Hotel Group. Mr. Greer Joined Valencia Hotel Group in 2017 after retiring from Drury Hotels after 26 years.
Mr. Greer began his career in the hospitality industry in 1986, overseeing engineering for two award-winning hotels in San Antonio. The Comfort Inn and Suites. Soon promoted to the General manager of one of the hotels. After five years with the Choice franchise, he joined the Drury family of hotels. During his tenure with Drury, he opened and operated several different franchise brands that the company-owned as well as the Drury Owned properties. Some of the properties that he opened and operated as the GM were the Hampton Inn and Suites, Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Best Western Plus, Drury Inn and Suites, and the Drury Plaza on The San Antonio Riverwalk.
Various experiences and roles were obtained during his 26 years with Drury hotels. He opened and operated three hotels for the Drury Family as General manager for many years. From the smallest hotels early in his career to the largest award-winning flagship properties the chain had to offer on the the San Antonio Riverwalk. Also, during his tenure, in addition to General Manager, he was also a Regional Sales Manager and Regional Operations manager over numerous properties for a combination of 9 additional years.
Now proud to join the Valencia Hotel Group and contribute the many years of experience of various franchises and types of hotels to assist in the Valencia Hotel Group as the Director of Quality Assurance and Procurement for the company.
Marcus is the Corporate Director of Operations – Courts Division. He is responsible for overseeing the overall hotel operations of the Courts Hotels. Working directly with the General Managers, he oversees the operations, hotel condition, safety, financials, standards of operations, and enhancement of properties. Marcus works on future Courts Hotels with the development team to open hotels and establish operations, procurement of guest supplies, hiring, and functioning of hotels.
Marcus started with Valencia Hotel Group in 2003 as part of the opening team for Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX, as a valet attendant and bellman. Through the years, Marcus earned experience in many line level and management positions working in various departments of the hotel, including housekeeping, guest services, front office, sales, food and beverage, accounting, and executive team. This experience allowed him to earn advancement in the company and become a General Manager and Corporate Director. Marcus has been part of several opening teams for Valencia Hotel Group, having assisted in opening seven hotels with the development team. Marcus opened the first Courts Hotel in 2013, Lone Star Court in Austin, TX, as the General Manager, then moved on to open up Cavalry Court and The George Hotel in College Station, TX as the General Manager, assisted in opening Texican Court in Irving, TX and Cotton Court in Lubbock, TX as Director of Operations.
Marcus holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The University of Texas in Austin and a Master’s degree in Business Communications from Monmouth University in New Jersey.
Ericka Lemus is the Corporate Director of Human Resources and is responsible for the strategic direction of the Human Resource function across the company and the integration of best practices among all properties.
Ericka is also responsible for the administration, management, and supervision of each of the hotel property's Human Resources Department. She directs, supervises, manages, and oversees the activities, including, but not limited to: employment and benefits, compensation, training, and staff development, legal compliances, and Human Resources policy/procedures administration. Across all Valencia Hotel Group properties, she ensures we are in compliance with safety standards, worker's compensation, confidentiality and privacy issues, and proactive discipline administration. Through Human Resource strategic planning, Ericka champions the employee recognition and award programs and serves as the management/employee consultant and advisor for human resources issues.
Ericka has been with Valencia Hotel Group since 2002, and prior to joining, she was the Account Manager for a Marketing/Promotion agency in Mexico City for which she was responsible for accounts such as PEPSI, SONY, and Frito Lay.
Ericka holds a Bachelor's degree in Marketing with a post grade diploma in Quality and Productivity. She is PHR certified and is a Certified Human Resources Generalist.
Nancy Alonzo is the Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing for Valencia Hotel Group. She is responsible for overseeing the direct sales of group, individual, and banquet/catering revenue as well as individual property marketing for the Valencia Hotel Group portfolio. Additionally, Nancy serves as the Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE’ s Director of Sales and Marketing.
Nancy brings with her over 22 years of management experience in the luxury and upscale market of the hospitality industry with the majority of time spent under the Franchise sector of STARWOOD Hospitality. Before joining Valencia Group, Nancy was the Director of Sales and Marketing for the AAA Five Diamond, Joule Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
Safet Dokara, Director of Operations with Valencia Hotel Group, is primarily responsible for managing the operations of Valencia Hotel Group’s luxury brands. He brings 20 years of experience in luxury and upper-upscale hotels. Mr. Dokara began his career with Omni Hotels & Resorts in 2001 and quickly grew through the ranks to the executive level.
He joined Valencia Hotel Group in 2013 and has contributed greatly to Valencia’s record of accomplishment in guest satisfaction. With his transformational and hands-on leadership style, Safet was instrumental in leading multiple hotel operations teams to achieve top service scores in their respective markets by Condé Nast Traveler and TripAdvisor while accomplishing budgeted financial goals. He is passionate, engaging, customer-centric, and performance-driven with years of management experience in luxury hospitality operations.
Safet is instrumental in the VHG Operations development team, where he applies years of experience in luxury environments to help develop training and processes to enhance service and reinforce VHG's well-known service culture.