Valencia Property Management Team
Valencia Property Management Team
Comprised of a talented and experienced group of individuals and hotel management consultants, Valencia Group’s hotel management team brings a unique blend of expertise and insight to each client. Our talent and hard work is reflected in the success of our hotels. To learn more about our inspired hotel management company's team, read our bios below.
Doyle A. Graham Jr., President and CEO
Doyle A. Graham, Jr., is the founder, President and CEO of Valencia Group, a privately-held corporation focusing on the acquisition, development and management of hotel properties. As the visionary and inspiration behind the award-winning, European-influenced, luxury brand, Mr. Graham formed an experienced team to create these properties in premium markets in gateway cities with high barriers to entry. The first hotel to open under Valencia Group was Hotel Valencia Riverwalk located on the banks of the renowned River Walk in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Concurrent with the opening of the River Walk hotel was Hotel Valencia Santana Row, located in the heart of the Silicon Valley in San Jose, California and has been labeled as the crown jewel of the 42-acre mixed-use development, Santana Row.
In 2009, Valencia Group expanded it’s portfolio with the Sorella brand. Sorella – Italian for sister– is positioned as the precocious sibling to Valencia Group’s Valencia brand. Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE in Houston, Texas became the first of the Sorella brand. Chic and modern, Sorella blends timeless elements of classic design with Mediterranean influences. In November 2013, Valencia Group announced the first expansion of the Sorella brand in Kansas City – Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza.
The newest addition to the collection is Lone Star Court in Austin, TX. This is Valencia Group’s newest concept and their re-interpretation of the motor courts of the 50’s and 60’s.
Prior to forming Valencia 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 and hospitality industries. They were successful in completing the sale of a consolidated energy/environmental company to Baker Hughes, Inc. in 1990 and served as the lead investor and managing partner of the investor group. Molke & Graham, Inc. was also responsible for numerous other transactions, including the acquisition of a subsidiary of N.L. Baroid, a New York Stock Exchange company.
Prior to forming Molke & Graham, Inc., Mr. Graham developed an energy lending background with RepublicBank Dallas in 1983 where he worked in the Energy Department. During this time, Mr. Graham was engaged in oil and gas lending and also had the opportunity to work within RepublicBank Energy Finance Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the bank that specialized in mergers and acquisitions of energy companies.
Mr. Graham graduated from Texas A&M University in 1981 with a degree in Economics. He later received a Masters of Finance in 1983, also from Texas A&M University.
September 24, 2014 - The Boutique Lifestyle Leadership Association (BLLA), the hospitality industry’s top boutique, lifestyle and luxury brand executives and independent property owners, named Doyle Graham Jr., Founder, President & CEO of Valencia Group hotels, as the BLLA Hotelier of the Year! Find out more about this prestigious award!
Doyle A. Graham Sr., Advisory Director
Doyle A. Graham, Sr. serves as the Advisory Director for Valencia Group. In the last 55 years, Mr. Graham has worked in all aspects of the hotel business. He was Executive Vice President and General Manager for Schine Hotels, one of the ten largest hotel chains in the U.S. He was also the general manager for some of the top hotels throughout the country and was involved with the development of several hotel and high-rise apartment projects in the Southwest.
Mr. Graham purchased the first Sheraton Franchise in Texas in 1967, and was considered to be one of the top performing franchisees within the Sheraton Corporation. Mr. Graham sold his hotel properties in the 80s, but maintained an active role in the industry, consulting to banks, investor groups and hotel projects.
Mr. Graham was also co-founder of Metro Airlines, one of the largest commuter airlines in the U.S.
Jeffrey S. Rawson, Managing Director
Jeffrey S. Rawson serves as the Managing Director of Valencia Group. Since 1999, he has been responsible for the operational, finance and administration facets of the company. He leads the way on lender, investor and joint-venture partner relations including sourcing and structuring debt and equity, structuring and securing joint-venture opportunities and managing in cooperation with the CFO any legal action regarding the company. In addition, Mr. Rawson advises the President on matters of strategic significance for the company. Mr. Rawson is also president of Merrick Capital Corporation, a Houston-based private equity investment company focused on the energy, transportation equipment, real estate and banking industries. Through Merrick, Mr. Rawson has conducted over one billion dollars in transactions. Beyond Merrick, Mr. Rawson also serves as 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 and is involved with many groups and charities including the Houston Energy Finance Group and The Houston Forum, The Ronald McDonald House 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.
John M. Keeling, Executive Vice President
John M. Keeling, former PKF Consulting Senior Vice President, joins Valencia Group as Executive Vice President. Keeling, a noted lecturer, teacher, author and authority on hotel matters who is frequently sourced by respected industry trades, business journals and newspapers, brings 35 years of experience in hotel brokerage, appraisal and consulting to his new role.
Prior to his nearly 20-year affiliation with Houston-based PKF Consulting, Keeling served as the regional managing partner of Laventhol & Horwath, a Philadelphia-based CPA and business consulting firm. From 1982 until 1990, he oversaw the consulting practice’s Southwest region, which included offices in Houston, Dallas, St. Louis and Denver and a scope of work ranging from financial structuring of complex real estate projects to owner assistance in the negotiation of hotel management contracts. He joined the company in 1976 as a real estate consultant. In this capacity, he directed the hotel consulting practice of the Houston office and initiated the monthly Trend of Business in the Lodging Industry report for Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Keeling formally began his hospitality career with Marriott International at the Marriott Twin Bridges Hotel, Arlington, VA, and after several expedited promotions and moves, left the company as a manager at the Marriott in Dallas. His first taste of the industry, however, began as a student at UCLA, where he was a residence hall general manager and coordinated the remodeling of the serving and dining facilities. After graduating cum laude with a BA in History, he earned an MBA in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Michigan State University. In 2008, he was named an honorary alumnus of the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston.
Keeling’s numerous professional and social memberships include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, The Counselors of Real Estate, The Appraisal Institute, The Urban Land Institute and the Downtown Houston YMCA (former Chairman, Board of Management).
David A. Miller, Chief Financial Officer
David A. Miller joined Valencia 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 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 Bachelors degree in Business Administration and a Masters degree in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. Mr. Miller is a Certified Public Accountant.
Roy A. Kretschmer, Executive Vice President of Operations
Roy A. Kretschmer is Vice President of Operations for Valencia Group. Mr. Kretschmer joined Valencia Group in 2001 as the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s opening General Manager and has more than 20 years experience in the luxury and upscale markets.
Mr. Kretschmer began his career in 1990 with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as a corporate recruit and spent nearly 5 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 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 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.
Scott Williams, Executive Vice President of Development & Construction
Scott Williams joined Valencia Group in 2012 as Executive Vice President of Development and Construction. In this position, Mr. Williams directs all development, entitlement and construction activities for the company. He has more than 25 years of increasingly complex construction, project management and real estate development experience and 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 include the development and construction of hospitality/hotel, commercial, residential, industrial, entertainment and aviation projects. He has been very successful in contract negotiations and he has expert management skills in the leadership of multi-disciplined project teams on both design and construction projects located in the United States and abroad.
While Mr. Williams was employed by The Walt Disney Company, he directly managed project work exceeding $2 billion in value. He completed projects such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney-MGM Studios and he worked continuously in Southern California as Vice President of Development for Castle & Cooke from 2004 through 2007 where he directed their real estate development activities on the West Coast. He is highly skilled at both hands-on design as well as overarching project management. He rapidly develops and modifies projects based on the local economic need, environmental sensibilities and unique circumstances. Proven leader in the real estate development, hospitality, entertainment and construction industries.
Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University and has completed post-graduate certificate program in contracts management from The University of California – Irvine. He has memberships in the Urban Land Institute, Association of University Real Estate Officials and The Association of General Contractors.
Brandi Montgomery, Vice President of Branding & Design
Brandi Montgomery serves as Vice President of Branding and Design for Valencia Group. Ms. Montgomery joined Valencia 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 an extensive knowledge in furniture design and FF&E specifications to Valencia 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 Group’s Design Team to ensure the overall vision is carried through development.
Upon her joining Valencia Group in 2008, Brandi has overseen the design and brand identity for multiple projects, including Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE – Houston, TX, Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza – Kansas City, MO, Lone Star Court – Austin, TX and the renovation of Hotel Valencia Santana Row – San Jose, CA.
Jennifer N. Shults, Vice President - Corporate Finance
Jennifer N. Shults joined the development team at Valencia Group in 2007 as Senior Associate. 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.
Prior to joining the development team, Ms. Shults served as Corporate Director of eCommerce for Valencia Group beginning in 2005. 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.
Foster Burnett, Area Director of Operations
Foster Burnett brings more than 25 years of hospitality industry experience to his role as Area Director of Operations, overseeing property level operations in addition to supporting the central reservations office and various projects related to pre-openings.
Prior to joining Valencia Group, Burnett served as Area Managing Director for the Pyramid Hotel Group and was responsible for hotels throughout greater New York City. Before that, Burnett was the General Manager of the Hilton Times Square in Manhattan. He has also worked for several upscale brands and properties, including The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Swissotel Hotels and Resorts, The Grand Summit Resort in Park City, UT, Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH and Preferred Hotels & Resorts for La Mansion Del Rio Hotel in San Antonio, TX.
Burnett holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Psychology from Austin College in Sherman, TX.
Amy Trench, Corporate Director of Brand Marketing
Amy Trench is Corporate Director of Brand Marketing for Valencia Group. She oversees and directs the brand's co-operative marketing efforts related to cross-selling hotels in various markets, setting annual strategies for brand advertising and promotion, collective messaging, and public relations. Additionally, Mrs. Trench directs regional and national advertising for the group. Mrs. Trench brings with her over 20 years of management in the luxury and upscale market of the hospitality industry. Prior to this position, she was the Area Director of Sales and Marketing where she was responsible for overseeing the direct sales of group, individual, and banquet/catering revenue as well as marketing for both Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX and Hotel Sorella in Houston, TX.
Before joining Valencia Group, Mrs. Trench was the Director of Group Sales at the AAA Five Diamond, Omni Houston Hotel. During her four years, the group sales pace increased by 47% from 1998 to 1999 and an additional 15% in 2000 which was a record-breaking year for the hotel. She assisted in leading the hotel to achieve a revpar index of 115%. Prior to her assignment in Houston, Mrs. Trench was assigned to the Chicago market working at both the Omni Ambassador East in Chicago, IL and the Omni Chicago Suites. As a group sales manager at the Ambassador East Hotel, Mrs. Trench was #1 in the entire company by achieving 316% of her goal. Her responsibility for the west coast market including the entertainment industry resulted in over 2,000 room nights for movie cast and crews. Mrs. Trench was also an Area Director of Revenue Management in Chicago, IL, overseeing the total hotel room revenue for both Omni Chicago and Omni Ambassador East. She did this same position in Dallas, TX from 1993-1996 for the Omni Mandalay Hotel and the Omni Parkwest. She was selected to present “Demand Rate Structuring” to Corporate Directors of Marketing and Directors of Reservation Sales at a conference in Atlanta, GA. Additionally, Mrs. Trench was selected by Omni Hotels Corporate Office to pilot a company-wide Rolling Twelve Month Forecasting Module. For 2 consecutive years, Mrs. Trench was recognized by Omni Hotels as Director of Revenue Manager for the Year.
Mrs. Trench graduated form Louisiana State University with a degree in Business Management and started work toward obtaining an MBA from University of Texas at Arlington.
Wendy Norris, CRME, CDHM, Corporate Director of Revenue & E-Commerce
Wendy Norris joined Valencia Group in May 2004 as the Corporate Director of Revenue Management. She has over 15 years experience in the luxury and upscale market. She is primarily responsible for ensuring the development and management of the revenue/yield strategies including pricing, demand analysis, inventory management, and tactics in an effort to achieve revenues based on budget, forecast, pace and market demand. She works closely with the Director of Sales at each property to identify and communicate demand periods and the strategic plans to achieve revenue goals. Wendy manages and actively participates in the internet marketing department which entails website development, search engine marketing, pay per click campaigns, electronic marketing, and social media marketing for all the properties in the portfolio. Wendy's team has a centralized unique approach allowing Valencia Group and the hotels to maximize online marketing and revenues through collaboration, trending, and strategic thinking.
Upon her joining Valencia Group, in May 2004, Wendy created and moved the company to their own Central Reservations Office, located in San Antonio, Texas. Wendy oversees the CRO, which provides a 24 hour call center for all Valencia Group managed properties, and centralizes the revenue management function for all distribution channels and e-commerce.
Prior to joining Valencia Group, Wendy was the Revenue Manager of the La Mansion del Rio Hotel, Inc located in San Antonio, TX. During her nine year tenure, she received management experience in Front Office, Housekeeping, Restaurant and Reservations. In 2000, she became the Revenue Manager. During her time in this position, the hotel experienced the highest revenues per available room in the 30 year history of the hotel. La Mansion del Rio Hotel room revenue outperformed all segments of the San Antonio market place, including the competitive set for three years running. She also assisted in opening the Watermark Hotel and Spa, a sister property of La Mansion del Rio Hotel in January 2004.
Ericka Lemus, Corporate Director of Human Resources
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 Group properties, she ensures we are in compliance with safety standards, workers 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 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 degree in Marketing with a post grade diploma on Quality and Productivity. She is PHR Certified and is a Certified Human Resources Generalist through San Antonio College.
Nancy Alonzo, Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing
Nancy Alonzo is Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing for Valencia 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 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.