Editorial Board   

Mr. Tess

John Tess

President & CEO, Heritage Consulting Group

John Tess started Heritage in 1982 when the historic preservation field was still in its infancy. Mr. Tess was working at the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, responsible for reviewing HTC applications. He saw that developers and architects were submitting applications where they clearly did not understand the program rules, and also did not put their projects in a favorable light.

Mr. Tess believed that, with proper guidance, applicants could secure NPS approvals quicker, achieve an overall better project and, by being efficient, be more profitable. These were the guiding principles he used to form Heritage. With the firm based in Portland, Mr. Tess quickly established a reputation as a tenacious advocate for his clients.

By the 1990s, Heritage dominated historic preservation work in Oregon and Mr. Tess actively pursued HTC work across the country. Heritage secured projects in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Miami Beach and other major metropolitan areas. Many of the projects were historic boutique hotels, only then becoming popular.

As with Portland clients, national clients appreciated Mr. Tessís tenacity, creativity and advocacy. One of the few tax credit consultants whose roots go back to the beginning, Mr. Tess is well regarded as a voice for the private developer in the continuing public debate on how to create better HTC program. It was for this perspective that he was asked by Presidential First Lady, Laura Bush, to participate in Preserve America, a national summit to review historic preservation in the United States, and to offer strategic direction moving forward in the 21st century.

In addition to frequently speaking at conferences for both public and private sectors, he also has a regular column in Novogradacís Journal of Tax Credits. Mr. Tess is a board member of Preservation Action, the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association and an active participant in the Historic Tax Credit Coalition, sitting on their Historic Preservation Committee.

Over the years, he has sat on many Governor-appointed boards, appointed by Governor Theodore Kulongoski to Oregonís Task Force on Historic Property, and was elected its Chair. He currently serves as a Governor-appointed board member of the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Mr. Tess can be contacted at 503-228-0272 or jmtess@heritage-consulting.com

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.