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. Tess's 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 Novogradac's 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 Oregon's 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 December 2019...

Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.