Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Katz

Ellis Katz

Principal and Hospitality Studio Director, John Portman & Associates

Ellis A. Katz is a Principal and the Hospitality Studio Director for John Portman & Associates (Portman). Dedicated and energetic, he is one of Portman's primary experts in the complexity of hospitality and mixed-use projects. Mr. Katz also heads the business development for the firm, currently concentrating on projects in the USA, India and Brazil. Client service is his number one priority. As a result, he often serves as the client's primary point of contact, providing clients with responsiveness and accountability. His leadership of project teams is aided by his clear understanding of the technical requirements of the project as well as sensitivity to the design issues. Excellent communication skills, combined with a positive personal demeanor, organizational expertise and conscientious follow-through, all work together to help keep the team focused. Mr. Katz not only personifies Portman's sensory/experiential approach to design, he also understands the business objectives of a hotel project as he works with the design team to ensure that firm projects deliver both a memorable guest experience as well as exceptional operational efficiency. He has been with the firm for 17 years and has worked in the industry for 31. Prior to joining Portman, Mr. Katz worked for ten years as an Associate Principal with Loebl Schlossman & Hackl, Inc. in Chicago. His work there included design, master planning, and project management, with responsibility for complete project coordination through tenant move-in. Mr. Katz earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to being a registered architect, Mr. Katz is a member of the Urban Land Institute. He works out of John Portman & Associates' Atlanta office.

Mr. Katz can be contacted at 404-614-5040 or ekatz@portmanusa.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.