Our Professional Team
President & Chief Executive Officer
Alex was previously President, business development & finance for Benchmark. During his tenure in business development roles over the last five years, the company added 22 properties to its management portfolio, expanded into the Caribbean and added to its presence in Tokyo. The company also acquired MTM Luxury Lodging, which led to the launch of Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels.
Alex Cabañas joined Benchmark Hospitality International in January 2006. Prior to joining Benchmark, he worked for The Boston Consulting Group from 2000 through 2005. While with BGC he worked with clients in a number of different industries including: travel and tourism, government, consumer/retail, telecommunications, e-commerce, financial services, and energy. His assignments included a variety of different tasks including: lodging investment proposal, market sizing and segmentation, competitive benchmarking, product development, process management, asset valuation, new business development and growth strategy.
Alex earned his MBA at Harvard Business School and holds a BBA and MS in Finance from Texas A&M University. Alex is married to his perfectly-made-for-him wife, Heather and they have two energetic and out-going boys, Matthew and Eli. Alex enjoys his time with family, traveling and exploring together, any outdoor activity and is very involved in his church.
President & Partner
Jeff has been a leader in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. Regarded as one of the best bottom line operators in the business, Jeff is known for creating unique and tailored points-of-difference at each resort allowing each property to achieve market share advantages.
Jeff served as a Director of TBA Entertainment, Inc. and as President of their Resort Division from 1997 through 1998. The acquisition and development of The Village at Breckenridge Resort was the focus of TBA during this period.
Jeff was located at The Village with partner Mark van Hartesvelt from 1994 through 1998 overseeing the complete financial turnaround of the resort as well as the development and approval of the most complex master plan in the town of Breckenridge’s history.
From 1987 through 1994, Jeff was the Senior Vice President of operations for Guest Quarters Suite Hotels and Doubletree Hotel Corporation. Responsible for 115 hotels, Jeff orchestrated the merging of the two companies and the consolidation of the corporate office. During Jeff’s tenure, the portfolio achieved record improvements in profit and quality scores and positioned itself as a leader in the hospitality industry.
From 1985 through 1987 Jeff held the position of vice president with Radisson Hotels. He was responsible for 25 managed properties and 20 franchised hotels and resorts.
From 1974 until 1985, Jeff served The Sheraton Corporation in various capacities, including Director of Rooms and Reservations for North America and General Manager of Sheraton’s number one occupancy and profit producing property in San Francisco, California.
A Certified Hotel Administrator, Jeff holds a B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Oklahoma State University and graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Senior Executive Management program.
Jeff has been a visiting professor and lecturer at the University of Maryland, The university of San Francisco, Golden State University and Oklahoma State University.
Vice President of Asset Management
Erik Johnson is Vice President for Owner Advisory Group (“OAG”) and has over seventeen years of experience with hotels and real estate spanning across the areas of acquisition due diligence, pre-development feasibility, asset management, finance, workouts, valuation, and investment advisory.With broad and diverse hospitality real estate experience, Mr. Johnson has the ability to oversee hotel real estate projects from beginning to end.
Prior to OAG, Mr. Johnson was head of his own hotel asset management and advisory firm.After his experience of working with CNL Hospitality, IHG and Reynolds Hotel Group, Mr. Johnson founded his own firm in 2010 to provide consulting services to hotel investors in all aspects of their business.Over the life of his career, he has been involved in over $7.5 billion of hotel real estate transaction, asset management and advisory type projects of all product types throughout the US for various owners, hotel chains, developers, and lenders.Mr. Johnson is an honors graduate of the University of Florida, where he earned his Bachelors degree in Finance.
Vice President of Operations
Paul D’Andrea is a passionate and driven hotel and resort operator with responsibilities focused on our western state management teams and their properties. Paul is dedicated in assisting his properties maximize revenues and develop teams to achieve the highest financial results possible without compromising guest service. He is a mentor to the General Managers and managers he works with and takes pride in their development successes. Paul also works closely with Owners to ensure our goals are fully in sync and a healthy, collaborative partnership is in place.
Paul has been with Gemstone since 1999 and has served in a variety of roles including resort food and beverage operations and General Manager. Prior to Gemstone, Paul spent twenty years in the U.S. Army and operated hotels and resorts for the Army throughout the world.
Paul is a graduate of the University of Michigan and hold a Masters in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Florida International University, and a Juris Doctor degree from George Mason University Law School. He resides in Tucson, Arizona with his wife Judy Ann.
Director of Asset Management
Greg’s hospitality career began as an assistant controller with Marriott Corporation in Houston, Texas and progressed through senior level controller positions with various management companies including Hyatt, Destination Hotels and Resorts and Benchmark Hospitality. Prior to join OAG, Greg served as VP of Hotel Finance and Accounting for Prism Hotels and Gemstone Resorts. Greg was hired by Gemstone Resorts as Director of Asset Management overseeing a portfolio of Rock Resort properties and various Gencom owned Ritz Carltons.
Earlier in his career, Greg served as Executive VP for Resort Income Investors (RII), a public traded Mortgage REIT listed on the American Exchange, where he was responsible for investor relations, all SEC filings, MDA and underwriting new loans for resorts. Greg also served as VP of Asset Management for Hemmeter Corporation based in Oahu, Hawaii overseeing large resorts on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. Greg is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a BA in Accounting and Finance.
Vice President, Design and Construction
Gary Harnist, brings three decades of experience in construction and design management to his new position with Benchmark Hospitality. Mr. Harnist was previously Senior Vice President of construction and design for Gatehouse Capital of Dallas, overseeing mixed-use high-rise luxury hospitality, residential, and retail projects. Mr. Harnist was responsible for the overall management of construction and design professionals including selection, contracting, oversight of all outside professionals, project cost analyses and managing all department staff. Mr. Harnist has held several executive management positions with the Chicago-based General Growth Properties and Remington Hotels and has owned his own Construction Management consulting firm. He has been a senior executive in several hospitality and mixed use developments in Hollywood, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Las Vegas, and on the island of Antigua in the Caribbean, with each project’s value ranging from $100 million to $1.5 billion. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture.
Vice President, Operations
Cedric Fasbender serves as Vice President of Operations for Benchmark Hospitality International. He provides operational support for Benchmark hotels, resorts and conference centers around the country.
Cedric was most recently regional vice president for Dolce Hotels and Resorts, where he also served as general manager for The Hayes Mansion, located in San Jose, California. Prior to these dual appointments, Mr. Fasbender held the title of resort manager for the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Throughout his career, Mr. Fasbender has served in a variety of senior leadership positions for independent luxury hotels and resorts, including previously for Benchmark Hospitality International. He began his hospitality career working in food and beverage for properties within major hotel brands.
Vice President, Revenue Management
As Vice President of Revenue Management for Benchmark Hospitality International, Kim Nugent carries the responsibility of pricing, distribution and revenue management for all of the Benchmark portfolio. Having served in a variety of leadership roles in the travel industry, Kim has 20 plus years experience in revenue management, distribution and ecommerce. Kim has proven that effective revenue management will optimize RevPAR through analyzing and forecasting demand, establishing effective selling and oversell strategies, plus setting optimal market mix, including group, transient and wholesale.
Kim Nugent, 22-year hotel industry veteran, beginning her career in 1987 with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, formally Westin Hotels and Resorts, where she earned seven promotions to become the area director of revenue management for two large properties in Southern California, with revenue oversight over three others. Kim then joined Wyndham Hotels and Resorts as the central director of revenue management, responsible for revenue management at 15 hotels and resorts throughout the United States, where her properties showed some of the highest RevPAR gains in the company. Kim next moved to Omni Hotels/Allegiance Hospitality, becoming resort manager of the Hilton Ocean Front Resort. Prior to joining Benchmark, she served as regional director of revenue management for ResortQuest/Gaylord Entertainment, later became the assistant general manager for ResortQuest Hilton Head.
Vice President, Global Online Marketing
Lisa Maria Stice is vice president of global online marketing for Benchmark Hospitality International. She was previously global director of online marketing for the company.During her tenure with Benchmark Hospitality she has worked tirelessly and effectively to build the company’s new division of global ecommerce, significantly enhancing its ability to serve customers and owners.
Ms. Stice is a 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry. Prior to joining Benchmark Hospitality, she held the title of associate vice president ecommerce marketing for Noble House Hotels & Resorts.Stice previously served as corporate director of Internet marketing for Tiburon Hospitality Management.Earlier in her career, Lisa served in sales leadership positions for Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort, including the position of east coast regional director of sales & marketing.She has been the recipient of numerous awards of excellence during her productive career, including HSMAI Adrian Awards for website development, Awards of Excellence, Gold Key Awards, Sales Manager of the Year Awards, and Strategic e-Marketing Awards.
Regional Vice President Sales & Marketing
As regional vice president sales & marketing for Benchmark Hospitality International, Hal Powell is responsible for overseeing and supporting the sales & marketing programming for Benchmark's properties throughout the northeastern and mid-western United States.
Previous to this position Hal was the director of sales & marketing for Benchmark at Lansdowne Resort, located near Washington, DC. During this period he also served as Benchmark's marketing field staff support for several of the company's properties located on the US East Coast. Before joining Benchmark in 2000, Hal was resident manager and director of marketing for The Sagamore Resort & Spa on Lake George in Bolton Landing, New York. Previous to this he held director-level sales and marketing positions of increasing responsibility for Omni Hotels & Resorts at properties in New York City, Florida and Virginia.
Hal Powell is a graduate of SUNY Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing Management. He lives in The Woodlands, TX with his wife Debby. Both Debby and their daughter Grace work in education.
Vice President Information Technology
As Vice President of Information Technology, Mr. Gaeta has overall responsibility for the technology departments and systems for both the home office and all Benchmark properties.
Tony joined Benchmark from the Washington DC area where he ran an independent Technology Solutions Company for the past three years. Prior to having his own business, Tony was the Global Head of IT for Optelecom-NFK. Tony has 25+ years of experience in IT within a broad range of industries, as well as domestic and international experience.
Senior Vice President Operations
Todd Felsen serves as VicePresident of Operations for Benchmark Hospitality International. He provides operational support for Benchmark hotels, resorts and conference centers around the country.
He was previously general manager of Cheyenne Mountain Resort, a Benchmark Resort® located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.Prior to joining the Benchmark organization, Mr. Felsen served as managing director for The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa of Berkeley, California.
Earlier in his career, Todd Felsen served in the role of corporate vice president for another hospitality management company.He has also held the title of general manager for several luxury hotels and resorts in destinations within Florida and Jamaica.
Vice President Marketing
As Vice President, Marketing, John Davies supports the important role of integrated marketing at Benchmark Hospitality International, including advertising and public relations. He brings significant industry knowledge and experience to the role, as well as an extensive and proven background in hospitality marketing. He was previously head of his own firm specializing in hospitality marketing and sales leadership.
Prior to starting his company, Mr. Davies served as vice president marketing for Noble House Hotels & Resorts, while based in Carefree, Arizona. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of the communications and branding programming for the company's portfolio of 13 hotels and resorts.Mr. Davies has held the title of vice president of sales and marketing for Tiburon Hospitality Management, also in Carefree, Arizona. Here he experienced significant success in establishing and developing integrated sales and marketing programming for the company's resorts, including strategic repositioning and branding initiatives.John is an honors graduate of the University of California, where he earned his Bachelors degree. He received his CHA designation from the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Director of Financial Analysis & Reporting
As the Director of Financial Analysis and Reporting, Stacey Konkel is responsible for the roll-out of new Business Intelligence tools to produce system-wide portfolio analyses and performance reporting, including: revenue optimization; departmental expenses analysis; staffing and payroll analysis; and industry benchmarking reports. She additionally supports Benchmark’s strategic growth initiatives by creating detailed pro formas, investment analyses, client presentations, RFP submittals and pre-opening/transition budgets for property management takeovers, new build developments and on and off-market acquisitions.
Prior to joining Benchmark in 2014, Stacey held a similar role with the Wyndham Hotel Group in their Global Business Development and M&A group. Previous to Wyndham, Stacey worked with PKF Consulting in Houston, conducting feasibility studies and market research, as well as managing the database for their Monthly Trends Report.
Stacey is an honors graduate and Dean’s Award recipient from the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management with a minor in Finance.
Regional Director Finance Operations
Jenny Na is regional director of finance operations for BENCHMARK.
She was previously director of finance for Park Central Hotel San Francisco, overseeing $100 million in annual hotel revenue operations. She has also held the director of finance position for Starwood Hotels & Resorts properties and the Ritz Carlton Chicago.
Jenny earned her Master of Business Administration degree from Bauer College of Business, and Master of Hospitality Management from Conrad N. Hilton College, University of Houston, where she was a Dean’s Award recipient.
Business Development Analyst
As the Business Development Analyst, Darlene assists with the preparation of Pro Formas, RFP responses, Comprehensive Market Analyses, Feasibility Studies, and other analysis.
Prior to joining Benchmark, Darlene progressed through multiple positions in Sales with Hyatt Hotels to become Associate Director. In these roles, she was responsible for achieving production goals, mentoring new sales managers, overseeing group sales managers, and other initiatives. She was nominated for North America Sales Manager of the Year after her second year in Sales. At Hyatt, she also held roles as a Catering Manager and Convention Services Manager.
Darlene earned her MBA at the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston and her BA in Hospitality Management at Mercyhurst University. She currently resides in downtown Houston with her fiancé Andrew and their dog Jewel. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering as a dog foster, biking, and reading.