National presence. Local knowledge. Exclusively hospitality.
About The Plasencia Group
National presence. Local knowledge. Exclusively hospitality.
Founded in 1993, The Plasencia Group is a national hospitality sales, investment consulting and advisory firm with serving clients across the country.
We provide a full range of value-added solutions to life insurance companies, banks and pension funds, and private owners of hotel and resorts throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Our services include portfolio and individual asset strategy, hotel sales, asset management, hotel valuation, contract compliance, debt and equity placement, development services, and financial and strategic planning.
PASSION. ACCESS. CERTAINTY.
The Plasencia Group takes pride in successfully serving our clients with ardent passion, providing direct access to high-level decision-makers, and providing the certainty of a thorough and professionally-orchestrated process. These three words: Passion, Access and Certainty, represent the basic tenets of our philosophy. Every member of the firm is dedicated to delivering for our clients with a personalized level of commitment that is unsurpassed in our industry. Our goal is to make this singular approach the appreciable difference that continuously drives clients to The Plasencia Group.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT
Candor builds and maintains our clients’ trust.
At our firm, we work hard to create a relationship and experience that will make you feel as though you’re one of one, rather than one of many. It is built on personal trust and candid advice.
Our tenacity leads more deals to completion.
We work on a select number of engagements at a time, and are more likely to see your project to completion successfully. In fact, The Plasencia Group has delivered an 87% engagement completion rate over the past 5 years.
Our clients and their projects are our primary focus.
When our clients are successful, we’re successful, so each engagement receives the attention it deserves from our firm’s principals and support staff. We create a bespoke process for each engagement, with a focus tailored to that client’s objectives.
Our key assets are our people, our experience and our reputation. Without the best people, we cannot be the best firm. Our team of professionals are empowered by a passion for results that energizes the entire marketing effort and maximizes the return on our clients’ hospitality investments.
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 39 Years
Lou Plasencia is The Plasencia Group’s entrepreneurial leader, an affable host, and a gregarious family man with an ironclad commitment to the hospitality industry. As the firm’s Chairman and CEO, Lou is responsible for business development activities and the oversight of all acquisitions, dispositions, and consulting engagements. He began his career with Hyatt Hotels Corporation over thirty years ago. After his departure from Hyatt, Lou spent a number of years in hospitality investment sales with a major national commercial real estate firm.
A natural trailblazer, the father of three eventually grew weary of the corporate environment and decided in 1993 to launch his own firm – The Plasencia Group, a boutique alternative to corporate hotel brokerage. The close-knit firm was born out of passion and sheer gumption. The oldest of three siblings, Lou arrived in Tampa’s Ybor City as a young Cuban immigrant, living with his family in a one-room apartment. He is the son of cigar factory worker who he says instilled in him the importance of “committing yourself to one thing and doing it better than anyone else.”
As an undergrad at Loyola University in New Orleans, he studied psychology and broadcast media before going on to get his Master’s in Education from Indiana University. After a brief stint in as a Student Affairs administrator at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Lou landed a job in Hyatt’s sales and marketing department in New Orleans. He eventually returned to Tampa to oversee the development of the Grand Hyatt Hotel on the shores of Tampa Bay and from there, launched a long and storied career in hotel investment sales and consulting.
During his three-plus decades as the face of The Plasencia Group, Lou has steered a plethora of heavy-hitting hospitality deals, including one-off transactions and major portfolio disposition engagements. Over the years, he has brought together owners and investors for the InterContinental Hotels in Chicago and Miami, the Four Seasons in Atlanta, Amelia Island Plantation in Northeast Florida, and the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Recognized for his integrity and deal savvy, he has served as a trusted advisor for MetLife Real Estate Investments, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Brookfield Asset Management, and Walton Street Capital. Other transaction and consulting clients include AEW Capital Partners, Bank of America, Blackstone Group, PGIM, and countless high-net-worth hotel and resort owners.
Lou is an active member of the Hospitality Investment Roundtable of the AHLA. He serves on the Boards of Directors of the Florida Council of 100, the Hillsborough County Tourist Development Council, the Advisory Board for Visit Tampa Bay, and chairs the School Advisory Council of St. Lawrence Parish in Tampa. He previously served on the Board of Trustees of Jesuit High School (Tampa).
A longtime resident of Tampa, he is proud to work alongside his three sons (Chris, Nick and John) in the family business. Lou has been married for nearly four decades to his wife Jennifer, with whom he enjoys cooking, traveling and playing “off the grid.” If he doesn’t answer his cell phone, it’s because he’s out fishing or hiking a forest.
“One of my favorite words in my native Spanish is “confianza”. It’s the close trust that builds in a friendship over time. It’s the very real affection we have for our longstanding clients. It’s also something we work hard to earn and, most importantly, it lasts a lifetime.”
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 19 Years
A longtime banker, Tampa resident Orlando Plasencia spent the first 18 years of his career at Wells Fargo National Bank (formerly Wachovia). He stepped in as The Plasencia Group’s Chief Administrative Officer in 2000.
As CAO, Orlando is responsible for overseeing the daily operating and administrative functions at The Plasencia Group, including managing all support staff and services across the firm’s offices. His interoffice responsibilities run the gamut from the banal to the exciting, including managing the firm’s finances, risk management, insurance and retirement plan programs, maintaining HR policies and overseeing support functions.
A graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans, Orlando has held the designation of Certified Cash Manager from the Treasury Management Association. During his time with Wells Fargo, he served in a credit underwriting and marketing capacity, focusing primarily on large and middle market clients.
The multitasking CAO loves to organize company picnics and outings. His famous pulled pork earned The Plasencia Group a second-place win in the Tampa Pig Jig, an annual Tampa BBQ competition benefitting kidney disease. When he’s not hanging with his wife, Lisa, daughter and son-in-law, Jaclyn and Jack, or grandchildren, Belle and Beau, Orlando can be spotted in his Carrollwood neighborhood, walking his 70-pound Golden Retriever, Skipper – The Plasencia Group’s unofficial company mascot.
Regarding his decision 19 years ago to join the family business, Plasencia says, “There’s comfort in knowing you’re working with your family. There are no ulterior motives or desires. We’re rowing the boat together.”
“There’s comfort in knowing you’re working with your family. There are no ulterior motives or desires. We’re rowing the boat together.”
Houston, Texas | Industry Tenure: 28 Years
Robert Wiemer is The Plasencia Group’s resident power broker. As Senior Managing Director of The Plasencia Group’s Southwest Region, Wiemer has a storied reputation among Texas hoteliers. The Houston-based executive has coordinated the disposition of over $2 billion in hospitality sales – more than any other person in the Lone Star State. His greatest hits collection includes the sale of the New Orleans Embassy Suites, Houston InterContinental Airport Sheraton, Houston Galleria DoubleTree Suites, InterContinental Houston Galleria and a portfolio of Marriott-branded hotels in the New Orleans area.
Prior to joining The Plasencia Group in 1994, Robert served as the Director of Asset Dispositions at American General Corporation, where he once again exceled, leading investment sales in hotels, office buildings, retail centers, apartments and industrial investments for brands such as Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, Marriott and Holiday Inn.
The Louisiana native has devoted most of his career to asset management and dispositions. He honed his business acumen managing bank-owned real estate properties, first for First Republic Bank Houston and later for Collecting Bank, NA, a division of First City Bank-Texas. He graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Master’s of Business Administration.
A straight-shooting Southern gentleman, Robert is a natural extrovert and a rabid New Orleans Saints fan. He spends his free time volunteering at charity crawfish boils around Houston and hunting birds in exotic countries with his four children.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re selling hotels or widgets. The more time you put into it, the better your return. We’re a small firm competing against national and international firms. We excel on the service side. I think we substantially outperform based on our size.”
Cleveland, Ohio | Industry Tenure: 35 Years
When Richard Conti walks into a hotel, even as a guest, he surveys the space like you would a business. He pays attention to the conditions of the furniture, the dust on the fixtures and the efficiency of the staff. It’s an occupational impulse, which is why Conti stays in condos when he’s on vacation.
A native of Upstate New York, Conti is an industry veteran with four decades of hotel expertise under his belt. A self-described “deal junkie,” he joined The Plasencia Group nine years ago as a senior managing director.
He spent the 1990s as a Principal and Director with Coopers & Lybrand LLP (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) in their National Hospitality Consulting Practice, before taking over as President of Boykin Lodging Company, a NYSE Lodging REIT based in Cleveland, Ohio. Under Conti’s leadership, Boykin Lodging doubled its hotel portfolio before being purchased in 2006 for $416 million.
Conti has always known he wanted to buy and sell hotels. After obtaining his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at the State University of New York at Brockport, Conti received his Master’s of Business Administration in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Michigan State University. He sits on the executive board of the School of Hotel Business at Michigan State and has served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Hotel Development Council of the Urban Land Institute. A loquacious speaker, he is frequently tapped to give lectures at hotel industry events and has been quoted dozens of times on industry related issues in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times, among other publications.
Conti splits his time between Cleveland and Tampa with his wife of 37 years. He has three children, five grandchildren and a lake house in Chautauqua, New York, to which he retreats every summer to fish.
“When I’m selling a hotel, I treat it like I own the hotel. I push for everything that benefits the seller. I’ve known most of my clients for over 30 years. It comes to a point when you’re no longer working for a client, you’re working for a friend.”
Washington, D.C. | Industry Tenure: 40 Years
C.A. Anderson is more than just a veteran of hotel real estate. He’s one of the masters. His resume reads like an industry guidebook, thick with 40 years of experience and billions of dollars in transactions, including the development of 17 luxury resorts.
C.A. joined The Plasencia Group in July 2018 after serving as Senior Vice President of Global Development & Real Estate at BridgeStreet Hospitality. A straight-shooting, problem-solving tour-de-force, C.A. was tapped to head up The Plasencia Group’s Mid-Atlantic office in Washington, D.C. –– home to some of the firm’s heaviest hitting clients and partners. Over the course of the next five years, C.A. plans to hire and lead a team dedicated to managing client projects along the eastern seaboard.
The son of a military attaché, C.A. grew up with a strong sense of pragmatism and nomadism. Born in Paris, France, he spent the early part of his childhood living in Europe and Eurasia before finally settling in California, where he graduated pre-law from San Diego State University and went on to study finance and law at the University of San Diego.
The father-of-two built his career bouncing between senior executive positions with myriad hotel conglomerates across the country, including Barings Real Estate Advisers, Red Lion Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Interstate Hotels & Resorts and Japan Airlines, for which he managed more than $500 million in assets for Hotel Nikko and over-saw the development of a $250-million resort in Oahu, Hawaii.
He says he earned his industry cred by seeing the light at the end of murky real estate tunnels.
“It doesn’t matter if you want to buy, unload or fix broken real estate. It’s about finding a solution,” C.A. says. “Everyone has a pain point or a hurdle to overcome. If you can’t figure out how to overcome it by yourself, you have to seek outside guidance. That’s what I do. I identify a problem and help people fix it.”
The D.C. resident is an unapologetic straight-arrow who describes himself as “vanilla with a 1960s hairstyle.” He’s dedicated to his wife, golf and taking sensible vacations. A regular guest speaker at The Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) conference, he also lectures at New York and Cornell Universities. He holds the designation Certified Hotel Administrator from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, and played his most memorable 18 holes three decades ago on a course outside of Tokyo.
“It doesn’t matter if you want to buy, unload or fix broken real estate. It’s about finding a solution. Everyone has a pain point or a hurdle to overcome. If you can’t figure out how to overcome it by yourself, you have to seek outside guidance. That’s what I do. I identify a problem and help people fix it.”
Boston, Massachusetts | Industry Tenure: 31 Years
Dexter Wood is justifiably proud of having been part of a small team that put together the largest single-asset deal in the history of hotel real estate. As a senior vice president for Hilton Worldwide, he was instrumental in the sale of the iconic Waldorf Astoria for $1.95 billion, a record not soon to be broken. What’s more, the team reinvested $1.8 billion of the proceeds in five hotels to facilitate a like-kind exchange transaction, thus avoiding capital gains taxes — and they did so in less than a month.
That says something about The Plasencia Group’s newest senior managing director’s ability to navigate huge deals, as well as handle pressurized deadline situations. Dexter, who joined The Plasencia Group in December 2019, does not come from a brokerage background. Rather he brings to the team a wealth and breadth of experience that includes hotel ownership, management, brand development, finance, strategy, consulting and more.
Dexter is based in Boston, bolstering the Plasencia Group’s Northeastern, as well as national, reach. His most recent post was as senior vice president and global head of development and real estate finance for Hilton Worldwide, where he was in charge of governing the allocation of capital to drive new unit growth and led an international team of more than 50 top professionals. In 2017, he transitioned to Park Hotels & Resorts when Hilton spun the company off.
Dexter spent most of the 2000s as senior vice president of global feasibility & portfolio analysis at Host Hotels, the world’s largest hotel real estate investment trust. Prior to that, he was director of financial advisory services/hospitality and real estate for PriceWaterhouseCoopers in New York. He began his career with Hospitality Valuation Services (HVS).
Dexter grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts and attended boarding school in New England. From there, he matriculated at Cornell University, where he started off studying chemical engineering. Finding that avenue unsuitable, Dexter, who bartended during summers and in his spare time, made the cut at Cornell’s prestigious School of Hotel Administration, earning a bachelor’s degree. He has remained active with the school ever since, and just completed his term as president of its global alumni association.
Dexter — who has three children, all in college — splits time between homes in Boston and Palm Beach, Florida. His Beantown condo is within walking distance of Fenway Park, where he takes in a Red Sox game any time he can. He’s been a New England Patriots season ticket holder for 25 years. Dexter is an avid golfer, as well as a foodie and wine enthusiast — both in the kitchen and as a restaurant guest.
“What attracted me to the Plasencia Group is that I’m not a broker and Lou wasn’t looking for a broker. It seems that everyone in the company comes from another aspect of the industry, and we’ve all worn a lot of different hats.”
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 34 Years
Doug Mills grew up in Panama City, Florida, and after a long tenure managing construction projects around the world, many of them in cold-weather climates, he’s finally made it back to the Sunshine State. In February 2020, Doug joined The Plasencia Group as Senior Managing Director of the firm’s Development Management Consulting team.
Doug advises The Plasencia Group’s clients on renovation and new construction projects, including property improvement plans, brand conversions, and property evaluations. He oversees the design construction projects from start to finish, top to bottom. “We orchestrate and manage the process from soup to nuts,” Doug says, “all along making sure it stays within the budget envelope.”
Doug supervises construction managers contracted for each project, which often finds him with boots on the ground at project sites.
Prior to signing on with The Plasencia Group, Doug served as president of Schulte Design + Construction, an esteemed hospitality design, construction and project management firm based in Louisville, Kentucky. During his tenure, he oversaw renovations and upgrades across a variety of top hotel brands, including the Westin in San Francisco, the Moxy New Orleans and the Renaissance Des Moines.
Doug has managed well over a hundred major projects across all asset classes during his 34-year career. He spent more than a decade in Asia, steering projects in Macau (building its international airport), the Philippines (a $5 billion, 300-acre redevelopment of a former U.S. military base) and South Korea (Hansol corporate headquarters), among others.
As a youngster in Panama City, Doug loved building things. He repaired and refinished antique furniture during his teen years. Doug matriculated at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, intending to go into the medical field. He changed course and transferred to Tulane University in New Orleans, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and then a Master of Business Administration.
While at Tulane, he met his wife, Marda, who grew up in Michigan. During their courtship, the couple agreed they would settle down in a warm-weather city. But Doug’s first construction management job out of school landed them in Chicago. After the time in Asia, the Mills’ returned to Chicago for six years, then relocated to Louisville.
“It took a while, but I finally made good on my promise of a warm-weather climate,” Doug says of joining The Plasencia Group in its Tampa headquarters and moving to the area.
The Mills’ have three children: one a recent college grad, one a current student at University of Alabama, and one a senior in high school in Louisville.
Doug, who lives in St. Petersburg with Marda, has turned his long-time way with wood into a passionate avocation — building acoustic guitars and ukuleles. He plays both instruments at level he calls “passable.”
Not long ago, Doug took up another hobby — a form of calligraphy called English Round Hand, the style used for the Declaration of Independence. “My form is getting pretty good,” he says. “I want to start sending people little handwritten notes.”
“I was drawn to The Plasencia Group for a lot of reasons, but foremost it was their outstanding long-term client relationships, passion and integrity. Combining my contacts and project experience around the world with the team’s will mean we can take our development management consulting business to the next level.”
Miami, Florida | Industry Tenure: 28 Years
Tony Haddad has been active in the hospitality finance arena for the past three decades. Tony brings to the table years spent in hotel operations working as Director of Finance and as a regional executive responsible for a portfolio of hotels for Marriott International. Tony has extensive experience in domestic and international hotels in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.
After leaving Marriott, Tony formed his own asset management and consulting firm, Thames Associates, LLC.
In 2013, he became part of The Plasencia Group’s team. He holds a B.B.A. degree from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. A dedicated cyclist, he kicks off each workday with a group bike ride through suburban Broward County and also enjoys riding his motorcycle on the weekends.
“You’re dealing with an industry that caters to happy people on vacation. It’s multifaceted and always changing. There’s creativity and design. You walk into something new, you learn about it, you opine about it and then move onto the next one.”
Nashville, Tennessee | Industry Tenure: 37 Years
Michelle Hayes has worked in virtually every facet of hotel operations throughout her nearly four decades in the lodging industry. She joined the firm after a successful career with FelCor Lodging Trust, one of the nation’s largest hotel real estate investment trusts. As Vice President of Asset Management at FelCor, Hayes was responsible for overseeing a portion of the company’s portfolio of Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton, Marriott and Sheraton hotels as well as independent hotels.
Prior to her joining FelCor, Ms. Hayes was a general manager for Starwood Hotels and Resorts managing numerous hotels for 15 years. These hotels included Sheraton Suites Alexandria and the Sheraton Gateway hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.in addition to the Sheraton Wardman Park in Washington DC. During her tenure with Sheraton, she was the recipient of the company’s President’s Award and Employee Satisfaction Award. In addition, Ms. Hayes was a member of Sheraton Corporation’s Chairman’s Club and Marketing Board of Directors.
Ms. Hayes received a master’s degree in management and finance and a bachelor’s degree from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. She also has received the designation of Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) from The Educational Institute. Michelle has since completed the Cornell Business School Certification for Real Estate and Asset Management.
Chicago, Illinois | Industry Tenure: 14 Years
Ryan McNamara leads The Plasencia Group’s client engagements throughout the Midwest and West regions of the United States. Based in Chicago, Ryan serves some of The Plasencia Group’s most active lodging industry clients. He is responsible for providing investment advisory services to hotel and resort owners, investors, and lenders on individual and portfolio transactions, advising on capital markets and strategic consulting needs, and cultivating asset management and development relationships.
Ryan relies on his background in hotel development to connect The Plasencia Group’s clients with eager investors and family offices, active lenders, and reliable industry partners he brings to the table. Ryan most recently held the position as Vice President of Real Estate and Development at Hyatt Hotels Corporation where he was responsible for the expansion of Hyatt’s brands domestically. In that role, Ryan managed all aspects of Hyatt’s development process and deepened key owner and operator relationships on behalf of the Hyatt organization.
Before transitioning to Development, Ryan led Hyatt’s Feasibility and Market Analysis team for North America, and was concurrently appointed to lead a global Strategic Priorities task force to increase the value of Hyatt’s owned real estate, during which time he had the opportunity to work in London and Zurich.
Prior to joining Hyatt Hotels Corporation in 2010, Ryan’s experience spanned hotel operations, finance, and real estate development, having worked with companies including Four Seasons, Marriott, and a boutique private equity firm.
Ryan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Real Estate Development from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. He is a frequent guest speaker at Cornell, as well as at hospitality industry conferences and events. An avid traveler, Ryan is a member of the Cornell Hotel Society and, along with his wife, on the professional board of EGBOK Mission, a nonprofit vocational hospitality school in Cambodia.
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 8 Years
As Managing Director at The Plasencia Group, Chris Plasencia, who majored in history at Duke University and earned a Master’s degree in real estate from the University of Florida in addition to his law degree, focuses on the acquisition, disposition, financing, and development of full-service hotels and resorts.
The resident attorney on the team, with a background in drafting, negotiating, and executing a wide variety of real estate deals, Chris is well equipped to handle complex hospitality transactions, while fielding the more-than-occasional attorney joke with grace.
When he’s not in the office you can find him spending time with his kids, Claire and Thomas, his wife, Katie, whom he’s known since kindergarten, and his golden retriever, Molly. He is the firm’s resident wine connoisseur and makes the second-best barbecue pulled pork in the office.
“I’m going to be with this company for the next 20, 30 years. I’m not looking for quick victories. I’m interested in building long-term relationships.”
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 10 Years
Nick Plasencia is a Managing Director with The Plasencia Group and specializes in the disposition of full-service, premium select-service, boutique and resort properties, both in single-asset and portfolio transactions. He has personally transacted several hundred million dollars of lodging assets across all regions of the United States. Mr. Plasencia has had the opportunity to advise a wide breadth of clientele, ranging from privately held owner-operators and high-net-worth individuals, to management companies, private equity funds, and REITs.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Plasencia worked for Raymond James & Associates, a publicly traded financial services firm, in their Real Estate Investment Banking group, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, and private placements. While at Raymond James, Mr. Plasencia was integrally involved in capital raising assignments in the lodging sector, including preferred and common stock offerings.
Nick is a graduate of Harvard University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. During summer breaks, he worked in operations positions at properties with Marriott International and Quorum Hotels and Resorts, experiences he says helped give him a valuable glimpse into the human element of hotel operations.
Always keen to explore nature or a new city, Nick is a novice runner who credits his outdoorsy wife for whipping him into shape. He enjoys hiking and backpacking during his travels and taking his children for runs in the jogger. Nick is a proud advocate for the Tampa Theater, a historic U.S. theater and city landmark, and has been involved in the Theater’s real estate pursuits and charitable events.
“Our strength is in our team and the unique backgrounds that our team members bring to the table, with experiences in all aspects of the industry, ranging from ownership, to lending, operations, and brands.”
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 16 Years
On paper, Jodie Orozco describes herself as the consummate marketer. In real life, the native Tampanian is much more than the company cheerleader. Hired in 2014 to bring her specific skill set to The Plasencia Group’s marketing efforts, Jodie – an enterprising big picture thinker and self-described overachiever – is in charge of marketing all facets of the firm.
A recovering financial services marketer, Jodie worked at Raymond James where she served as a Product Manager in Client Communications. Most recently, she worked as a Senior Marketing Associate at RSM, a global accounting firm.
Her time in the financial services sector left her with a flair for campaign and product management and creative team leadership, not to mention a love/hate relationship with data of all kinds. “Marketing is both an art and a science” she opines, “it takes a balance of analysis and creativity to get the job done well.” As she likes to say, she’s most effective “marketing people and services, not Tide.” (She does admit, however, the latest Tide ads in the Super Bowl were something to admire.)
Jodie graduated cum laude from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and minors in Mass Communications and Packaging Sciences. She recently served as President of the Board of Directors for the Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts and for seven glorious months worked as the Executive Vice President of 1MAG, a feisty, but short-lived lifestyle publication covering Tampa Bay – her most unusual career detour to date.
Jodie lives on a bayou in St. Petersburg. She loves being in, on or under the water anywhere from Tampa Bay to the Florida Keys, and working to an eclectic mix of music with a good cup of cold brew coffee within reach. If she had her druthers, she would take a 20-minute nap in the middle of every day and would bring her labrador retriever, Quigley, to the office.
“It’s a good feeling to know that the people I work with really care about doing the right thing. Knowing that our clients’ interests are aligned with our own means that we’re not only looking out for the companies we’re working with, but each other too.”
Dallas, Texas | Industry Tenure: 48 Years
Paul Williams got his start in hospitality the old fashioned way – by working as a front desk clerk at a 63-room motel in Bastrop, Louisiana. A natural people pleaser and self-described jack-of-all-trades, he juggled everything from waiting tables to making maintenance calls. It wasn’t long before the likeable concierge became a full-fledged innkeeper. At the age of 20, he was the Innkeeper of the Holiday Inn in Monroe, Louisiana.
Since then, Paul has scaled the corporate ladder, amassing 48 years of industry leadership at a bevy of high-profile hotel chains. Before joining The Plasencia Group in 2004, he held executive-level positions with Mariner Hotel Group, MHM Hotels, and ITT Sheraton, where he was responsible for overseeing the operation of 34 hotels and 7,000 rooms across the entire Southwest region.
After serving as an executive with Karena Hotels PLC of England, Paul worked in growth management and franchise development at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide before launching a career in hospitality real estate brokering at Sun Hospitality Advisors.
As Vice President of The Plasencia Group’s Southwest Region, Paul works from Dallas, Texas, supporting investment sales efforts in a market with which he is well acquainted. His time working on the ground floor of hotel operations, specifically in Texas, has given him an edge in sizing up his clients’ competition.
“I know the history in this part of the country,” Paul says. “I can analyze the market and look at competitors from an experience standpoint, instead of just in theory. Being an operator has given me insight that other people don’t have.”
Paul has been married for 45 years. He has two daughters and three granddaughters—six, four and one years of age. A longtime hunter and avid fisherman, Paul loves to spend time outdoors and used to compete in bass fishing tournaments. He likens these angling competitions to landing business deals, in that your success is measured by the size of your catch.
“I know the history in this part of the country. I can analyze the market and look at competitors from an experience standpoint, instead of just in theory. Being an operator has given me insight that other people don’t have.”
Dallas, Texas | Industry Tenure: 8 Years
The youngest of three brothers, John joined The Plasencia Group in 2014. As one the firm’s Vice Presidents, he works on The Plasencia Group’s Southwest Region investment sales efforts from Dallas. In his role, he guides marketing processes and is responsible for investor solicitation. John has been directly involved in the transaction of well over $1 billion in lodging properties, ranging from high-end select service hotel portfolios to sprawling waterfront resorts.
Prior to joining The Plasencia Group, John worked in both the Feasibility and Business Development departments at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a global hotel management company that has since merged with Aimbridge Hospitality. Interstate, which was the largest hotel operator in the world, proved the ultimate training ground for an aspiring hotel advisor. During his time with Interstate, John facilitated the procurement of numerous hefty management contracts, in addition to the acquisition of other hotel management companies.
John graduated from Northwestern University, where he studied marketing and played football. He is a loyal patron of Majoria’s Commerce Diner in New Orleans and Terry Black’s Barbecue in Dallas. He is known around the office for pairing business suits with colorful socks. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Ariel, a broadcast journalist, and Nori, their golden retriever.
“I am lucky to work with our well-established and highly regarded team in Texas,” John says. “In the course of my work, I get to constantly learn while also adding value with the knowledge I’ve gained through years of work in the hotel investment environment.”
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 23 Years
After a decade of working as a contractor for the Plasencia Group, Matt Sinclair came on board as VP of Design in August 2019. It was not an easy decision. He was the owner and co-founder of his own successful design firm. His reasoning for joining the Plasencia Group full time came down to “I had been working with them for so long that I came to understand that they really respected what I did, and I respect what they do and how they do it.”
That mutual respect is ongoing. Matt oversees the entire creative direction for TPG. That includes a vast array of projects: executive summaries, marketing collateral, external correspondence items, quarterly industry reports and, most important, offering memoranda — the key materials that the firm uses to make properties attractive to potential buyers. These deal books run from 36 pages for a select-service hotel to as many as 150 pages for a portfolio of luxury properties. All told, Matt efficiently handles a heavy workload.
While the sale of a hospitality asset is inherently a business transaction, Matt knows the value of creating pieces that not only have an emotional impact but also communicate the details that are important to a prospective purchasers.
Handy with a camera, Matt sometimes goes on location and shoots new photography to help put a property’s best foot forward. Overall, he prefers a clean, photo-heavy aesthetic, paired with copywriting that matches that style. He’s also expert at creating eye-catching graphics that present hard numbers in an attractive, easy-to-follow way, as well as charts, maps and other visuals.
Matt, a native of St. Petersburg, earned a Visual Communication degree from Judson University outside Chicago. That was in the mid ‘90s, when graphic design was making a pivotal transition from hand work to computers. He spent some time working in Illinois, then returned home to start his business. Matt, who’s married with two children, likes to shoot photography during his leisure time, and is a committed film buff and foodie.
“We’re advising on operating businesses and underlying real estate, which by nature is corporate and structured. But we’re also dealing in the leisure space, which has an emotional component for sellers and buyers that I can help to shine through in our materials.”
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 3 Years
Philip Gheorghiu is the quintessential team player on The Plasencia Group’s roster. A graduate of the world-renowned School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, Philip came to The Plasencia Group as a summer intern in 2017. After graduating in 2018 from Cornell with a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration, Philip joined the staff as a full-time financial analyst –– a position in which he thrived as an intern.
As an analyst, Philip specializes in creating financial models, aids in drafting proposals and confidential information memorandums, manages virtual data rooms, distributes due diligence materials, maintains databases, and keeps track of the day-to-day minutia surrounding TPG’s engagements. Over the past two years, he has underwritten over two hundred hotels from Upper Midscale to Luxury chain scale segments in more than fifty markets across the country, from premium-branded assets in urban cores to boutique, independent properties on the beach. He has experience analyzing and presenting investment opportunities on behalf of a wide range of clients from institutional, publicly traded entities to family-owned firms.
Easygoing, quick-witted and industrious, Philip’s transition from intern to analyst has been seamless. The 23-year-old says he feels like he’s settled into a new family and jokes that he’d “stay at the office all night to work on a project, if need be.”
A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Philip got his start in the hospitality industry working in the banquet facilities of his hometown Marriott and bussing tables at an Italian restaurant owned by a larger-than-life chef who didn’t take flack from customers or employees.
The son of a Romanian immigrant, Philip was raised with a strong appreciation for American freedom and opportunity. Each year on his birthday, he watches The Lord of the Rings with his father in a home theater designed to incorporate elements of Middle Earth. He holds a real estate license in his home state of South Carolina and is an avid fan of Manchester United.
“The Plasencia Group conducts itself with integrity and has a reputation for doing business the right way, and my experience here has confirmed that. The team is honest in all that they do, and is well respected in the industry.”
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 4 Years
Andrew Pappas, a Tampa Bay area native, joined the Plasencia Group in August 2019 after spending nearly two years as a research analyst in the industrial and retail sectors for the real estate behemoth CBRE, while simultaneously earning his masters degree in Real Estate Finance at Georgetown University. He finds that working for the more boutique Plascencia Group puts him “in the trenches,” closer to the dealmaking, than his tenure at CBRE, where he mostly did broad market research and issued quarterly reports. “It’s definitely an engaging environment here,” he says, “and it’s more professionally satisfying to know that my work directly affects client engagements.”
Andrew supports The Plasencia Group’s lodging transaction and advisory engagements through financial modeling and value and feasibility analysis. He digs deep into troves of data to evaluate hotel and resort financial performance. But he’s not just a numbers cruncher. Andrew is essential to the development of investment marketing materials, providing memoranda and other supporting content that make properties — from premium-branded select service hotels to independent resort complexes — attractive to potential buyers. He continuously hones his skills by working alongside team members with decades of experience across the industry.
Andrew grew up in Clearwater, the son of a real estate attorney. In high school and college, Andrew worked part-time in his father’s law office. Pursuing an interest in real estate, he earned a finance degree from University of South Florida and a Masters in Real Estate Finance at Georgetown University, which combined two of his passions to create a rewarding career.
Andrew is steeped in the heritage of his Greek ethnicity. His mother grew up in Athens and his paternal grandfather owned a Greek bakery in Cleveland, Ohio. He weight trains regularly and plays ice hockey, drums and guitar with friends.
“It’s definitely an engaging environment here and it’s professionally satisfying to know that my work directly affects client engagements.”
Tampa, Florida | Industry Tenure: 5 Years
It didn’t take Callie Brakefield long to become indispensable at The Plasencia Group. Hired in January 2015, Callie quickly earned a reputation for being hyper efficient, detail-orientated and cool under pressure. As the firm’s Executive Assistant, Callie serves as CEO Lou Plasencia’s right hand. A natural planner, she effortlessly manages the executive’s meetings, travel schedule and community engagements.
Prior to joining The Plasencia Group, Callie served as an Executive Assistant at MCNA Dental, a Fort Lauderdale-based dental benefits administrator for state agencies and managed care organizations. At MCNA, Callie provided support to C-level management, coordinated and maintained complex schedules and managed travel arrangements. She also acted as the point of contact for internal departments and outside clients and managed corporate records.
Born in North Carolina and raised in Florida, Callie began her career in her early 20s at the Florida Association of District School Superintendents in Tallahassee, Florida. It was there that she worked for now State Senator Bill Montford.
With 13 years of administrative experience and despite studying hospitality management at Florida Atlantic University, The Plasencia Group is her first foray into the hotel industry. Callie lives in Valrico and loves spending time with her family and traveling.
“I’m not easily frazzled or intimidated. I’m on the phone with CEOs at major investment firms on a daily basis and it just feels right.”
Each employee of the firm is committed to honest and ethical conduct, including the prompt handling of actual or potential conflicts of interest, the full, accurate and timely disclosure of such conflicts, and the immediate reporting of any violations to our Chief Administrative and Compliance Officer.
The Plasencia Group takes pride in successfully serving our clients with ardent passion, securing direct access to high-level decision-makers, and ensuring the certainty of a thorough and professionally-orchestrated process. These three words: Passion, Access and Certainty, represent the basic tenets of our philosophy. Every member of the firm is dedicated to delivering for our clients with a personalized level of commitment that is unsurpassed in our industry. Our goal is to make this singular approach the appreciable difference that continuously drives clients to The Plasencia Group.
Passion – Our sales professionals are empowered by a passion for results that energizes the entire marketing effort and maximizes the return on our clients’ hospitality investments.
Access – Our clients enjoy ready access to our principals, proprietary research and advice, as well as access to key industry decision-makers and investors around the globe.
Certainty – We guarantee that any engagement we take on will receive full exposure only to the most qualified investors, while completing a proven and regimented process.
The Plasencia Group’s employees guide themselves each day by the following principles:
- Confianza is a Spanish word used to describe the intimate trust, confidence, and comfort that develops among friends trusting and relying on each other. We strive to earn the valued friendship and confianza of those with whom we do business by providing prudent yet straightforward counsel in a professional and ethical manner.
- We always place our clients’ interests first and believe in serving our clients well.
- Dedication to the firm and to our clients is an essential element in our success. The professional quality of our work allows us to achieve excellence in all engagements.
- Information is power. We strive to be aware of activities, events or trends that may impact our business or our clients’ businesses.
- We stay on the leading edge of practices and deliver creative solutions.
- Without the best people, we cannot be the best firm. Our compensation program rewards our employees and ensures their interests are always aligned with those of our clients.
- Our size is an asset. Our talent is deep enough to undertake the largest project, yet small enough to maintain intimacy with our clients.
- Our key assets are our people, our experience and our reputation. We are dedicated to living by our ethical tenets and principles.
- Our business is highly competitive, and we aggressively seek to enhance our client relationships, but we will never put down our competition.
- We keep in strict confidence all confidential information.
- Integrity and honesty are at the heart of our business.
- We work to anticipate the rapidly changing needs of our clients and the lodging investment market.
- Our focus is on our clients and partners. They always come first, last and everywhere in between.
The Plasencia Group is a certified Women/Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (WMBE).
The Plasencia Group’s Code of Ethics & Conduct provides a uniform set of principles guiding the way we conduct business, perform our jobs and maintain our clients’ trust. All of our employees and independent contractors are expected to use these principles in their daily activities. The trust our clients and partners have placed in us is our most valuable asset. Our code sets forth the following fundamental principles and policies:
- Each member of the firm assesses his or her own practice area to ensure highest levels of service for our clients.
- As a corporate policy, we typically represent only one side of a transaction: the “sell” side entity. Where the possibility of a dual agency arises, we will first disclose this to both sides of the proposed transaction and receive written confirmation from both sides.
- We will advise our firm’s Chief Administrative and Compliance Officer of any potential conflict of interest, who will then decide if we may continue to represent our client.
- We will not disclose confidential information unless we have been authorized to do so.
- We will always be forthcoming with our client, never withholding background information about an investor or facts we have learned about a property.
Our sales professionals are empowered by a passion for results that energizes the entire marketing effort and maximizes the return on our clients’ hospitality investments.
Our clients enjoy ready access to our principals, proprietary research and advice, as well as access to key industry decision-makers and investors around the globe.
We guarantee that any engagement we take on will receive full exposure only to the most qualified investors, while completing a proven and regimented process.