Vice President of Howard HospitalityKaren McNevin is responsible for the property management and operations of all hospitality projects for Howard Group, including the two Marriott hotels in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin®.
Karen has over seventeen years of experience in the hospitality industry across major and independent hotels to include the Marriott Corporation, The Peabody Hotel Group, Hilton Corporation and The Park Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Since her start with Howard Group in 2002, Karen has been promoted various times, most recently to the position of Director of Human Resources and Special Projects, including work on projects such as Grand Boulevard's Marriott hotels.
Karen is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Charlotte Area Society of Human Resources Management (CASHRM), and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Other services include former member of the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) where she served as the Public Relations Chair for the Central Florida Chapter and on NAPM trade show and golf tournament committees.
Director of HotelsBorn and raised in Ecuador, Tania came to the United States at 21 years of age to study Hospitality. Her career began with the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans, and she continued to work for the Ritz Carlton brand for over 10 years. Her time with Ritz Carlton moved her to many exciting opportunities across the country in a variety of positions and departments. She began working for the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in 2009 and in 2010 was asked to lead the teams at the Courtyard and Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard. While Tania was General Manager for both Marriott properties on Grand Boulevard, the hotels have undergone major room and lobby renovations; all while improving Guest Satisfaction scores and revenues. Tania was awarded two 2014 Diamond General Manager awards for the Courtyard and Residence Inn brands, an unprecedented achievement in Marriott history. In 2016, Tania was promoted to Director of Hotel Operations for all of Howard Hospitality. Tania's philosophy on success in the hospitality industry is to prioritize taking care of employees.
Experience & Marketing
Director of Experience & MarketingBorn and raised in New York and Florida jointly, Melissa began her Hospitality career as a front desk agent at the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan. After attending New York University and later graduating from Florida State University with a degree in Theatre and a minor in Anthropology, Melissa felt that a career in hotel media and guest relations was the next logical step. Joining Howard Hospitality in 2013 was the best thing that ever happened to her. Melissa began the intensive study of the company's Guest Experience in 2013 and both the Residence Inn and Courtyard Sandestin have seen exponential improvement in Guest Satisfaction scores since her involvement began. In 2014 the Courtyard won the Platinum Circle Award for Guest Satisfaction as well as the 3rd place overall Arrival Experience in the brand. The Residence Inn won the Gold Circle Award for Guest Satisfaction in 2014 as well. The Social Media reach of the properties has increased ten-fold year over year with her efforts and she plans on continuing the growth and development of how Howard Hospitality communicates with its current and potential guests.
A born and raised local of the Emerald Coast, Bobby joined the Howard Hospitality team in May 2017 as the Sales Coordinator. Then, in April 2018, Bobby moved full-time to the Marketing Department of Howard Hospitality as the Marketing Coordinator where he oversees the majority of the digital marketing efforts as well as the graphic design and branding of Howard Hospitality. Prior to joining Howard Hospitality, Bobby was the Creative Director and Marketing & Public Relations Manager for the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise and Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin. Adding to his diverse resume, Bobby has also worked as the Community Relations Coordinator for WPSM Radio 91.1 in Destin where he oversaw all marketing and community outreach endeavors. Bobby is graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor's in Elementary Education. Before taking a leap into a new career path in 2015, Bobby taught 4th through 12th grades at a K-12 charter school in Panama City, FL. and served as the Theatre Director from 2012-2015. Bobby is thrilled to be a part of the Howard Hospitality team and is excited to see where this adventure leads.
Guest Experience Coordinator
Director of Sales for the Courtyard and Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard
Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ron graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1989. He quickly followed his father’s footsteps in the hospitality industry and began his career in New Orleans, LA with the Monteleone Hotel in front office operations. His sales career followed with properties such as Clarion, Le Meridien and Fairmont Hotels in New Orleans. He later joined Mirage Resorts as part of the pre-opening sales team for Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi, managing their satellite sales office in Atlanta, GA. Ron relocated to Destin, FL in 2000 and joined Hilton Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort where he was promoted to Assistant Director of Sales in 2002 and Director of Group Sales in 2006. Ron joined Howard Hospitality in 2010 accepting the role of Director of Sales for both properties and where he oversees the sales team, which includes revenue management and total revenue and yield strategies. In June 2018, Ron also became a member of the Visit South Walton Marketing Committee.
Mary Beth Coats
Sales CoordinatorOriginally from Florence, Alabama, Mary Beth began her hospitality career at the Residence Inn in Florence as a Front Desk Agent. Mary Beth spent nearly 4 years at the Residence Inn in Florence, and during her tenure, she became well versed in all departments and was promoted to the Front Desk Supervisor. In 2016, Mary Beth decided it was time for a change of scenery and moved to South Walton and joined the Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard team as a Front Desk Agent. After a year at Courtyard, she was promoted to Sales Coordinator for Howard Hospitality where she oversees all administrative aspects of the Sales Department for all Howard Hospitality properties. Mary Beth is excited to see what the future holds for both herself and Howard Hospitality.
Finance & Revenue
Revenue ManagerHailing from Kansas City, MO, Jeff began his career in customer service working with AT&T for 5 years before moving to Florida. He moved to Destin in 2006 and joined the Courtyard Sandestin at Grand Boulevard team in its opening year. Jeff started his journey in the Front Office and Food & Beverage departments and was promoted to the Front Office Supervisor in 2006. He came to the Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard in 2012 as Operations Manager and was promoted to the Assistant General Manager in 2013. Jeff is incredibly excited to begin his career as the Revenue Manager for Howard Hospitality this year.
Financial ControllerBorn and raised in Northwest Florida, Anita is a native Floridian and has resided in South Walton since 2003. She is an alumna of the University of West Florida and Pensacola State College. Over her accounting career of 30+ years, Anita has managed financials for a wide variety of businesses. In her earlier years, she worked for the Air Force Base Exchange Services in accounting and management capacities while living in Germany. Her time with the Air Force Base Exchange Services took her to Italy, France, and many other European locations. Anita also worked for 11 years with Sacred Heart Hospital of Pensacola managing financials for their Doctors’ Residency Program and the Community Clinic in Pensacola. Prior to joining the Howard Hospitality team, she was the SE Regional Accounting Controller working with Intrawest, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, and Sandestin Investments. During her tenure as SE Regional Accounting Controller, Anita also managed financials and accounting for various SE Regional ventures and commercial accounting for The Village of Baytowne Wharf, Shark's Tooth Golf Club, Portofino Island Resort, as well as many other organizations. She has managed successfully all accounting aspects from the ground up for Howard Hospitality since opening the Marriott hotels in 2006. Anita is looking forward to the opening of Hyatt Place and all the future growth with the Howard Hospitality team.
Director of Engineering Originally from McCook, Nebraska, Chris served in the U.S. Army from 1986-1989 and has found his way to the Destin area for keeps. Chris’s career in the Construction Industry began in 1990 – after 16 years he began working for the Marriott hotels on Grand Boulevard in 2006. He began as Chief Engineer at the Courtyard Sandestin at Grand Boulevard when the hotels first opened. He currently holds the position of Director of Engineering for both properties. Chris has implemented a rigorous preventative maintenance program at both properties to ensure that hotel guests experience a flawless stay. He is looking forward to continuing his work with the Howard Hospitality team.
Assistant Director of EngineeringBorn and raised in Bulgaria, Petar has been curious about how things work since he was a small child repairing his bicycle and building tree houses. His passion, though has always been electronics and electricity. After completing a high school specialization in Electrical Engineering and a college degree in Computer Technology Petar moved to the United States in 2005. He began his career in Hospitality in housekeeping and in 2009 began working for the Marriott hotels on Grand Boulevard in maintenance. He was promoted in 2013 to the Assistant Director of Engineering. Petar looks forward to the future growth of Howard Hospitality.
General Manager at Courtyard Sandestin at Grand BoulevardDarren comes to Howard Hospitality from the University of Alabama where he received a Bachelor of Science in Commerce & Business Administration, majoring in Small Company Management. Before joining the hospitality field, Darren served as the Vice President of Information Technology for Source Medical Solutions in Birmingham, Alabama. Then in 2006, Darren joined Oikon Hotels, Inc. as the Vice President of Hotel Development and Acquisitions where he had the opportunity to manage the acquisition of two existing hotels as well as the construction of two new hotels. Darren returned to the technology realm in 2009 as the Vice President of Operations for TownWizard, Inc. – a turn-key software solution designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs launch any town’s first mobile guide. During his tenure with TownWizard, Inc., Darren created and launched Destin Shines – Destin’s #1 local mobile guide - and Destin Apps, which provides technology solutions for businesses. In 2016, Darren returned to hospitality as the General Manager of Hampton Inn Niceville/Eglin Air Force Base where he was awarded the Hampton Circle of Excellence Award in 2016 and 2017. Darren held this position until May 2018 when he joined Howard Hospitality as the General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard. In his free time, Darren is a father of three, enjoys Alabama football, golf, and volunteers at Food for Thought, Inc. – a nonprofit charity founded by his wife. He is also a Isshin-Ryu Black Belt, a Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student, drone pilot, and a Google Apps Certified Administrator.
Assistant General Manager at Courtyard Sandestin at Grand Boulevard
General Manager at Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand BoulevardKaisha grew up in a small town outside of Dallas, TX. She began her hospitality career in Springfield, MO while she was attending Missouri State University. She graduated from MSU in 2012 with a BS in Hospitality Administration. After her graduation she joined Howard Hospitality at the Courtyard Sandestin at Grand Boulevard. She has had the privilege of holding many roles in the company and is currently proud to be serving as the Operations Manager for the Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard.
Operations Manager at Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand BoulevardBorn and raised in Ukraine, and very proud of her Ukrainian heritage, Vita spent three years at the University of Ostroh Academy where she studied to be a teacher and translator of English, French, and Spanish. In 2007, at the age of 20, Vita came to Florida and immediately fell in love with the beauty of the beaches, white sand, and warm weather. It was at that point that her hospitality career began. In 2008, Vita accepted a position as a housekeeping inspector in Rosemary Beach and then continued in that role at Club Intrawest located at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in 2009. Following her two-year tenure at Club Intrawest, Vita was the Account Supervisor at Seascape Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida before joining the Marriott family at Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard in 2012 as a housekeeping inspector. From the first few days at Residence Inn, Vita felt as though it was her second home and was soon transferred to the Front Office where she worked until September 2016. However, she received an offer as Executive Housekeeper at Embarc at Sandestin Golf Beach Resort that she could not refuse, but the grass did not look as green on the other side as she originally thought. Nevertheless, Vita returned to Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard in February 2017 as the Front of House Supervisor, in which she held until being promoted to Operations Manager in March 2018. Vita is a true asset to the award-winning Residence Inn team and truly has a heart for guest and employee satisfaction as it is apparent that she loves what she does, where she works, and the people she works with.
General Manager at Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard
Megan is a Florida native born and raised in Sarasota, Fl. She attended the University of West Florida in Pensacola and has a BS in Hospitality, Recreation, and Resort management. Megan started her career working at the Portofino Island Resort on Pensacola Beach while she was a student at UWF. She began working with the Howard Hospitality team in 2016 as a Front of House Supervisor at the Residence Inn. She then journeyed onto becoming the Food & Beverage Manager at the Courtyard and from there was promoted to Operations Manager in 2017. Megan was homeschooled all her life and from there draws her passion for training and educating new associates. She is excited to see what her future holds within Howard Hospitality.
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