Lewis H. (Lew) Wiens, Founder & Chairman, Board of Directors

Lewis H. (Lew) Wiens, C.H.A., is a highly respected hotel owner, manager and developer known throughout the industry for his extensive experience, consistency and integrity.

Lew got his first taste of development with Homes by Henry, Inc., a single-family and light commercial construction and sub-division development company, where he served as President from 1973 to 1976. He then became general property manager for Robert E. Esrey Company, a forerunner of Cohen-Esrey Real Estate Services, Inc., in 1976, directing the operation of a dozen large apartment projects. In 1977, he entered the plastics business and a year later purchased Aero Plastics, a plastics manufacturer with two plants in Kansas City. He operated this company until co-founding RHW Companies, a hotel firm, in 1983.

Lew became Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of RHW, which was comprised of two companies, RHW Management, Inc., and RHW Construction, Inc. Lew directed the property management side along with development, market analysis and site selection.  RHW Companies was a pioneer in the development of Residence Inn, opening the sixteenth Residence Inn – and the brand's fifth franchise property – in 1984. Lew became very involved with the Residence Inn development company and was a founding member of the Owner's Association when it was formed.  He was the incoming President of The Residence Inn Association, the franchise owner's group, when the brand was acquired by Marriott in 1987. Lew's steady leadership during this often challenging transition led to strong Marriott relationships that continue today.

In 1995, Lew founded Henry Hotels, Inc., to concentrate on development opportunities, and subsequently entered into a joint venture in 1998 with Fishkill, N.Y.-based developer and fellow Residence Inn pioneer Michael Dubroff, owner of Inn Alpha Management Corporation, to form True North Hotel Group, L.L.C. The affiliated group maintained a portfolio of 18-20 hotels, developing and opening 11 hotels until Mike's retirement in 2002. Lew then teamed with Richard Merkel to reorganize the company under one umbrella, and True North Hotel Group, Inc., was born.  Lew currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of True North Hotel Group, Inc., which is based in Overland Park, KS and operates 25 multi-brand hotels in 11 states with six hotels under development.  

A business school graduate of the University of Kansas, Lew is a Vietnam veteran who served a second part-time career as a supply officer in the Naval Reserves for 21 years including six years in a Naval Construction Battalion (SEABEEs). With 4 ½ years of active duty, he served as the Supply Officer of the U.S.S. Walker out of Pearl Harbor and later was assigned as a simultaneous staff member of CINCLANTFLT and COMSERVLANT in Norfolk. He is a licensed real estate broker in Kansas, and holds a Certified Hotel Administrator (C.H.A.) designation from the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Lew is past President of The Residence Inn by Marriott Association and a member of the Marriott SpringHill Suites Franchise Advisory Council, for which he also served as President for over a decade. He has dedicated many years of civic duty to his community, serving as zoning board Chairman, Johnson County Planning Commission member, Board Member of an intercity not-for-profit organization, Board Member of Wounded Warriors Family Support, and as an active volunteer/coach with several youth programs.

Monday August 10, 2020