Richard Merkel, C.H.A., President - Chief Operations Officer

The impactful contributions of President and Chief Operating Officer Richard (Dick) Merkel go back to 1999, when Lew Wiens hired the already-seasoned hotel executive to serve as vice president of operations for Henry Hotels, Inc., and its affiliate, True North Hotel Group, L.L.C.

In 2002, the company consolidated into True North Hotel Group, Inc., and Dick took on the role of Executive Vice President of Operations in 2006. Instrumentally influential on True North's success, Dick is a major factor behind the company's continuing growth from just a handful of hotels in the early days to more than 20 today.

Dick's hospitality career spans the spectrum from General Manager to directing hotel operations for a large public company. He has directed start-ups, turnarounds, asset management, financial control, market feasibility, site selection, risk management, food and beverage operations, quarterly reporting to investors and hotel valuations. Through this wide range of talents and capabilities, the common thread is Dick's strong acumen as an outstanding "people manager."

Dick began his career with the Hyatt Corporation, where he held several management positions with increasing management responsibilities over a seven-year period. He then joined Servico, Inc., serving as General Manager of several full-service hotel properties, and was then selected as opening GM of Servico's new multi-million hotel concept, Royce Hotels.

In 1983 he joined Innco Hospitality, Inc., a full-service management and development company, as Senior Vice President of Operations. When Wyndham Hotels and Resorts purchased ClubHouse in 1997, Dick continued to operate the ClubHouse properties until the end of 1998 as Vice President of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts in Dallas. After that, he relocated to Overland Park, Kan., to join Lew Wiens and True North.

Over the years, Dick has served as a board director for several convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce and lodging associations; and currently serves on Marriott's SpringHill Suites Marketing Committee. Dick holds a certified hotel administration (C.H.A.) designation from the Education Institute of the American Hotel and Motel Association and is a graduate of Western Illinois University.
Thursday December 13, 2018