Meet the Vesta Hospitality Executive Team
Richard Takach, Jr. - President & CEO
Rick Takach, Jr. is President and CEO of Vesta Hospitality.
In 1996, Takach co-founded the company with a vision of creating unique hotels that offer the finest in quality and service. With more than 30 years of experience in the hotel industry, he has earned a reputation for attracting and retaining talented hospitality industry professionals who in turn create award-winning hotels with outstanding customer satisfaction.
Before forming his own hotel management group, Takach served as regional manager for the Marriott Corporation in Bethesda, Maryland, and spent seven years as executive vice president of Dimension Development Company of Natchitoches, Louisiana. He has served on Hilton Hotels' Advisory Council and as past-Chairman of the IAHI, the owner's association for InterContinental Hotels Group. Takach is currently the Chairman of the IAHI – Asia Pacific Region. Takach also serves on the Board of Directors as a Management Company Representative for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA).
Takach graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in business administration and has since gained first-hand experience in every aspect of hotel operations, management and development.
Takach is an active community leader generously giving his time as an active member to the Vancouver Rotary Club and the Vancouver Historic Trust. Takach also serves on the board and is the Chairman for Clark College Foundation in Vancouver, Washington.
Mike Cryan - Chief Investment Officer
Cryan joined Vesta in 2013, bringing his 35-plus years of industry experience and noted investment successes along with him. Most previously serving as President and CEO of Lighthouse Hospitality, one of his most noted achievements at the company includes his purchase of Napa Marriott, which he sold for a 43% Investor Internal Rate of Return.
Additional and esteemed positions include his leadership services as President & CEO of Windsor Capital, Inc, as well as Co-Chair and CEO of Homestead Village.
Cryan holds a proven track record of exceptional investments generating sustaining profits for his firms. His past positions include numerous roles at Arthur Anderson Hospitality as well as a several leadership roles at ITT Sheraton, where he ultimately led efforts to acquire for the company a total of $2 billion in hotel assets. He holds an MBA from Babson College and a BS from Manhattan College.
Robert Gartner - Vice President of Business Development
Rob Gartner is the VP of Business Development for Vesta Hospitality.
Gartner has more than 17 years of experience in real estate investment, development, and corporate finance. Prior to joining Vesta in 2004, Gartner served as founding principal in Cypress Capital Management, LLC.
Prior to this, Gartner was vice president of ScanlanKemperBard Companies (SKB), a West Coast real estate investment company, for nine years. There he played a critical role in the company's growth from a start-up in 1993 to achieving total investments in excess of $500 million. He was responsible for underwriting, closing and managing a diverse range of real estate investments and developments, including office, retail, apartments, flex industrial, condominiums, and single-family subdivisions.
Gartner was also instrumental in the creation of a new business unit for PacifiCorp Financial Services, which acquired and developed more than 3,000 affordable housing units throughout the United States during his tenure. His background also includes more than three years of commercial finance experience with both First Interstate Commercial Corporation and PacifiCorp Financial Services, where he was a senior analyst/auditor responsible for conducting financial and collateral reviews of companies with sales of up to $350 million.
Gartner became a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) in 1990 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in business/accounting from the University of Oregon.
Elson Strahan - Vice President of Investor Relations
Strahan served for 12 years as President and CEO of the Fort Vancouver National Trust. Prior to that he spent 19 years as President of the Clark College Foundation. In both capacities Strahan had overall responsibility for generating financial support which included extensive involvement in a variety of property transactions.
Under his leadership, assets at the Clark College Foundation increased from approximately $1 million to a benchmark of $63 million, ranking it nationally at the top of community college foundations. Several major property acquisitions were incorporated in this asset growth.
During his tenure at the Trust, the organization executed a master lease with the City of Vancouver to manage and renovate approximately 40 former US Army officer homes and barracks buildings. Prior to his departure, Strahan completed a successful multi-million dollar campaign for the Trust to acquire Vancouver's most iconic building, Providence Academy, to add to the downtown historic district.
Strahan received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin and holds a Master of Public Affairs from Washington State University. Strahan was certified by the National Society of Fundraising Executives as a Certified Fund Raising Executive and has served on well over a dozen nonprofit boards and government commissions, several of which he has chaired.
Mark Hemmer, CHA - Chief Operating Officer
Hemmer joined Vesta Hospitality in 2006 as Vice President of Operations and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2012.
In this position, Hemmer is responsible for the overall daily operations of all properties in the company's portfolio. Specific areas of focus include revenue generation, quality service levels, profitability and associate retention and training.
Prior to joining Vesta Hospitality, he served as regional director of operations for Chicago-based First Hospitality Group. While there, Hemmer oversaw the operation of 15 hotels including Springhill Suites by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites, Wyndham Garden, Holiday Inn and Hilton Garden Inn hotels, located in the Midwest.
With more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Hemmer's expertise covers all aspects of sales, marketing, and hotel operations. He has served on the Residence Inn by Marriott System Marketing Fund Committee, the Residence Inn Quality Assurance Re-design Committee and the Residence Inn Quest for Quality Awards Committee.
Hemmer earned a degree in business administration from Almeda University, is recognized as a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and was recognized as General Manager of the Year for the Residence Inn by Marriott brand.
Julie R. Hames, CHAE - Chief Finance Officer
Julie R. Hames is a Senior Vice President and Controller for Vesta Hospitality.
As a certified hospitality accounting executive with the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals Association, Hames has been with Vesta since 1997 and was instrumental in establishing the company's guiding financial policies and procedures.
Prior to Vesta, Hames served as the corporate controller for Sterling Hotels Corporation, where she was previously an internal auditor. As internal auditor, she oversaw up to 15 properties, training new staff and monitoring property level controls.
Hames takes pride in having developed a centralized accounting office with a high standard for accuracy and efficiency in general accounting principles.
Karen Cooksey - Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Cooksey joined in 2014. Her diverse and successful career has added up to more than 30 years in the hospitality industry. As Vice President of Sales & Marketing, she oversees every aspect of expanding, improving and innovating our sales team and marketing strategy goals.
Throughout her career, Cooksey has held positions increasing responsibility with some of the hospitality industry’s leading hotel companies including AIRCOA Hotels & Resorts, The Continental Companies, Hilton International, Hotels of Distinction, and a variety of independent hotels through Marketing By Design, Inc. Positions held include Sales Manager, Director of Sales and Marketing, Regional Director of Sales, and VP Marketing.
Having worked with over 100 hotels and resorts, Cooksey has consistently been able to increase revenue results by building sales skills and developing sales teams to achieve record setting results.
Cooksey attended Ashland College in Ashland, Ohio.
Susanne Cox - Director of Human Resources
Cox enjoyed a European education in the hospitality industry, including a three year apprenticeship and college degree. She worked in hotel operations for independent and branded hotels in Europe and the United States for over 25 years.
Cox first joined Vesta Hospitality in 1999 and left in 2011 to pursue her passion for human resources and the desire to assist and grow future leaders and managers in other industries as Human Resources Consultant. She rejoined the team of Vesta Hospitality in 2014. Her years of experience in the industry and degree in Administration and Human Resources are helpful tools in streamlining processes, developing procedures, and mentoring hotel professionals.
Cox holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Administration and Management from Bavaria College in Germany and the Professional in Human Resources Certification.
Cox is also actively involved in the local community and a past president of the Rotary Club of Vancouver, Washington.
Marci Hart - Director of Administration & Executive Assistant
Hart joined Vesta in 2007, and has over 22 years of human resources and administration experience. Prior to joining the Vesta team, Hart worked in the human resources department at Stoel Rives LLP, as well as in the human resources and accounting departments at SSAB North America. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Ambrose University.
Angela Loggins - Controller
Loggins joined the Vesta Team in 2015 as Controller. She has been in the hospitality industry for 26 years. For the past 22 years Loggins has worked in Hotel Accounting and 20 years as a Controller. Early in her career she held several positions including; Front Desk Clerk, Night Auditor and Front Office Supervisor. Loggins worked for a hotel management company that operated franchise hotels including Courtyard by Marriott, Days Inn, Fairfield Inn and Hilton Garden Inn. She also has extensive experience with Luxury Boutique Hotels and opened both the Paramount Hotel and the Nines a Starwood Luxury Hotel in downtown Portland.
Loggins has a passion for the industry and enjoys teaching others.