Each member of the Executive Team of Driftwood Hospitality Management averages 20 years of hotel experience and has a focus in the major aspects of hotel operations:
- David Buddemeyer, President
- Carlos J. Rodriguez, Executive Vice President
- Peter J. Walz, Executive Vice President
- Michael Diaz, Chief Operating Officer
- Steven M. Johnson, Executive Vice President
- Carlos Rodriguez, Jr., Vice President of New Development
- Tiffany Cahill, Corporate Director of Human Resources
- Jackie Gerstenfeld, Director of Legal Administration
- Johannah Durow, Senior Analyst
- Teresa M Kramer-Petrone, Regional Vice President, Marketing & Sales
- Bill Terrill, Regional Director Sales and Marketing
- Bryan Postema, Regional Director Sales and Marketing
- Brian LaPlante, Regional Director of Operations
- Andrew Stevens, Acquisitions and Business Development Manager
- Rob Auman, Regional Operations Manager
- Jim Bolin, Regional Operations Manager
- Scott Cornelius, Regional Operations Manager
- Tim Copella, Director of Purchasing
- Carol Davies, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing
The Executive Team of Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC
David Buddemeyer, Principal and President of Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC, is a hospitality veteran who has successfully facilitated the financial turnaround and growth of several multi-dimensional hotel companies. Before launching Driftwood, Mr. Buddemeyer served as Chairman and CEO of Servico Hotels and Resorts, a NYSE hotel company. During his eight-year tenure as the company’s Executive Vice President, which began in 1990, he was responsible for all facets of Servico’s operations. Under Mr. Buddemeyer’s leadership, the company grew from 28 hotels to 140 hotels and from $42M to $520M in sales, with EBITDA growing at a compound annual rate of 41%, from $16M to $180M. In December 1998, Servico merged with another hotel company, bringing the organization’s portfolio to 180 hotels and more than 30,000 rooms. Upon the successful completion of this merger, Mr. Buddemeyer – along with several of his executive team members – left to launch Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC. Prior to Servico, Mr. Buddemeyer served as Vice President of Operations for Prime Hospitality.
Carlos J. Rodriguez, President and CEO of Driftwood Acquisitions and Development (DAD, LP), Carlos J. Rodriguez has successfully built on his 30+ years of experience in finance, real estate and the lodging industry. When his Wall Street investment-banking career was cut short due to a death in his family, Rodriguez moved to his native Costa Rica to head up the Aurola Hotels group (1986 – 1996). Between 1991 and 1995 Rodriguez also served the Costa Rican government as Vice Chairman of the country’s pension, hospitals and social security system and represented his country as its Director of the Central American Bank of Economic Integration (1990-1991). In 1996, Rodriguez relocated to Miami, FL with his family to form Cardel Hotels, a development company, and Cardel Hospitality Group, specializing in hotel management. After opening several successful hotels in the area as well as developing a bank and two restaurant parcels, the Miami Doral-Airport West Chamber of Commerce named Rodriguez its “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2000. In 2003, he merged the Cardel Group with Driftwood Hospitality Management where, as Executive Vice President he oversaw lodging real estate development and acquisitions. With his Driftwood Hospitality partners, he co-founded the group of DVI Cardel Investment Funds in 2006, specializing in hotel properties. His hotels have won numerous awards and accolades across all of the major hospitality franchises. In 2007, Rodriguez teamed up with developer Stephen Blumenthal to form RodBlu Investment Fund to invest in a wider variety of real estate sectors. In 2015, he and his son Carlos Jr. developed the blueprint for Driftwood Acquisitions and Development, designed to combine the best attributes of private equity funds, REITS and high-net worth family offices as a vehicle for highly profitable U.S. hotel investments. Since 2015 DAD has acquired 12 hotels and has several others in various stages of development. Rodriguez holds a degree in Finance from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Peter J. Walz, Principal and Executive Vice President of Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC is in charge of renovation and design. Prior to Driftwood, Mr. Walz was President of Lodgian Europe, SA and Executive Vice President of Acquisitions and Development for Servico, Inc. from 1994 to 1999. While leading the development of Servico, Inc. the company grew from 42 hotels to 110 hotels. Prior to Servico, Inc., Mr. Walz developed a hotel and several office and retail projects in California. In addition, Mr. Walz was marketing manager for new products, The Pillsbury Company, and CEO and marketing architect for Rollerblades. He is also a recipient of an Emmy nomination for his work in Children and Family Television Programming.
Michael Diaz has served as Chief Operating Officer of Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC since the company’s launch in 1998. In this position, Mr. Diaz oversees Driftwood’s rapidly expanding global hotel portfolio and manages the company’s operations structure. He has been directly involved in the management of over 100 hotels including full service hotels and resorts and select service assets. Mr. Diaz began his hotel career at Servico, Inc. in 1993, serving roles in operations, acquisitions and projects and purchasing. Mr. Diaz managed numerous successful renovations and hotel developments, after which he assumed the position of Executive Vice President of Administration, overseeing the legal, human resource and risk management functions for the company. During his tenure at Servico, Inc., the company grew from 32 hotels in 1993 to 140 hotels in 1998. Mr. Diaz was instrumental in executing Servico’s merger with another leading hotel company and upon completion he left the company to form Driftwood.
Steven M. Johnson, Executive Vice President of Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC joined the firm in July 2002 and is responsible for acquisitions and management contracts. Prior to joining Driftwood, he worked at Interstate Hotels from 1999 to 2002 and before that was in charge of acquisitions for Highgate Holdings. He has also held development positions with Omni Hotels. Mr. Johnson began his career in 1984 as a consultant for Laventhol & Horwath, after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Management. Mr. Johnson has been involved in the development and acquisition of hotel and resort assets throughout the United States and Canada.
Carlos Rodriguez, Jr. received his B.A. degree from Duke University in 2009 and was then accepted as part of the Rotational Analyst program at LNR Property, the largest CMBS special servicer, investor, and originator worldwide. After successfully completing the rotational program, Mr. Rodriquez was promoted to an Associate overseeing a newly formed branch of LNR Property dedicated to high volume transactions, special resolutions, and direct equity investments. Mr. Rodriguez left LNR in 2012 to pursue ground-up development projects with his father and Driftwood’s Executive Vice President, Carlos Rodriguez, commencing as the project manager on a $30MM, 238-unit, two-phased condo tower project in San Jose, Costa Rica. Mr. Rodriguez has now returned to Miami, FL to manage the development branch of Driftwood through an EB-5 capital raise platform (DEB5 Development, LLC) starting with a Residence Inn in Flagler Station Miami that is projected to break ground November 2014.
Tiffany Cahill, Corporate Director of Human Resources, joined Driftwood Hospitality Management in 2007 as an Executive Assistant to the founding partners. Eventually, she advanced within the company by joining the Human Resource team in 2010. Since that time she has made it a priority to recruit and hire the industry’s top talent, while supporting the company’s Human Resource efforts which include training, performance management, career development, diversity program development, employee relations, compensation, safety, and compliance standards. Ms. Cahill began her career in the hospitality industry with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, after graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
Jackie Gerstenfeld, Director of Legal Administration, joined Driftwood Hospitality Management in June 2007 after more than 25 years as a Paralegal, most recently as a Corporate and Securities Paralegal for a prestigious South Florida law firm. Ms. Gerstenfeld also has expertise as a paralegal working on securities and corporate litigation and case management. She oversees the contracts, compliance, loss prevention and litigation for the company.
Johannah Durow, Senior Analyst, joined Driftwood Hospitality Management in June 2013 and is responsible for acquisition and development underwriting and analysis. Ms. Durow received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics and International Business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2011 after graduation, Ms. Durow joined LNR Property in Miami Beach, the largest CMBS special servicer, investor and originator worldwide, as an Analyst in the U.S. Asset Services Rotational Program. During the program, Ms. Durow assessed and identified potential loan default risk and collaborated on loan work-out strategies.
Teresa M Kramer-Petrone, Regional Vice President, Marketing & Sales, joined the company in September 2000. She has worked the last 15 years in hotel/resort marketing and sales developing and implementing strategic and successful marketing and sales strategies with measurable results. Her responsibilities include finding new revenue opportunities for the Driftwood portfolio of properties involving all market segments.
Bill Terrill, Regional Director Sales and Marketing, joined Driftwood Hospitality in February 2009. A Hospitality Management and Business graduate from the University of Central Florida, Mr. Terrill brings over 25 years of hospitality sales and marketing experience that encompasses multiple brands including Hilton, Marriott, IHG, and Choice, both in limited and full service properties. Mr. Terrill’s passion for sales and marketing drives him to build revenue strategies and sales teams that compete in today’s fast paced markets by achieving increased revenues while keeping the focus on customer service.
Bryan Postema, Regional Director Sales and Marketing, joined Driftwood Hospitality in August 2011. A Hospitality Management and Business graduate from Central Michigan University, Mr. Postema brings over 15 years of hospitality sales and marketing experience in full service branded hotels. His experience encompasses large group houses, to smaller transient focused properties across varied markets. In his roll, he oversees the strategy and execution of the full service portfolio’s sales and marketing efforts, focusing on top line sales goals, market share and growing the division’s talent pipeline.
Brian LaPlante, Director of Operations, joined Driftwood in 2010 as a Director of Sales and Marketing for the Sheraton Hotel in Bellevue WA. Soon after joining the company, Mr. LaPlante was promoted, serving the next 5 years as General Manager. During his tenure, the hotel received numerous accolades as being one of the top 10 performing Sheratons in North America in various operational and service culture metrics. He became a Regional Director of Operations for Driftwood in August of 2015, where his primary duties are to motivate, guide and assist in areas of sales, marketing, service culture, and operations. Mr. LaPlante graduated from the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Prior to joining Driftwood, he held executive level property and regional positions with brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Red Lion, and resorts such as Barton Creek, and Westfields International Conference Resort by Marriott.
Andrew Stevens, Acquisitions and Business Development Manager, is responsible for growing the company’s portfolio of third-party management contracts and identifying business development opportunities. Prior to joining Driftwood, Andrew owned and operated a start-up company in South Florida that included an e-commerce platform, a chain of retail stores, and an international wholesale operation. He has worked with several technology start-ups, including CareCloud and ContractRoom, specializing in product management and business development. Andrew has a BA from Duke University, an International MBA from IE Business School in Madrid, and an MBA from the University of Miami.
Rob Auman, Regional Operations Manager, joined Driftwood as the General Manager of Hotel Thirty Thirty in New York City. With 34 years experience in the hotel industry, Mr. Auman became Regional Operations Manager in March of 2004. His primary duties are to assist the hotels in the operations and sales efforts.
Jim Bolin serves as Regional Operations Manager for Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC and has over 35 years of experience in the hotel industry. Mr. Bolin joined Driftwood in 1999 as the General Manager of the Holiday Inn Select in Memphis, Tennessee and became a Regional Operations Manager in June of 2010. His primary duties are to assist the hotels in their operations and sales efforts. Prior to joining the Driftwood team, Mr. Bolin worked at Servico, Inc./Lodgian Hotels for 6 years and held various positions, including General Manager of the Omni Hotel in West Palm Beach and Regional Operations Manager.
Scott Cornelius, Regional Operations Manager, joined Driftwood in 2004 holding General Manager and Regional Manager positions in Miami, the Bahamas and Costa Rica. Previously, he worked for Marriott International as a General Manager for 11 years at properties in Kansas, Pittsburgh and the Bahamas. Mr. Cornelius started his career with Sheraton in 1980 working in various food and beverage positions throughout the United States for over ten years.
Tim Copella, Director of Purchasing for Driftwood Hospitality Mgt, LLC/Hospitality Project Advisors, has been in the hotel industry for over 25 years, starting his career with Hilton Hotels in Chicago and New York. He joined Servico Hotels in 1993 with roles in operations, project management and purchasing. He was active in the Servico merger with an Atlanta based firm in 1998 and joined the original Driftwood team in 1999. In 2007, Mr. Copella went to work for a start-up team to launch NYLO Hotels, but ultimately returned to Driftwood in 2016 where he currently oversees all operational, capital and renovation purchases for the company.
Carol Davies, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, has over 22 years of sales and marketing experience. For the last 17 years, Carol has been in an above property leadership role, overseeing the sales and marketing efforts of both branded and non-branded hotels. Her portfolio has included limited service, extended stay, boutique, convention and full-service properties in resort, urban and suburban markets across the country. She has extensive working knowledge of the Starwood, IHG, Hilton, Marriott and Choice brands as well as several non-branded lifestyle boutique hotels. Carol has vast experience in both the transitioning of existing assets and the opening efforts of brand new ones in most major markets across the United States.