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, Principal and President of Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC and a senior officer of Driftwood Capital, 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 $650M in sales, with EBITDA growing at a compound annual rate of 41%, from $16M to $280M. 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.
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.
Steve 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.
Peter J. Walz, 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.
Marc Kepple, Chief Financial Officer
Marc Kepple, Chief Financial Officer, joined Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC in 2016. In his position, Mr. Kepple is responsible for overseeing the treasury, financial planning, analysis and reporting for the company’s portfolio of properties. Mr. Kepple has over 15 years of accounting and auditing experience, as well as extensive knowledge of hospitality financial operations. He has expertly managed accounts in industries such as hospitality, real estate, gaming, private equity, technology, distributors and government during his tenure with a large national accounting firm.
Andrew Stevens, VP of Acquisitions & Development for Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC, 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.
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.
Sandra Caton, Director of Legal Administration, joined Driftwood Hospitality Management in November 2020, bringing 25 years of experience as a Paralegal both in private practice firms and in-house for mining and energy companies, most recently as Senior Paralegal with a renewable energy company in New York. Ms. Caton has a master’s degree in corporate compliance law, and is experienced in risk management, contracts, litigation, and compliance matters.
Carol Davies, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, a hospitality industry veteran with nearly 25 years of experience, has held a number of multi-hotel sales and marketing leadership positions throughout her career. As VP of sales and marketing, she is primarily responsible for all sales, marketing and e-commerce endeavors for the company’s 70+ owned and managed hotels. Prior to joining Driftwood, Carol served in a variety of regional director roles at management companies such as Hersha Hospitality, Growth Properties, and Island Hospitality formerly known as Innkeepers Hospitality. She has supported Select Service, Full Service, Extended Stay, Boutique and Resort hotels with both branded and boutique flags.
Mr. Cooke brings with him over 20 years of hospitality experience, holding key roles in operations acquisitions and development for organizations such as Marriott, Hilton, Gold Key | PHR, and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. Prior to joining Driftwood, he served as Senior Vice President for Schulte Hospitality Group where he managed $200M in annual Food & Beverage revenue, leading teams across 120 hotels. He also managed the formation and growth of an independent private equity enterprise, Table 95 Hospitality Group where he was responsible for concept development, brand alignment and product management across the portfolio while growing company revenues over $50 million.
Al Harrison serves as Vice President of Information Technology bringing with him over 15 years of experience building and supporting complex corporate infrastructures. Harrison provides leadership for the continued development of an innovative, robust, and secure information technology environment that is relied on by over 3000 users across 70+ locations. Al also holds a BS of Computer Science and has worked at several fortune 500 companies doing everything from network and server administration to enterprise architecture, to software development.