"As a child, I often thought that I would like to be on the other side of the hotel counter..."
This past December, Tom Wolfe, chief concierge of The Fairmont San Francisco, was officially recognized as the very first concierge in the United States by the Northern California Concierge Association and Les Clefs d'Or USA, an international organization of hotel lobby concierges. In addition to founding the position at The Fairmont in 1974, Wolfe has headed guest services at the Hotel New Otani Tokyo and New York City's historic Plaza Hotel.
How has the art of being a concierge changed over the years? When I began, we communicated via telephone, telegrams and telex. We could reach guests only when they were at the hotel. The cell phone has made both the concierge and guests accessible all day long, so I can continue to assist them when they are off property.
What led you to your field? My father traveled on business internationally. When I was growing up, we would join him for vacations in exotic places such as South America and Mexico. I fell in love with grand hotels. As a child, I often thought that I would like to be on the other side of the hotel counter and make someone else's trip special. While I attended American University in Washington, D.C., I had the honor of working as an office boy for Sen. Robert Kennedy. He was a very gracious man and even invited members of his staff to attend a holiday party at Hickory Hill [in McLean, Va.]. By observing the senator and his interactions with others, I learned the true meaning of diplomacy and protocol.
PineRock expands to New York, hires executives
PineRock, a meeting and event production and communications company based in Washington, D.C., has opened a new office in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, and two new executives have signed on. Ray Simon will serve in the position of senior vice president, general manager, and Barbara Martin has been hired as senior creative director and writer. Previously, Simon was the New York general manager for RSI Marketing, while Martin worked as a pharmaceutical and financial consultant.
Simon Barnett has been hired to serve as director of sales and marketing for the 509-room Jumeirah Essex House in New York City.
The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau has appointed Jenna Bisesi, Jennifer Gordon, Elaine Kady and Amber Levy as national sales managers.
Patrick Blangy has been hired as director of sales and marketing for the 273-room Taj Boston.
The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association has named Ronnie Burt Jr. senior vice president of sales.
Chris Cashebeck, CMP, has been appointed director of corporate and incentive sales, North America, for the 616-room Fairmont Monte Carlo.
The 170-room Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, Va., has hired Matthew Harris as general manager.
Coronado, Calif.-based Peartrees Catering has hired Deandra Holcomb as director of sales.
The 700-room Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami has appointed Mark Jeffrey as general manager.
Hilton Hawaii has named Robert Korin senior sales manager for the Eastern region of the United States.
Meeting and event management company Experient, headquartered in Twinsburg, Ohio, has hired Sarah Lastres as a meeting and event coordinator. She will be based in the company's Chicago office.
The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau has tapped Sue Pine to handle national accounts for association management companies.