Kris Ullmer, PAII President/CEO
Kris began her work as the PAII Executive Director in March 2015. In her 20 years of experience as the Administrator of the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association (WBBA), Kris developed skills and attributes to manage an association during both lean and robust economic times, and periods of growth and maturity. Just as innkeepers strive to exceed guest expectations, it’s been her priority to deliver outstanding service to the association and personal attention to the members.
PAII, with a membership of innkeepers, aspiring innkeepers, interim innkeepers, industry consultants and vendor partners, presents an annual conference and trade show, with the next event in LAS VEGAS in January 2019. Members look to PAII as the indispensable source of information year 'round on innkeeping trends, products, and services, which are conveniently delivered by e-publications and webinars.
Working independently or with members, volunteers, committees, and a Board of Directors are association management essentials that Kris brings to PAII. Her membership in ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) and the Wisconsin affiliate provided education on association management best practices. Kris’ record of developing and delivering opportunities and programs of value to innkeepers, vendors, and aspiring innkeepers is balanced with fiscal responsibility.
In 1987, Kris and Randy (spouse) opened the first B&B in Merrill (located in central Wisconsin) and they enjoyed innkeeping for 10 years. Upon immediately joining the new state B&B association, Kris volunteered to serve on the newly formed Standards Committee, charged with developing the inspection program. A few years later she became the Membership Coordinator and with the rapid growth of the membership, the association leaders identified the need for a director to manage the association; Kris was hired in 1995. Within 2 years she encountered a WI law that prohibited any additions to an historic B&B – her home - which required her to surrender her B&B license in order to construct an addition to house an office. And, eventually, that law was eliminated by her and the association’s legislative efforts.
When out of the office, Kris is an avid X-C skier, and is of the opinion that Wisconsin winters are not long enough. Other seasons find her on Craftsman/Frank Lloyd Wright architectural & design excursions, biking, shooting pistol and shotgun sports, and teaching / coaching Women & Youth shooting programs and most recently a beginner shooting class for the UW. _________________________________________
Debbie Anderson, Membership Coordinator
Debbie comes to the position of Membership Coordinator after a 33-year career at Purdue University—the last 15 years as the freshman and sophomore Biology (majors) lab coordinator. Ask her about her job description and it will sound remarkably like the job description of most innkeepers—she did whatever it took to keep the labs running smoothly each day. Some days, she’d likely tell you that she spent her days as a glorified maid, picking up after hundreds of teenagers each day. Some days herding cats for a living sounded like a great alternative career.
Most people that know Debbie well also know that she can rarely be found sitting around ‘doing nothing’. In 2003 she and her husband John founded Victorian House Scones, LLC—a small company which manufactures scone, biscuit, muffin, pancake, and shortbread cookie mixes. The company began with a few scone mixes—and over the years the other mix types have slowly been added to their product list. Debbie still does all the manufacturing, with the help of one part-time assistant, and John is her chief guinea pig and Sherpa.
So how did she come to be part of PAII? The first year they were in business, they tucked a few mixes into the back of the car and took off for a long weekend at a friend’s house on Lake Michigan. While there, Debbie called a local B&B and asked if she could stop by to talk—and offered the innkeeper a selection of her scone mixes. That innkeeper referred her to another Michigan inn which was on their route home. Those innkeepers became her first wholesale customers—and remained customers as long as they stayed in the innkeeping business.
How did I come to PAII?
We always believed our little scone business was a good fit with the B&B industry. As we began to acquire some customers within the industry and learn more about the B&B industry, we began to understand the hierarchy of the local, state and national organizations, and the importance of working with these organizations. It quickly became apparent that we couldn’t afford to join every state organization as a vendor member—so we made the decision early on to join the national organization, and thus became members of PAII in 2006.
When Kris became Executive Director, I told her that if she needed any help I’d be happy to do what I could. Generating a list grew into creating a spread sheet—which grew into developing a comprehensive list of all the B&B’s state by state—which then grew into making a few phone calls—which has since culminated in having my very own PAII email address and the title of Membership Coordinator.
Heather Turner, Marketing Director
Heather Turner a.k.a. Forfeng is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has spent more than 20 years in the restaurant business. She trained under one of the PBS Series “Great Chefs of America,” Chef Yves Labbe at 4-Star acclaimed restaurant, Le Cheval D’or, and has been the Executive Chef at Bellini’s Restaurant, The Cliff House at Stowe Mt. Resort and Harvest Market in Northern Vermont and at The Olde Inn on Cape Cod. She has worked in marketing for the last 16 years working primarily with the innkeeping industry. She runs her own social media training business Forfeng Designs & Media that she started in 2003. She writes a hospitality blog at http://forfengdesigns.com/chef-forfengs-blog/ and is a member of Toastmasters International, as well as being a keynote and educational speaker at associations and conferences around the United States. She is also a certified SCORE small business counselor.
Erik Spence, Conference Planner and Trade Show Coordinator
Erik Spence, Erik is a native of Northeastern Pennsylvania, and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from the Pennsylvania State University in 1992. Shortly after college, he entered his management career with Chi Chi’s Mexican Restaurant, earning promotions within two years to Executive Chef, and then promoted to Assistant General Manager.
With his skill and ability to work with others, Erik became part of the Corporate Training Team to open new restaurants in the Pittsburgh region for this established chain. Erik then expanded his hospitality experience by moving to central West Virginia, where he was hired as the Assistant General Manager at Garfield’s Restaurant and Pub to oversee staff training, advertising and marketing, instituting cost control measures, and improving guest experiences. Later, while still living in West Virginia, Erik was hired by Stonewall Resort and Conference Center, a Four Diamond AAA Award Winner. As the General Manager of Stillwater’s Restaurant and TJ Muskie’s Lounge, their premier food and beverage outlets, he oversaw restaurant and lounge operations and worked side by side with banquet and conference teams, and sales department personnel. Later, he assisted in the opening and management training for two more dining venues at the resort, one being the Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course’s Clubhouse Restaurant, and the second a dinner excursion yacht.
In late 2004, Erik moved to Northeast Missouri and was hired at the Garth Mansion Bed and Breakfast for their newest addition, The Woodside Restaurant. After just four months, he was promoted to Restaurant Manager and six months later became their Executive Chef, creating elegant six course daily features, preparing wine lists and training restaurant staff. Erik also served as the Wedding Planner and Events Coordinator at the Garth Mansion. In 2011, he was hired by the Historic Hannibal Marketing Council, a not for profit organization, as the Director of the Twain on Main Festival. Erik held this position for the past five years, and each year the springtime arts and crafts festival continued to grow and flourish, bringing ever increasing tourism to the city of Hannibal, Missouri.
His one-on-one personal approach, willingness to go the extra mile, and innovative approach to festival planning with interactive mapping and web page design, consistently brought a high vendor return rate. In 2012, Erik began specializing in business functions, weddings, festival planning, and event consultations, building a solid reputation with his clients through past experience, honesty, integrity and dedication as the benchmarks for his success.
Erik has been married for 23 years to his wife Sandra, who is also from Northeast Pennsylvania. Together, they have two daughters who are active in community events and school programs.
Meet the Board
Janice DeLerno Verges, Owner and Innkeeper, The Stockade Bed and Breakfast, Baton Rouge, LA
Innkeeping has been a passion for Janice for over 25 years. Even though she didn’t plan to become an innkeeper, she took to it like a duck to water once she discovered it. She enjoys the lifestyle and loves meeting guests from around the world. She has built the business from the ground up and changed with the industry as it has progressed, always looking for better ways to manage the day to day operations, as well as marketing for the future.
She has enjoyed diverse careers and experiences throughout her life which have been valuable to her as a bed & breakfast host. In her hometown of New Orleans, she worked as a draftsman in the oil industry during highschool. While attending LSU (Louisiana State University) she worked in the foodservice industry, as well as working as a custom picture framer in a local art gallery. Before opening and operating her own gallery and frame shop, a career which she enjoyed for 35 years, she also worked in the Interior Design field. She opened a restaurant and catering business for a short time before opening the Stockade Bed and Breakfast in Baton Rouge. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I guess it is in my blood, “ says Janice.
She has served the hospitality industry since she opened the inn and has learned much from her association with International industry professionals worldwide in lodging, transportation and experiential travel. She is currently serving as the chairman of LTA (Louisiana Travel Association) and serves on the boards of both PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) and LBBA (Louisiana Bed & Breakfast Association).
A retired businessman and professional musician, Janice’s husband Jerry is a natural performer and also enjoys entertaining the guests of The Stockade. They are happy to share their experiences of operating their award winning inn with newcomers as well as seasoned professionals. They live with their greeter cat Crybaby onsite at their property.
Patricia Detwiler, Broker / Consultant, Hospitality Properties for Sale, Florida
Patricia is a professional Hospitality Consultant and Real Estate Broker offering expert advice for Buyers and Sellers through Aspiring Innkeeper Workshops, teaching Exit Strategies and Individual Consultations. Patricia has a background in commercial lending. She was an innkeeper for more than 12 years and is also the Executive Director for the Florida Inns, a position she’s held for more than 10 years.
John P. Finneran, Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast, Salisbury Mills, New York
John is currently the Chairman, CEO, and Managing Member of the Finneran Family LLC whose principal operations include investments in Real Estate and Marketable Securities. Among the Group’s holdings include the Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast - a multi-award winning fourteen room Inn located near the USMA at West Point.
Prior to forming the Finneran Family LLC, John was the Senior VP and CFO for The Edison Mission Group (1999 - 2011) (“EMG”) the unregulated power generation, energy trading, and Investment business of Edison International (“EIX”).
John previously was SVP of Finance and Treasurer of Richfood Holdings (1998-1999), a Fortune 500 food retail and wholesale distribution company that merged with Supervalu. Before that, he served as CFO and Treasurer of Dominion Energy (1995 – 1998) and VP & Treasurer of Potomac Capital Investment Corporation (1986 -1995) where he managed a $2 billion fixed income portfolio. Earlier experience included positions at the accounting firms Price Waterhouse and KPMG. He is a CPA.
John earned a BBA from Siena College; an MA in accounting/tax from George Washington University; and did post-graduate studies in finance at George Mason University. He has served as a lecturer of finance at Georgetown University. Before that, he was an adjunct professor of accounting at Northern Virginia College.
John serves on the Board of Advisors at his alma mater – Siena College, and is a Director of Medicus in Christi, a charitable organization founded to provide medical care to impoverished peoples of the Third World. In addition, John serves on the Board of Directors of the national Bed and Breakfast Association (Professional Association of Innkeepers International), is President of the NYS Bed and Breakfast Association (ESBBA), and is a Board member of the Hudson Valley Lodging Association. He also serves on the Board of the Blooming Grove/Washingtonville and Cornwall Chambers of Commerce.
John and his wife, Dena, have five grown children and 3 grandchildren. In his spare time, John likes to golf, read, workout, and maintain the grounds of their Inn.
Jack North, Mayhurst Inn, Orange, VA
Jack and Pat North purchased Mayhurst Inn in 2004 and have truly enjoyed their innkeeping experiences for the past 12 years. In some of his "previous lives" Jack received a BA (Political Science) and MA (Business Administration), served as an officer in the US Army (Infantry) for 20 years retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, and married the girl of his dreams. Following his retirement from the Army he was the Director of Federal Programs for a major Healthcare Corporation. Jack is a founder and past President of the Inns at Montpelier and a Past Board Member and President of the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia. Jack is now a happy Innkeeper, an avid gardener, amateur cook and an enthusiastic historian who loves living in the history of Mayhurst and meeting new people.
Marc R. Kassouf, Quiet Creek Inn and Strawberry Creek Inn , Idyllwild, CA
Marc R Kassouf --- Owner & Group General Manager of Quiet Creek Inn and Strawberry Creek Inn located in southern California’s mountaintop community of Idyllwild, Marc Kassouf is the current Vice-Chair of CABBI, the California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns, the state's premier boutique and B&B trade association.
No stranger to the travel & hospitality industries, Marc & his partner owned a travel agency and award-winning online travel magazine. In a past life, Marc worked as a systems and business operations consultant for almost two decades. He’s consulted with big banks, automakers, and has opened two five star resorts where he helped manage a staff of thirty technology professionals and installed dozens of systems. Over his career, Marc has presented workshops and spoken at several tradeshows, including past CABBI InnSpire, PAII InnKeeping, North American Travel Journalist’s’ Association, and multiple Los Angeles Times Travel Show and travel trade shows.
Jerry Phillips, Old Rittenhouse Inn, Bayfield WI