Kimpton RiverPlace, others name new GMs

A number of hotels across the country named new leaders in March.

Sheila Buciuman

Outside San Francisco, the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay has appointed Sheila Buciuman as its new hotel manager. Buciuman has spent more than 10 years of her almost two decades in hospitality with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. She began her career as a receptionist at the Waldorf Astoria, acting as a front office associate as well as managing the day-to-day experiences of Hilton Honors Diamond members. In 2015, she joined The Ritz-Carlton brand at its Palm Beach, Fla., location and took on a range of leadership roles for hotel operations, from front office manager to assistant director of housekeeping and laundry, then was executive assistant manager at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta. Before joining The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, Buciuman was director of operations at the St. Regis Atlanta.  

Kim Avant

Kim Avant is the new GM of the Grande Colonial hotel and the Nine-Ten Restaurant, part of the Franklin Croft Hospitality collection in La Jolla, Calif. Avant’s hospitality career began in 2006 when she joined the team at the Hampton Inn Del Mar in San Diego as front office manager. She then joined the Grande Colonial in 2010, spending the next seven years as the assistant GM. In 2017, she became director of human resources. 

Gemma Fortier

Gemma Fortier is the new GM at Hotel Windrow, a 59-room boutique hotel in downtown Ellensburg, Wash., that is managed by Columbia Hospitality. Most recently, Fortier was director of operations at Hotel Windrow. Before her arrival at Hotel Windrow, Fortier was the front-of-house manager at Swiftwater Cellars in Cle Elum, Wash.

Ann Durso

The new Hillsboro Beach Resort in Deerfield Beach, Fla., is now overseen by Ann Durso as GM. In her new role, Durso oversees full operations of the 72-room boutique property and its newly opened waterfront restaurant, Roí. 

Durso has more than 20 years of hospitality experience that spans multicultural organizations. She graduated with a bachelor of social science from Uppsala University Sweden. Her career has included managerial and operational roles across hotels in Sweden, London and Chicago. She was Olympic operations manager for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and also previously managed her own event marketing company.

Before joining Hillsboro Beach Resort, Durso was GM at Gale Chicago operated under Menin Hospitality, where she led the hotel team’s performance management, worked on large maintenance projects and spearheaded training initiatives for staff alongside union. She worked with IHG Hotels & Resorts for 10 years and Hilton for eight years.

Laura Maldonado

Laura Maldonado is the new GM at the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel in Portland, Ore. Maldonado earned a degree in hotel & restaurant management from the University of Puerto Rico and then moved to New York where she served in a variety of guest service roles for hotel brands including Wyndham and Hilton. After spending nearly six years in New York, she moved to Key West, Fla., as assistant GM for the Southernmost Beach Resort, where she oversaw all resort operations. 

After three years in Key West, Maldonado moved to Miami as a first-time general manager at The Gates South Beach – A Doubletree by Hilton, where she oversaw complete operational and revenue overhauls and built a new property team. 

Sally Shaffer

Sally Shaffer has been appointed GM at the new 237-room Hilton North Scottsdale (Ariz.) at Cavasson, which is scheduled to open in October. Before ining the upcoming property, Shaffer spent nine years as a general manager for Hilton in the Phoenix and Scottsdale markets. She is also an elected official for the Tourism Development Council for Scottsdale.

The resort hotel is owned by Nationwide Realty Investors and managed by Columbus Hospitality Management. 

Chris Lee

Chris Lee is the new GM of the InterContinental Washington, D.C.—The Wharf. He joins the team from his previous role as GM of the Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown. 

Previously, he served as GM of the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City at Beverly Hills. Over the years, Lee has held executive roles at Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort Kaplankaya in Turkey—now a Six Senses hotel—and also with Four Seasons Hotels and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.

Rich Lundt

North Central Group has selected Rich Lundt to run the upcoming The Trade Milwaukee, an Autograph Collection Hotel by Marriott. Groundbreaking for The Trade began in the autumn of 2021 and is anticipated to open in early 2023 next to Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Zury Cohen

Zury Cohen is the new GM at the Holiday Inn & Suites Across From Universal Orlando. Cohen began his career as a front desk manager at AmeriSuites, and worked his way up to become a regional manager for a mix of limited- and full-service properties including brands like La Quinta by Wyndham and Hampton Inn. Most recently, Cohen served as the general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in Lakeland, Fla. 

Dan Johnson

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa (Calif.) has appointed Dan Johnson as its new general manager. Johnson has spent 27 years at Hyatt Hotels across the country, working his way up from intern to general manager. He began his career in 1994 at Park Hyatt Washington D.C., where he worked as a private branch exchange switchboard operator. He then moved on to work in several different positions within Hyatt Hotels Corp., including front office manager, executive housekeeper and director of rooms. 

Johnson comes to the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells from Grand Hyatt Vail, where he joined the team in 2019 and led the transition from Hotel Talisa to Grand Hyatt Vail. Previously he served as general manager at Hyatt Regency Austin (Texas) and Hyatt Regency Savannah (Ga.), which marked his first general manager position in 2015.