Kris Ullmer, PAII Executive Director
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 ORLANDO in January 2018. 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.
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 14 years working primarily with the innkeeping industry. 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.
Erik Spence, Conference 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 21 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, Owner and Innkeeper, The Stockade Bed and Breakfast, Baton Rouge, LA
With 23 years in the Innkeeping Industry, Janice notes: What we all have in common is the love of the calling, the opportunity to preserve history on our individual properties and the opportunity to share what we have with our guests. Beyond that, it is work, work, work, just like any other job.
Janice served previously as the President of the Louisiana Bed and Breakfast Association, and is now Treasurer and the defacto lobbyist. She is also Treasurer for LTPA (Louisiana Travel Promotion Association) and was appointed by the governor to the Louisiana Tourism Development Commission. Loving all things B&B, in her spare time (HA!), she enjoys music, reading, art, and spending time with the family. Janice is committed to reinventing PAII to be the “GO-TO” organization for innkeeper support in the ever-changing world associated with innkeeping.
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), 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 of nearly 32 years, Dena, have five grown children. In his spare time, John likes to golf, read, workout, and maintain the grounds of their Inn.
Venetia McEntire, Boone's Lick Trail Inn and Boone’s Colonial Inn, St Charles, Missouri
After graduating from the University of Missouri, Venetia spent a few years with a market investment firm, before returning to the family business at Boone’s Lick Trail Inn in 1990. Venetia now owns and operates two inns in Historic Saint Charles, Missouri. Her family business started in 1987 with the Boone's Lick Trail Inn at 1000 South Main St., which is in its 28th year with 8 rooms. In 2006, Venetia purchased two buildings, a 178 year old property and a 158 year old building, at 322-326 South Main Street. After two years of renovation via Federal and State historic tax credits, Boone's Colonial Inn opened in 2008 with 3 suites. Recently a fourth pied de terre was renovated at the property and is now offered to guests. In addition, the Inns offer private dining from 2 to 38 people and focus on creating guest tailored events. Venetia's talents include event planning for meetings, small corporate events, culinary presentations, special events and one of a kind weddings.
Actively involved in preservation and community efforts Venetia chaired and executed the 2004 Lewis & Clark National Signature Event in Saint Charles, Missouri securing over $600,000 in not-for profit funds which attracted 250,000 visitors over ten days with a media impact of $5.3 million dollars for the community. The event was recognized by the U.S. Travel Association with an Odyssey Award for best advertising campaign in 2005. Venetia also consults for small lodging facilities and boutique inns as well as assisting her husband Steve with his tourism consulting business. Venetia, Steve and Hunter (the Inn Dog) enjoy raising their 5 year old son Wyatt at the busy inns, traveling and sharing an important part of history in Westward expansion.
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.
Julie Rolson, Garth Woodside Mansion, Hannibal, MO
Julie married her husband, John, in 1979, and followed him with his military career for the next 21 years. Enjoying guests or friends and family over the years, it was a perfect match to roll that into innkeeping. So as fate would have it, almost a year before John retired, they purchased the well-known Garth Woodside Mansion in Hannibal, MO. Since they moved every four years or so, continuing that path as they built or purchased new property in each of those four years after they transitioned to innkeeping life, was second nature for them. Three cottages, one Orangerie addition to the mansion, one shop on Main Street, a gazebo and pavilions later, Julie says they are done building.
As Past board member- Bed and Breakfast Inns of Missouri (BBIM); Chamber Ambassador for Hannibal; past President and Vice-President of Historic Hannibal Marketing Council; Marketing Chair and Board Member/Regional Director for Select Registry; and Red Cross Exec Volunteer Director at Wright=Patterson AFB, Julie loves helping others get started. She believes that by innkeepers and vendors working together, that cooperation in turn keeps both ends of the innkeeping business flowing smoothly.