Navin C. Dimond, who founded Stonebridge Companies 25 years ago, serves as its president and CEO, overseeing the company’s development and investment functions from its Denver, Colo., headquarters. He says the positive growth of the company, which now employs nearly 3,000 associates and owns and/or operates over 50 hotels nationwide, is to a great extent due to its staff-supported hospitality culture and a commitment to service. “Our hotels remain true to our culture of delivering ‘Distinguished Hospitality.’ We have a team of enthusiastic people who create a respectful and enjoyable work atmosphere, and come in every day focused and ready to provide unparalleled service to our guests.”
How did you get your start in the hotel industry?
I consider myself an “accidental hotelier.” It was not by design. I initially founded Stonebridge Companies to own and operate a shopping center in Arvada, Colo. At the time, I was less interested in the hotel industry and more interested in other types of real estate, like office, retail, and warehouse. But when an opportunity came in 1991 to purchase the Bronco Inn motel, I was intrigued by the property’s potential. Charting unknown territory came with its set of adversities and risk, but I was dedicated and driven. In the beginning, my wife and I did much of the work ourselves, which gave me a better appreciation for the industry and associates. From that point forward, the company grew in both properties and staff.
What are the benefits of modular building, and how might it meet the needs of the hospitality industry?
Labor shortages and pricing are driving alternative forms of delivery, which is where modular building can be a potential solution, especially in urban locations. While the current pricing is not necessarily less expensive than traditional construction, there are significant benefits in both a shortened construction time and increased construction quality. We ourselves recently used modular building methods for a Courtyard Marriott located on the campus of Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Wash. In addition, as part of a research and development project for Stonebridge, we engaged construction management and hospitality and business management students from WSU to test the hypothesis that modular construction is a viable technique for future hotel construction. We challenged these students and faculty to come to their own conclusions on the cost-benefit analysis of the long-term viability of modular construction in the hospitality industry, and I was very proud to have students from my alma mater participate in the project.
What are some challenges you’ve encountered when growing staff and how are they best managed?
Stonebridge is always looking for associates who have a genuine passion for both hospitality and creating memorable experiences for our guests. In companies with a growth trajectory like Stonebridge, managing an expanding team is a top priority. Growth within our company presents unique opportunities for existing associates to take the next leap in their career development.
Is your leadership team mostly home grown?
One of the four tenets of our mission statement is “careers,” with a focus on team member development. Stonebridge’s best leaders are constantly spending time mentoring fellow associates to help them achieve the next phase of their career. Our human resource initiatives are focused on personal and professional growth. They include continuous training, competitive benefits and compensation, rewards for performance, and celebrating successes at every level.
What do you like best about working in the hotel industry?
We are an industry that achieves success from the positive energy generated through people serving people. Whether it’s our leadership team or our associates, there has been a dedication in Stonebridge Companies to provide our unique “Distinguished
Hospitality” to our guests for 25 years.