CHICAGO—Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has announced that the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Foundation (IHLAEF) has appointed Ron Vlasic, regional vice president of hotels for Kimpton, as chairman of the foundation. IHLAEF is the not-for-profit educational arm of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA). Vlasic will bring his industry expertise to the foundation to help increase funding for its scholarship program and provide continuing education for hospitality industry professionals.
“I’m thrilled to be named this year’s chair of IHLAEF,” said Vlasic. “As the hotel industry continues to boom, it’s important to make sure we have enough qualified candidates for not only existing properties, but also the new hotel positions that will become available.”
Vlasic also added that as the 2013 Chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), he had the opportunity to visit several universities across the U.S. and witnessed first-hand the need for further encouragement and assistance.
Additionally, Vlasic is an avid supporter of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal to bring 55 million annual visitors to the city by 2020. If the city is able to reach this goal, that could mean 30,000 new tourism-related jobs added and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue for Chicago.
“IHLAEF is such an integral component in helping develop future leaders for our industry by the scholarships and resources they provide,” said Vlasic. “As Kimpton begins work on its fifth hotel in Chicago set to open in early 2016, I have a personal investment in the foundation’s mission to support, shape and produce these top leaders.”
Vlasic is a veteran in the hospitality industry, with over 25 years of experience with Kimpton alone. As regional vice president for Kimpton, Vlasic provides operational support to 18 of Kimpton’s properties and acts as the liaison to ownership groups and the Kimpton home office based in San Francisco.