MIAMI--Hilton Worldwide will receive two prestigious awards to recognize its diversity and inclusion efforts: “Hotel Company of the Year” and the “Apex Award” from the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD). The awards will be presented at the 14th Annual International African American Hotel Ownership and Investment Summit in Miami, Fla.
Hilton Worldwide is also presenting its own annual award for “2009 Developer of the Year” to UrbanAmerica Advisors, for its Doubletree Resort Orlando – International Drive. UrbanAmerica Advisors is a $520 million minority-owned real estate investment advisory company that has acquired more than 10 million square feet of real estate assets over the last ten years, valued in excess of $2 billion.
The Hotel Company of the Year award recognizes the hotel company that has made a commitment to embrace, support and facilitate diverse hotel ownership. Bill Fortier, senior vice president for development in the Americas at Hilton Worldwide, will receive the Apex Award which is given to the individual who has exemplified the commitment to changing the landscape and creating opportunities for diverse ownership.
Andy Ingraham, president and CEO of NABHOOD, said, “Hilton Worldwide has shown a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry, and Bill Fortier has been particularly helpful in moving the needle for the African American community. These two awards recognize the importance of Hilton Worldwide’s support for NABHOOD, which has been a key element to the increased diversity we see among owners and developers today, and I thank Bill and the Hilton Worldwide team for their valuable contributions.”
Fortier said, “I am thrilled to accept these two awards from NABHOOD, and I am personally honored to be recognized in this way. At Hilton Worldwide, we are always trying to better understand the communities in which we own, manage and franchise our hotel properties, and therefore diversity and inclusion is an important business and social imperative.”
Hilton Worldwide selects its Developer of the Year from all of the projects that opened in a given year across its full brand portfolio. Senior development managers consider the merits of each project and weigh the complexity, size and overall scope of each development, including the end result. This year, UrbanAmerica’s Doubletree Resort in Orlando, Fla. was unanimously chosen by the Hilton Worldwide development team. The 1,094 room hotel is the largest in the Doubletree brand. Bill Fortier will present the award today to Richmond McCoy, founding partner, president and CEO of UrbanAmerica, at a celebratory NABHOOD luncheon.
Fortier added, “We are delighted to present this award to Richmond McCoy and UrbanAmerica – the choice was an easy one to make! The conversion product improvement plan for the Doubletree Resort in Orlando was significant, and getting the project financed and finished was very complex. Finally, the end result was very impressive and we were excited to see the property open on September 22, 2009.”
Richmond McCoy, co-founder, president and CEO of UrbanAmerica will also be receiving the NABHOOD Emerging Hotel Owner of the Year award, which is given to hotel owners who are new to the industry and have made a significant impact in a short period of time. Over the course of his career, McCoy has consummated over $6 billion in real estate transactions and serves on the boards of the Real Estate Executive Council (REEC), where he also serves as Vice-Chairman, the New Markets Tax Credits Coalition and The Council of Urban Professionals (CUP), among others. McCoy is also an active member of NABHOOD.
The annual four-day NABHOOD conference is designed to educate attendees on how to become a hotel owner or investor, share minority travel trends, explore supplier opportunities, learn how to market to minorities and look at diversity issues affecting the industry.
This year, Hilton Worldwide will also participate in the NABHOOD career fair, which will allow employers to speak to and interview diverse students and college graduates who have a passion for hospitality and tourism employment opportunities.
Diversity and inclusion is an essential part of Hilton Worldwide’s business strategy. The company leverages culture, talent, workplace and marketplace initiatives to drive innovation and sustain growth around the globe.
Since 1998, NABHOOD has created wealth in the African-American community. Its mission is to increase the number of African-Americans who develop, manage, and own hotels; and to increase vendor opportunities and executive-level jobs for minorities in the hospitality industry. From a history in which only three hotels in the United States were franchised and part of a major hotel chain, to over 500 African-American owned hotels today, NABHOOD has been steadfast in its commitment to provide education, business opportunities, and advocacy for its members. For more information about the company, please visit www.nabhood.com.
UrbanAmerica, a minority-controlled, real estate private equity firm founded in 1998, is among the first registered investment advisors to participate in the revitalization of urban centers through the investment of institutional capital in commercial real estate. UrbanAmerica has raised $521 million in equity within its two funds and has acquired and developed more than 10 million square feet of building space with assets valued in excess of $2 billion. In addition, UrbanAmerica is the only urban real estate investment fund to receive three allocations of New Markets Tax Credits totaling $152 million for investments in its target markets. More information about UrbanAmerica is available at www.urbanamerica.com.