Superior Hotel Management Backed by a 65 Year Heritage!
Wilson Hotel Management,
LLC is based in Memphis, TN and manages a wide
variety of hotel properties located in the southern
United States. We are a division of the Kemmons
Wilson Companies, LLC, an enduring legacy of Kemmons
Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inns, Inc. and the
man recognized as having created the modern day
News and Latest Happenings
Click on a news item for more information.
Train travel gets a reboot with a boutique hotel
serving an active rail line in Memphis
Planning a trip? A planned 135-room boutique hotel
will serve residents of Downtown Memphis as well as
travelers along the Amtrak line which stretches
from New Orleans to Chicago.
The $55 million redevelopment of historic Central
Station and the surrounding area on South Main
moves forward with new details about the planned
boutique hotel announced.
In early March, hotel developer Kemmons Wilson
Company filed for land use approvals to operate a
hotel on the site.
We just broke ground at the FedExFamilyHouse expansion
Today, our dream is becoming a reality. Thanks to
generous people like you, we broke ground on an
expansion to FedExFamilyHouse. The project will
triple the size of the house and ensures that we'll
be able to serve every family who needs us.
We believe that no family should have to worry
about housing when their child is critically ill.
For every family who gets a room at
FedExFamilyHouse, there are at least four more
families who are waiting. At least 30 families each
month are sent to hotels because there is no room.
We've raised 60 percent of the funds needed to
build this expansion. We still need help from
people like you to help the house grow. Every gift
will make a difference for families who children
are receiving care at Le Bonheur Children's
Hospital. Will you give today to help us meet our goal?
On behalf of our families, thank you for your
President and CEO
Le Bonheur Children's Hospital
FedExFamilyHouse is home for many families of
patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
Families do not pay anything during their stay.
Five million dollars will be raised and donated by
Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx and his wife, Diane Smith.
A fundraising campaign, Building on the Promise,
has been launched to raise the money for
construction costs. The money will be raised during
a yearlong series of fundraisers and donations.
In the six years that the house has been open, it
has helped over 100,000 families stay together
through a difficult time.
“The generosity of FedEx, its leaders and employees
is world-class, and all of us at Le Bonheur are
excited and grateful for their commitment to
FedExFamilyHouse,” said Meri Armour, Le Bonheur
president and CEO.
The planned expansion will include:
• A four story building with 40,000 square feet to
be connected to the current facility;
• 51 new rooms, with 21 suites and 30 hotel-style
• New community spaces for gatherings, meetings,
• New outdoor play areas;
• Four large kitchens
• A library
• A laundry room
• Play areas and gardens
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital plans a major
interior renovation to the only housing facility on
its campus, Tri Delta Place.
The hospital this week applied for a building
permit that values the renovation at nearly $2.2
The project will renovate the rooms of the building
that backs up to 350 N. Third. Belz Construction
Services is the construction contractor and The
Renaissance Group is the architecture firm.
Patients and their families who need housing for
seven days or less are invited to stay in Tri Delta
Place, according to the St. Jude website. The
facility offers 64 hotel-style rooms and 36 suites.
In 1999, Tri Delta formed a philanthropic
partnership with St. Jude, and has raised more than
$45 million for the hospital. In 2014 the sorority
announced its latest fundraising commitment of $60
million over 10 years.
St. Jude, a cancer researcher, provides medical
care, lodging, food and education free of charge
for all of its young patients staying on the
5,000-employee Downtown campus.
FedExFamilyHouse to triple in size!
We made a promise when FedExFamilyHouse opened in
2010, that it would be a place of hope and healing
for out-of-town families of Le Bonheur Children’s
Hospital patients. Since then more than 103,000
family members have called FedExFamilyHouse home
while their child is treated at Le Bonheur.
As Le Bonheur’s programs have grown, so has the
demand for housing – and we need your help to
fulfill our promise. FedExFamilyHouse is often at
100 percent capacity. No family should have to
worry about housing when their child is critically
ill. For every family who gets a room at
FedExFamilyHouse, there are at least four more
That’s why today, we announced plans to triple the size of
FedExFamilyHouse. We’re sharing this
exciting news with you because you have been
so generous to FedExFamilyHouse. Your gifts
have given families a place of comfort and
respite. Watch this beautiful video by our
friends at FedEx about what FedExFamilyHouse
means to the families who’ve called it home.
Your support will help us make this dream a
reality. Please stay tuned for more updates on ways
to help. On behalf of our families, thank you.
JA receives Wilson Family Foundation donation
The Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation announced a
$25,000 donation to Junior Achievement of Memphis and
the Mid-South Inc.
Junior Achievement teaches children and teenagers
economics and operates JA BizTown, a simulated city
in which participants hold jobs, create budgets and
“This donation will allow us to send nearly 850
children through the program, arming them with the
skills they need to thrive in the future," Junior
Achievement chief executive Larry Colbert said in a
Wilson Family Foundation was established by Kemmons
and Dorothy Wilson, Memphians who founded the
Holiday Inn hotel chain.
Wilson Urges Family Philanthropic Efforts at Dunavant
When most people think of the Kemmons Wilson
family, there is an image that comes to mind. It’s
a black and white photo from the 1950s of the five
children – three boys and two girls – of the
Holiday Inn founder cutting the ribbon on the very
first Holiday Inn at 4925 Summer Ave.
ConnectYourMeetings.com Site Visits:
Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa
By Stephanie Davis Smith
Touches of Tuscaloosa, Alabama—home of the Crimson
Tide—can be seen all over the city’s first
full-service hotel downtown. Wilson Hotel
Management opened the $31 million Embassy Suites
Tuscaloosa Alabama Downtown in March. The company’s
president, Kemmons Wilson Jr., is a graduate of The
University of Alabama and made sure the hotel
reflected the campus and community.
Although it’s not overtly decked out in crimson and
white, there are touches of the university
throughout, such as houndstooth carpeting in the
lobby and images of campus favorites, like Denny
Chimes on The Quad and the president’s mansion,
peppering the walls. Eight stories high with river
views and 154 suites, the property was a necessary
addition to bring more meetings business to the
West-Central Alabama town, says Heather Dill,
director of sales and marketing for the property.
For meeting space, the hotel has a 5,240-sq.-ft.
ballroom, which divides into five flexible
sections, and a 2,100-sq.-ft. prefunction space for
“We have a lot of association business on the books
already,” says Dill. “It helps that we’re only 2
miles from Bryant Conference Center too.” So far,
Professional Fire Fighters of Alabama, Alabama
League of Municipalities and National Association
of Letter Carriers have events planned at the hotel
this year. Just don’t try to book over an Alabama
football weekend—rumor has it the rooms are sold
out for every home game weekend for the 2015-16
Foodies will revel in the fact that the hotel
snagged chef Chris Hastings to open its restaurant,
The Side by Side. Hastings is a James Beard Award
winner and the gourmand behind renowned Hot and Hot
Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Planners can book
several private dining rooms in The Side by Side.
Insider Tip: Thirty restaurants in downtown
Tuscaloosa are within walking distance of the
hotel. Try locally owned Chuck’s Fish, with fresh
fish flown in daily, private dining rooms and a
Embassy Suites Opens in Downtown Tuscaloosa,
Embassy Suites Opens in Downtown
Tuscaloosa, Alabama Announcing Tuscaloosa’s Premier, Full-Service
Hotel TUSCALOOSA, Al. and MCLEAN, Va. (March 3,
2015) – Embassy Suites Hotels, the
Hilton Worldwide brand of
upscale all-suite hotels, today announced the
opening of their first property in Tuscaloosa,
Alabama. As the premier full-service hotel in
the market, Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Downtown,
AL boasts 154 spacious suites and features
the brand's latest design concept, Design
Option III, and a new on-site restaurant, The
Side by Side, led by James Beard award-winning
chef, Chris Hastings. Embassy Suites
Tuscaloosa Downtown, AL is owned by Tuscaloosa
Hotel Partners, LLC and proudly managed by
Wilson Hotel Management, LLC.
“Embassy Suites’ upscale accommodations,
contemporary design and signature offerings will
bring a solid option for travelers visiting this
growing metropolitan area,” said John Rogers,
global head, Embassy Suites Hotels. “The innovative
Design Option III prototype will enhance the guest
experience by offering guests more natural light in
guest rooms and public areas like the atrium, while
maintaining Embassy’s signature amenities.”
“The opening of Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Downtown,
AL is a significant milestone in the city’s history
and will spring-board downtown Tuscaloosa into
greater heights,” said C. Kemmons Wilson Jr.,
president, Tuscaloosa Hotel Partners, LLC. “We look
forward to providing visitors with a new
opportunity to visit downtown Tuscaloosa.”
“Tuscaloosa hasn’t seen a full-service, premium
hotel like ours,” said Jon Crisp, general manager,
Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Downtown, AL. “Whether
traveling on business, for a big game at University
of Alabama or to tour local attractions, guests
will appreciate the fantastic amenities and
culinary offerings at Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa
Situated in a lively retail and entertainment
district, hotel guests and locals alike will enjoy
the modern culinary offerings at the hotel’s
restaurant, The Side by Side. James Beard
award-winning chef, Chris Hastings, blends French,
Southern and California-styles of cooking to create
a bold menu of flavorful options. Taking cues from
Alabama’s regional harvest and other fresh
offerings by local artisans, the seasonal dishes
and cocktails are served in the airy dining room
featuring an open kitchen.
With 7,000 square feet of flexible meeting space
comprising an executive boardroom and a divisible
ballroom with 16 foot ceilings, Embassy Suites
Tuscaloosa Downtown, AL can accommodate events for
up to 500 people. The creative catering services,
dedicated staff and state-of-the-art A/V technology
will ensure the success of any conference, training
seminar or celebration.
The new hotel features the brand's signature
amenities including its free made-to-order
breakfast, a two-hour complimentary Evening
Reception* with snacks and beverages, two-room
suites with a separate living area, private
bedroom, WiFi, 42-inch HDTV’s, a wet bar fitted
with a microwave, a mini-fridge and a coffee maker.
Guests also have access to the 24-hour Embassy
BusinessLink™ Business Center, an indoor swimming
pool and a 24-hour fitness center.
Located near the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater,
University of Alabama and the Bryant Conference
Center, Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Downtown, AL
makes it easy to discover the best of the city. Top
shopping and dining options are also conveniently
located nearby. Business guests will appreciate the
close proximity to many Fortune 500 companies, the
Mercedes- Benz U.S. International plant as well as
the U.S. Courthouse and City Hall.
Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa Downtown, AL participates
in Hilton HHonors®, the only guest rewards program
that allows members to earn Points & Miles® for
the same stay and redeem points for free nights
with no blackout dates at more than 4,250 hotels
worldwide. Book by May 16, 2015 to save up to 20%
on your stay. Book by March 19, 2016 to receive
double HHonors points.
For more information on Embassy Suites Hotels,
please visit www.embassysuites.com. For development
queries, please visit
*Service of alcohol subject to state and local
laws. Must be of legal drinking age.
About Embassy Suites Hotels
Embassy Suites Hotels, one of Hilton Worldwide’s
twelve market-leading brands, is dedicated to
delivering what matters most to travelers. The full
service, upscale brand offers every guest a
two-room suite, free cooked-to-order breakfast and
a nightly two-hour reception with complimentary
drinks* and snacks. Both leisure and business
travelers looking for a relaxed, yet sophisticated,
experience will feel right at home with
brand-standard amenities like inviting atriums and
complimentary 24-hour business and fitness centers.
Embassy Suites Hotels has 219 hotels with more than
35 in the pipeline. For more information,
visit www.embassysuites.com, and
connect with Embassy Suites at www.embassysuitesmediacenter.com,
About Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global
hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector
from luxury and full-service hotels and resorts to
extended-stay suites and focused-service hotels.
For 95 years, Hilton Worldwide has been dedicated
to continuing its tradition of providing
exceptional guest experiences. The company's
portfolio of twelve world-class global brands is
comprised of more than 4,300 managed, franchised,
owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties,
with more than 715,000 rooms in 94 countries and
territories, including Hilton Hotels & Resorts,
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels
& Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio - A
Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy
Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels,
Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton
and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also
manages an award-winning customer loyalty program,
Hilton HHonors®. Visit news.hiltonworldwide.com for
more information and connect with Hilton
Worldwide at facebook.com/hiltonworldwide,
Crews will soon begin a massive renovation of the old
Sears Crosstown building. The building will come with
housing, businesses, and health clinics. McLean
Wilson, co-leader of the Crosstown Development Team,
gave News Channel 3's On Your Side a preview of the $200 million
Hundreds flock to downtown Tuscaloosa for hotel's job
Hundreds of people wait in line during a job fair
for positions at Embassy Suites hosted at Cypress
Inn Loft on the corner of Greensboro Avenue and
University Boulevard Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015.
People lined the block waiting for a chance to fill
out an application and interview for positions at
the soon-to-open Embassy Suites in downtown
New hotel in downtown Tuscaloosa to hold pre-opening
Tuscaloosa will soon have its first hotel downtown,
but first the Embassy Suites needs to fill out its
staff list. Management will hold a job fair this
week to fill full- and part-time hotel and
Commercial real estate landscape looking up despite
Isaac Thomas would almost rather be sunning himself
on the beach, toes in the sand, than working on the
$100 million revamp of Memphis' tallest building,
One Hundred North Main.
"But where's the fun in that?" says Thomas, who's
heading up the project.
Memphis is a challenging market for developers,
Thomas says. Some of the issues that kill projects
– even before they begin – are high property taxes,
too few tax credits, and a laborious process to
meet codes. But even more than that, there's a
skepticism that saps energy from the market, as
several developers, including ...
First look at demolition work inside Sears
Construction crews won't officially break ground on
the $200 million Sears Crosstown redevelopment
until financing closes this month. But work is
Sears Crosstown, which is southwest of Cleveland
and North Parkway in Midtown Memphis, is already 65
percent pre-leased, said McLean Wilson, a co-leader
on the redevelopment and a principal at Kemmons
Kemmons Wilson grandsons step forward in leadership
Grandsons of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson are
stepping forward to take primary leadership roles in
Kemmons Wilson Companies, a 4,000-employee real
estate manager and developer based in Memphis.
A statement released Wednesday by the Greater
Memphis Chamber says Spence Wilson Jr., Kemmons
Wilson III, McLean Wilson and Webb Wilson “are now
the principals of the firm” and “the previous
second generation family leadership group, Spence
Wilson Sr., Robert Wilson, and Kemmons Wilson Jr.
will remain active and engaged in the business as
members of the Board of Directors.”
Tri Delta Fraternity pledges $60 million for St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital
Tri Delta Fraternity announced Friday, July 4th,
that it plans to raise $60 million over the next 10
years to help with a short-term housing facility at
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — the largest
single commitment to the facility in history.
Read the full store on
New downtown Tuscaloosa Embassy Suites Hotel names
Jon Crisp has been named the general manager for the
Embassy Suites Hotel under construction at 2410
University Blvd. in downtown Tuscaloosa.
The hotel is expected to open in December.
Crisp served as a general manager with several
well-known hospitality brands, according to a
statement from Wilson Hotel Management LLC, a
division of Kemmons Wilson Companies LLC, the
Memphis, Tenn., company that will own the hotel.
Crisp, who has received numerous hospitality
industry awards during his career, will be in
charge of the hotel's operations.
"Jon's a seasoned veteran in this industry, and has
worked for us for several years at our flagship
hotel in Memphis," said Jim O'Brien, executive vice
president of Wilson Hotel Management, which will
operate the hotel. "He has the desire, knowledge,
experience and enthusiasm to achieve our goals for
Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown Tuscaloosa. It's
great to have him lead our team for this new
endeavor in the Tuscaloosa market."
Crisp attended the University of Memphis and
Vanderbilt University and is a member of the U.S.
Coast Guard Auxiliary.
The new Embassy Suites will feature a variety of
one and two-bedroom suites, free cooked-to-order
breakfast, free snacks and beverages at a nightly
reception, an atrium lobby with extended ceiling,
more than 5,300 square feet of banquet and meeting
facilities, an executive boardroom, indoor pool
with a whirlpool, 24-hour fitness center and free
24-hour BusinessLink business center.
It also will have a restaurant and lounge operated
by Chris Hastings, the chef and owner of The Hot
and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham and "The James
Beard Best Chef: South Award Winner for 2012."
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - -
Le Bon Appetit brings in 40 of the nation's most
celebrated chefs, including Memphis' own Chef Kelly
English. It's all to raise money for Le Bonheur
But before these chefs get hospitable, they got
Think of it as The Food Network's Chopped but with
Le Bonheur flair.
"They took it serious. They collaborated for a
couple minutes and started preparing dishes right
away," said The Food Network's Claire Robinson,
who's had her experience cooking under pressure on
A secret ingredient and 37 minutes to cook: Eight
of 40 Le Bon Appetit chefs cooked up breakfast at
Le Bonheur's FedExFamilyHouse for ten of the
hospital's patients. It made the experience all the
more unique for the chefs.
"Chefs love to go back to their childhood," said
English, known for Restaurant Iris and The Second
Line, "And this is a chance for them to make
chocolate pancakes and not as fancy stuff and stuff
that really takes us back to our mom's table."
Chef Chris Shepherd from Underbelly in Houston,
Texas, added, "It was good to see the faces and the
smiles and then just see their reaction when they
sit and watch because they're really into it and
seeing somebody cooking."
From Apple Jacks in smoothies to Reese's cups in
pancakes, the chefs didn't hold back.
"The dishes were inventive, really inventive," said
Robinson, "I loved, I did love John Currence's
Elvis pancakes were delicious. It was like Johnny
Cakes and peanut butter and banana and a crunchy
syrup. It was amazing."
It was the Elvis inspired pancakes that ended up
the favorite with the kids.
"It was all Elvis: Peanut butter and marshmallows
and bananas in a pancake and when you're cooking
for kids you can't lose with that combination.
Little chocolate and it's a no-brainer," said Chef
John Currence from City Grocery in Oxford, Miss.
Currence's secret to the winning dish?
"I cheated a lot," the chef admitted, "I brought an
entire car load of ingredients so I could pander to
Cheating aside, the chefs were happy to come
together to help Le Bonheur's patients and raise
money for the hospital. It's a cause near and dear
"When I was a kid I needed a place like Le Bonheur.
I fell out of my grandmother's window and I broke a
lot of bones all at one time," recalled Kelly,
"When I go back I think about my experience in the
hospital how much I would have loved to have been
in a place like this that really takes care of not
just what ails you but … let's you be a kid."
Robinson said money from this year's Le Bon Appetit
is helping purchase a customized ambulance for the
children's hospital. Many of Le Bonheur's patients
transported are less than five years old so the
ambulance needs to be specialized.
"Memphis is my home and when I come home I'm so
proud of the things that are coming out of Memphis,
Le Bonheur being one of them," said Robinson, "It's
an amazing hospital and they do incredible things
Le Bon Appetit for 2014 sold out. The rest of us
will be waiting – mouths watering – two years for
the next course.
Days gone by…Kemmons Wilson interviewed in 1993 by
Fourth grade CLUE class
Dave Darnell/The Commercial Appeal files
Holiday Inns and Wilson World founder Kemmons
Wilson gestures as he is interviewed by a fourth
grade CLUE class at Ridgeway Elementary School for
a book the class is doing on famous Memphians.
Students are Kera Schwartzberg (foreground with
tape recorder), and in the background (from left)
Rachael Cifuni, Lauren Massengill, Amber Thomas and
Cardine Rinaldy. The interview took place on March
University of Memphis' Kemmons Wilson School Becomes
The University of Memphis is making the 10-year-old
Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort
Management an independent school within the
The school has its own bachelor’s degree curriculum
with 60 credit hours of coursework. The coursework
had been a third of that previously.
With the autonomy, the school will also offer
concentrations in event management, lodging, and
food and beverage services.
The Kemmons Wilson School had been a part of the
Fogelman College of Business and Economics since it
The school is housed in a full-service hotel and
conference center on the university campus and is
named for the late founder of Holiday Inn.
His son, Kemmons Wilson Jr., said in a statement
that the school’s goal is “a real-world environment
within an academic setting.”
“By broadening our course curricula, students will
be better prepared on a wide range of hospitality
issues,” Wilson added. “Ultimately, it will allow
us to improve our training in regards to first-hand
service standards, business challenges and
Dr. Radesh Palakurthi, professor and director of
the school, said the status as a separate school
means it has achieved “the critical mass it needs
to offer a more focused program in hospitality and
Since becoming interim university president in
July, Brad Martin has talked of more university
programs aimed directly at the job market. It’s
also been a theme of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
Holiday Inn Wolfchase a flagship in billion-dollar
Kem Wilson Jr, (center) who’s father founded
Holiday Inns was on hand at the Holiday Inn
Wolfchase as it marks completion of a major
rebranding and update by parent company
Intercontinental Hotel Group with tours of the
refurbished rooms and facilities. The Holiday Inn
Wolfchase is one of their Flagship locations in the
billion-dollar rebranding. Kemmons Wilson built the
first Holiday Inn on Summer Ave in Memphis back in
The feel-good story of legendary Memphis
entrepreneur Kemmons Wilson is the backdrop for a
new multimillion dollar campaign by Holiday Inn to
trumpet a $1 billion investment in the brand.
Holiday Inn officials were at the Wilson
family-owned Holiday Inn Memphis-Wolfchase Galleria
hotel recently to show off the campaign.
Founded by Kemnmons Wilson, Holiday Inn was a
landmark Memphis business, renowned in the 1960s
like FedEx Corp. is today. But a British brewer
bought the hotel chain nearly a quarter century ago
and moved the offices to Atlanta.
The Wilson family, however, has remained at the
center of the hospitality industry, owning
individual hotels. Now the owner of the chain is
leaning on Wilson’s success. The online version of
the “Change Your View” campaign touts “The Holiday
Inn Story” in which Wilson revolutionized the
lodging industry with a chain of roadside,
family-friendly motels. The first opened on Summer
Avenue on the then-eastern fringe of Memphis in
Wilson’s sons Kemmons Wilson Jr. and Bob Wilson and
grandson McLean Wilson participated in the
Wolfchase hotel event.
Holiday Inn last summer led the mid-scale
full-service hotel chain category of the J.D. Power
2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study.
The brand relaunch, completed in 2010, focused on
guest arrival and welcome experiences, room and
bath comfort and a redesigned logo and signs. Other
Greater Memphis hotels that benefited from the
investment included Holiday Inns at University of
Memphis and in West Memphis and Southaven and
Holiday Inn Express locations Medical Center,
Airport, Southaven, Germantown, Millington,
Southwind and Olive Branch.
Holiday Inn owner InterContinental Hotels Group PLC
said the company operates 4,653 hotels.
Holiday Inn, the iconic hotel chain that launched in
Memphis more than 60 years ago and went on to become
an international mega-brand, wants customers to
change their view.
That phrase has a literal and figurative
connotation. It refers to a new generation of hotel
guests becoming acquainted with the storied
hospitality brand, and it also refers to Holiday
Inn’s multimillion-dollar Change Your View
campaign, a newly launched effort to remind people
what’s special about the company.
The campaign launched in August with TV
commercials, and the company has been stepping it
up since then. As part of the effort, Holiday Inn
is holding an invite-only, private event Tuesday,
Nov. 19, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the company’s
Wolfchase Galleria hotel at 2751 New Brunswick
Road. The event will include food, drinks and a
tour of the property.
Wilson family members inducted into the Fogelman
College Hall of Fame at the University of Memphis
Nov 13, 2013 — Dr. Rajiv Grover (right), Dean of
the Fogelman College of Business and Economics,
presents Kemmons Wilson Jr. with a medal as Wilson
and his father Kemmons Wilson Sr. are inducted into
the Fogelman College Hall of Fame at the University
of Memphis. Nineteen individuals were honored
during the first induction ceremony for the hall.
Thanks to the Commercial Appeal for this image from
September 24, 1952. Pictured are Kemmons Wilson and
his mother, Mrs. Ruby Lloyd Wilson preparing for the
formal opening of Holiday Inn Hotel Courts on Highway
McLean Wilson Named a 2013 Young Memphian by Greater
Kemmons Wilson Inc. congratulates McLean on his being
named a 2013 Young Memphian by the Greater Memphis
Chamber. The value and dedication McLean brings as
Vice President of Kemmons Wilson Inc. and the passion
he has to see Memphis reach its full potential makes
him a true representation of what it is to be a Young
C. Kemmons Wilson, Jr. Honored
On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, special guests and
Wilson family members assembled at Presbyterian Day
School's field for a ceremony renaming the field "C.
Kemmons Wilson, Jr. Field." There ceremony included
remarks from Kem's sons, C. Kemmons Wilson III ('88)
and McLean Thompson Wilson ('90).
Heirs of the late Kemmons Wilson, founder of
Holiday Inn, have donated $500,000 to “Give Kids
The World,” a nonprofit resort in Kissimmee, Fla.,
that offers dream vacations to children with
life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The Wilson family pledge was made in conjunction
with their Orlando, Fla.-based company Orange Lake
Resorts. The donation will be included in the
nonprofit’s five-year $120 million capital
expansion and improvement campaign and will be used
to help build a new Town Hall facility to broaden
“My family has always had a special place in our
hearts for Give Kids The World, which Dad and Mom
believed in so strongly,” said Spence Wilson,
president of Kemmons Wilson Companies. “It brought
them great joy to see families who worked so hard
to provide a strong, loving environment for their
children as they struggled to overcome illness,
gather together in a fun world of their own to
renew and strengthen their bonds. In our eyes,
these families are heroes and need and deserve the
experience this wonderful organization provides. We
are excited about the future of GKTW as we and our
company make this pledge and continue the support
initiated by our parents long ago.”
Added Pamela Landwirth, president of Give Kids The
World, “The Kemmons Wilson family indeed has been a
loyal supporter of our mission since we welcomed
our very first family at the Holiday Inn Main Gate
East more than two decades ago, even before our
Give Kids The World Village was created in 1987.
Since then, GKTW has been able to restore joy and
provide hope to more than 122,000 children from
around the world. On behalf of all the families who
will be able to experience a week of magical
memories, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the
Wilson family and Orange Lake Resorts for bringing
us one step closer to making our Town Hall
For more information, visit:
Embassy Suites Deal of the Year Winner: Kemmons Wilson,
Embassy Suites Deal of the Year Winner:
Kemmons Wilson, Jr. – Kemmons Wilson, Inc. July 22, 2013
*This article is the first in a series to
profile each of the 2012 Hilton Worldwide
Development Award Winners.
Kemmons Wilson Jr. of Kemmons Wilson, Inc. is proud
of his award winning project, the 154-room Embassy
Suites hotel located in the heart of downtown
Tuscaloosa, AL. The project has personal
significance, as Kemmons is a University of Alabama
alumnus and serves on the President's Cabinet and
the Board of Visitors of the University. "I had
witnessed Tuscaloosa and the University grow over
the years and concluded that a luxury hotel
property would be successful. I knew this hotel
would be a ‘game changer' for the city," Kemmons
says. They broke ground on the project in May and
hope to have it completed in the fall of 2014.
However, there were a few obstacles to overcome
before all was said and done. "We have been working
on this project for over six years. We answered an
RFP from the City of Tuscaloosa some six years ago
for a developer to purchase the site and develop a
hotel. The RFP was won by another hotel developer,
but the project never got off the ground," he says.
"We answered a second RFP and were the successful
bidder. We then had to negotiate with the city to
purchase the site and sought some incentives to
make the hotel economically viable."
Location, Location, Location
If you Google a map for Tuscaloosa, the red arrow
will be pointing right at the hotel site in the
heart of downtown Tuscaloosa. Kemmons says the
downtown area is being revitalized and the Embassy
Suites is an important catalyst in this movement.
"It's a project whose time has come," he says.
"With the University of Alabama's enrollment at
32,000 students, an expanding Mercedes Benz plant
nearby and several other growing entities, we
believe Tuscaloosa is at the ‘tipping tip' for an
Partnerships & Perseverance
"We had identified Embassy Suites as the ideal
product for this site," Kemmons says. "With the
power of Hilton Worldwide and the incredible
popularity of Embassy Suites, we feel we have the
whole package. The Memphis office and particularly
Glenn Goerke were great to work with." Kemmons says
he is also proud to have Chris Hastings, winner of
the James Beard Chef of the South Award and TV's
Celebrity Chef competition, onboard to oversee the
fine dining restaurant.
Looking back, Kemmons says he wishes the project
could have come to fruition sooner but appreciates
the positives that resulted from the delay. He
found working with the mayor and city council an
enriching experience and that market conditions
actually improved during the waiting period. His
advice? "Perseverance! We never gave up, even after
we lost the first RFP. Delays can be frustrating to
a developer, but I'm glad we hung in there!"
Kemmons Wilson Companies #10 on Memphis Business
Journals Top 100 Private Companies
The Memphis Business Journal recently released its
Top 100 Private Companies, and the Kemmons Wilson
Companies made the top ten! Click here to see the list
(requires Memphis Business Journal
Hilton Worldwide Recognizes Top Franchise Development
Owners in North America
MCLEAN, Va. - June 13,
2013 - Hilton Worldwide today announced honors
for its top annual development awards in North
America. Awards are presented in five
categories across the company's portfolio of
hotels, including: Developer of the Year, Best
Conversion, Deal of the Year, Outstanding
Achievement and Lifetime Achievement.
Recipients are awarded based on criteria
ranging from total number and quality of
hotels developed to impact on community and
fastest construction time.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - For the last five years,
Dana and Bill Defenbaugh have been in and out of Le
Bonheur Children's Hospital by their daughter's
Nowell, 5, was born premature and given zero chance
of survival; she now battles with acute respiratory
"We don't go home until Nowell goes back home,"
With the Defenbaughs living two hours away in
Mississippi, they are away from home for weeks and
months at a time. Lucky for them, and other
families in their situation, there is a place just
across the street from Le Bonheur that allows them
to be near their daughter and still have all the
comforts of home: The FedEx Family House (http://www.fedexfamilyhouse.org).
Hampton Inn and Suites Lake Mary at Colonial TownPark
Earns 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
CONTACT: Bryan Waldron
Hampton Inn and Suites Lake Mary
TRIPADVISOR PR TEAM
Hampton Inn and Suites Lake Mary at Colonial
TownPark Earns 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of
Honored as a Top Performing Hotel as Reviewed
by Travelers on the World’s Largest Travel
Lake Mary, FL – 5/21/2013 – The Hampton Inn and
Suites Lake Mary at Colonial Town Park today
announced that it has received a TripAdvisor®
Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade,
which honors hospitality excellence, is given only
to establishments that consistently achieve
outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is
extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only
the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed
on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.
To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence,
businesses must maintain an overall rating of four
or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by
travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed
on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional
criteria include the volume of reviews received
within the last 12 months.
“The Hampton Inn and Suites Lake Mary is pleased to
receive the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,”
said Mark Plebanski, General Manager at the Hampton
Inn and Suites Lake Mary. “We strive to offer our
customers a memorable experience, and this accolade
is evidence that our hard work is translating into
positive reviews on TripAdvisor.”
“TripAdvisor is delighted to celebrate the success
of businesses around the globe, from Sydney to
Chicago, Sao Paulo to Rome, which are consistently
offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer
experience,” said Alison Copus, Vice President of
Marketing for TripAdvisor for Business. “The
Certificate of Excellence award provides top
performing establishments around the world the
recognition they deserve, based on feedback from
those who matter most – their customers.”
About the Hampton Inn and Suites Lake Mary
The Hampton Inn and Suites Lake Mary at Colonial
TownPark is a state-of-the-art Hampton Inn and
Suites with 86 guest rooms and 45 suites designed
for the business traveler. Amenities include
complimentary in-room high-speed Internet service,
complimentary On The House™ Hot Breakfast,
voicemail and speakerphone, advanced cable TV
system, outdoor pool and whirlpool, laundry/valet
service, 24-hour "Suite Shop," fitness facility,
fax and photocopy services, meeting facilities and
more. It is conveniently located in the Colonial
TownPark, a 175 acre mixed-use park (upscale retail
shops, movie theater, numerous restaurants,
corporate office park) and offers easy access to
all that Central Florida has to offer.
TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel site*,
enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect
trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real
travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and
planning features with seamless links to booking
tools. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the
largest travel community in the world, with more
than 200 million unique monthly visitors**, and
over 100 million reviews and opinions. The sites
operate in 30 countries worldwide, including China
under daodao.com. TripAdvisor also includes
TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that
provides the tourism industry access to millions of
monthly TripAdvisor visitors.
Tuscaloosa officials, developer break
ground at $31M downtown Embassy Suites
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- Representatives from
Memphis, Tenn.-based developer Kemmons Wilson Cos.
and city officials celebrated the groundbreaking
for the $31 million downtown Embassy Suites Monday
The construction of a full-service hotel at the
corner of University Boulevard and Greensboro
Avenue, known as the the CityFest lot, has been the
aim of the city for three decades. Six years after
the city received a proposal from Kemmons Wilson
Cos. for a hotel at the site, work is set to begin
with a completion goal of fall 2014.
Two weeks ago, the city and the developer closed a
$1.855 million deal for the former parking lot
after the Tuscaloosa City Council ratified an
amendment to economic incentives for the project in
the form of tax rebates totaling $4.89 million or
10 years of those rebates.
The plans for the eight-story hotel call for 154
suites, a fine dining restaurant operated by Hot
& Hot Fish Club owner Chris Hastings, thousands
of square feet of meeting space, private dining
rooms, a lounge and an indoor pool and fitness
center. The project will spur 125 construction jobs
and 57 full-time jobs once operational.
C. Kemmons Wilson Jr., principal of Kemmons Wilson
Cos., said he at times wondered if he would get to
the day of the groundbreaking of the hotel, but
that City Hall had the resolve to see the project
"Tuscaloosa is at the tipping point and is poised
to take off like a rocket ship," Wilson said.
"We'll all look back on this day and remember this
hotel development served as a catalyst that
spring-boarded this city into greater heights."
He credited the city leaders' vision and passion
for making the hotel move forward.
"A project of this sort has to be a public-private
endeavor," Wilson said. "It couldn't happen any
Wilson said his company will work with the city,
local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce of West
Alabama and the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports
Commission, and will need the community's help in
making the downtown Embassy Suites a landmark.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said he thought while
walking to the future site of the hotel about the
strides downtown has made in the eight years since
he became mayor.
"This project is going to be the type of bold
initiative that when we came into office in 2005 we
talked about," Maddox said. "We talked about being
unconventional, we talked about questioning the
status quo, we talked about transforming the winds
of change through this downtown. This project
further signifies that."
Maddox said that this is an "extraordinary" time in
the city's history, and that the downtown hotel
gives the city a new anchor from which it can build
momentum in the area.
"This is not a city project or a downtown project
or a university project," Maddox said. "This is our
city, this is our project and and we look forward
to an unbelievable future."
"I appreciate the patience that our city leaders
have exercised in waiting for the right project to
come along, and this is it," Nunnally said. "The
Kemmons Wilson group has shown us, through their
ability to negotiate in good faith and bring
forward a project that this entire community can
all be proud of, that we've made the right
University of Alabama Chancellor Robert Witt said
he knew the hotel deal would come through because
of Wilson, a UA graduate who has served on the
visitors and president's cabinet and co-chaired a
$612 million capital campaign that concluded in
"I knew that with Kem Wilson's leadership that this
project will be a success," Witt said.
The Embassy Suites in downtown Tuscaloosa, selected
by Hilton Worldwide as the Embassy Suites project
of the year for 2012, will be the fourth in
Alabama. There are currently 220 hotels under that
brand in the country.
Susan West, CEO of Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports
Commission, said the hotel will provide visitors a
new opportunity to visit within walking distance
all of downtown Tuscaloosa including the
amphitheater, galleries, restaurants and other
The university's Office of Archaeological Research
is putting together a report of their survey
conducted earlier this year at the site, where they
found currency from foreign countries, more
information on a Civil War prisoner of war camp
located there and some details on a a former house
built for the first mayor of the city, Maddox said.
"I think the thing that really struck me is that
when this city was first constructed, this corner
was considered the heart of commerce for the
community," Maddox said. "Now 200 years later, it's
still the heart of commerce for our community."
The city is replacing parking spots at the former
free lot in a new 100-space lot just north of the
site and at the old farmer's market. There are also
plans to acquire a parking lot near First Baptist
Church and to look into a possible valet service
downtown, Maddox said.
The new hotel will add thousands of square feet of
convention space and offers the opportunity to
expand the Bryant Conference Center, Maddox said.
He said the city will partner with the university
on a feasibility study for that project.
"Without a doubt, this is a gamechanger project for
downtown Tuscaloosa with a transformational effect
-- really lifting our downtown from good to great,"
Additional coverage of the Embassy Suites Tuscaloosa
Kemmons Wilson School Students placed first at the
Annual Hospitality Entrepreneurship Summit!!
(Left to right)
Zachary Lewis, Ankur Sharma, Dr. Leonard Jackson,
Associate Professor Suzanne Reese, Mellissa Smith.
All students will graduate in 2013 from the
University of Memphis, Kemmons Wilson School of
Hospitality and Resort
Management. Kemmons Wilson School Students
placed first at the Annual Hospitality
A team of students from the Kemmons Wilson School
(KWS) placed first at the annual Hospitality
Entrepreneurial Summit! This was the second time in
three years that a team from the Kemmons Wilson
School won the competition (the KWS did not
participate last year). The summit was held at the
University of Delaware and was sponsored by
Marriott International, McDonalds Restaurants and
ARAMARK. Over 200 students from twelve universities
and twelve high schools participated. The summit
focused on hospitality business ownership and
featured leading hospitality entrepreneurs and
hotel and restaurant development executives. The
keynote speaker at the event was Sheila Johnson,
CEO and owner of Salamander Hotels & Resorts-a
portfolio of luxury hotels and spa & golf
resorts. Ms. Johnson also has ownership interests
in ProJet Aviation, the NBA’s Washington Wizards,
the NHL’s Washington Capitals and is the President
and Managing Partner of the WNBA’s Washington
The team from the University of Memphis won the
award for the best business plan in the College
& University category. The team’s business plan
featured a restaurant concept, SPRIGG, which
incorporated “Urban fusion”, sustainability and use
of fresh herbs grown onsite. The concept promotes
healthy living/eating in an unobtrusive manner. The
KWS team comprised: Suzanne Reese, Zachary Lewis,
Mellissa Smith, Ankur Sharma and Ryan Metzler. Dr.
Leonard Jackson selected and coached the team. He
noted that, “It is important that our students
attend these conferences since they are exposed to
the ownership side of the industry. Winning these
competitions definitely improves the profile of the
Kemmons Wilson School and the University of
Memphis.” The first place prize included a cash
award of $2,500.
The Southwest Hospitality Management Society Prepares a
Meal for St. Jude Kids
The Southwest Hospitality Management Society (HMS),
comprised of students in the Hotel Management, Food
and Beverage Management and Culinary Arts programs,
teamed up with St. Jude Children’s Research
Hospital’s Grizzlies House to provide dinner for
families and patients recently. This was the first
time Southwest students worked together on such an
event. It was an amazing opportunity to put their
classroom learning into action – and an equally
amazing opportunity to give back to the community.
Some of the students, along with Chef Steven Leake,
prepared a delicious Asian-themed meal. The menu
featured a Pacific Rim salad tossed in an Oriental
Vinaigrette, grilled teriyaki chicken served with
Lo Mein noodles, stir fry vegetables, and an Apple
Wonton Bundle, with Chef Leake’s famous homemade
caramel sauce. Other students, along with Lead
Faculty for Hotel Management Margie Coltharp,
served the meal to patients and family members and
offered Asian-themed arts and crafts to entertain
the kids – all while the movie Kung Fu Panda played
on the TV.
The HMS students spent many hours planning this
event and their efforts paid off. It was a
fun-filled night with good food, laughter and lots
of fun. A good time was had by all and plans are
already in the works for a return visit to the
Governor Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam
visited the FedEx Family House for their first time
Saturday evening before heading to the facility's
"One of the cool things about being governor is all
over the state you see things like this and you
walk away incredibly proud of Tennesseans and
companies that are based here that kind of go that
extra mile to make other people feel comfortable in
hard times," says Gov. Haslam.
The FedEx Family House becomes a home away from
home for hundreds of families during the year whose
children are being treated at Le Bonheur Children's
Hospital. Gov. Haslam says they didn't miss a thing
when providing comfort and quality to families
The Haslams visited with some of those families,
including Bill and Dana Defenbaugh, who have been
living at the Fed Ex Family House for nearly nine
months as their five-year-old daughter receives
treatment for an infection.
"One of us can stay here and get a good night sleep
while the other one is there with her so she won't
ever be alone," says Bill. Dana adds, "We can wash
clothes and have a good home cooked meal."
The Defenbaughs says the Haslams were eager to hear
about their daughter and even asked to see pictures
Since is opened in 2010, more than 7,000 families
have stayed at the FedEx Family House free of
charge. The facility depends entirely on donations
and volunteers to make it what it is today.
Home2 Suites celebrates the new Home2 Inspired
breakfast bar at the Memphis Grizzlies House
Home2 Suites by Hilton celebrated the unveiling of
the Home2 Inspired breakfast bar at the Memphis
Grizzlies House part of St. Jude Children’s
Research Hospital. (Photo ID from left to right):
Emily Greer, Chief of Staff - ALSAC/St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital; Bill Duncan, Global
Head of Brand Management-Home2 Suites by Hilton;
Brad Freet, Senior Director of Product Quality
& Innovation Focused Service Brands for Hilton
Worldwide; C. Kemmons Wilson Jr., President and
Chairman of the Board for Wilson Hotel Management;
Brent Adams, Director Domiciliary Care/St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital; and James M. O’Brien,
Executive Vice President of Wilson Hotel Management
Holiday Inn Middle East: Father figure
Spence Wilson's tour of the Middle East, where
seven hotels are planned to open within
Journalist covers Holiday Inn for Spanish newspaper El
Our friend Isabel García Martín, whom we met when she
stayed at our Holiday Inn & Suites Memphis
Wolfchase Galleria, has a couple of great articles
about Holiday Inn in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
If you speak Spanish, take a look here and here.
Stars perform at the FedExFamilyHouse for families of
the children at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital
On Dec. 6, 2012, international recording artist
Jimi Jamison (left) of Survivor, and formerly of
Target and Cobra, and multi-talented friends, Steve
Cobb and Niko Lyras, donated their time and talents
to perform at The FedEx Family House for the
families of the children at Le Bonheur. Jim Gorman,
vice president of FedEx Flight Standards and
Training, held the all-management meeting at the
beautiful facility in the afternoon followed with
the amazing concert and delicious dinner from
Central Barbeque provided for the family members
residing there. Gwen Smith with FedEx Flight
Simulator Support and Bridgett Askew with The FedEx
Family House coordinated the event.
The San Diego Air & Space Museum Honors its "Class
On November 17, 2012, the San Diego Air & Space
Museum honored national and international air &
space legends at its 49th Hall of Fame Induction
Celebration. Each honoree was selected for their
historic contributions to aviation, space or
aerospace innovation. Our own Bob Wilson was among
those honored. Click here for the full
I Choose Memphis: McLean Wilson
Check out the nice "Q and A" with McLean Wilson by
the Commercial Appeal here.
Holiday Inn & Suites Memphis Wolfchase Galleria
wins top industry award
commercialappeal.com covers Holiday Inn & Suites
Memphis Wolfchase Galleria's win of a top industry
award - IHG's 2012 Torchbearer Award. Read the full
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Park Place Jackson
Wins IHG 2012 Newcomer Award
hotelexecutive.com covers Holiday Inn Express &
Suites Park Place Jackson's win of the IHG 2012
Newcomer Award here.
Holiday Inn founding family reflect on past and look to
future in Middle East and India
The founding family of Holiday Inn have just rounded
up a whistle-stop visit to the region, helping to
commemorate the 60th anniversary of one of the
world's most successful hotel brands. The family of
founder Kemmons Wilson paid a visit to the UAE,
Kuwait and India on their two week tour which paid
homage to the brand's 35-year history in the region,
as well as its promising future. Click here for the full story
Sears Crosstown’s new life: vertical urban village
The Sears Crosstown building has been vacant for
years, but a team of developers is working to bring
the 1.5 million-square-foot building back to life.
McLean Wilson, vice president of Kemmons Wilson Cos.,
leads the development and consulting team of
Crosstown LLC with Todd Richardson, a University of
Memphis assistant professor. Read the full story here,
posted by the Memphis Business Journal on
Spence Wilson attends Crowne Plaza Kuwait 30th
Crowne Plaza Kuwait celebrated its 30th anniversary
recently, having opened in 1982 as the Holiday Inn
Kuwait - one of the first Holiday Inn hotels in the
Middle East. Joining the commemoration of this
milestone was Spence Wilson, son of Kemmons Wilson,
and his wife Becky. hoteliermiddleeast.com covers
the story here.
Bob Wilson inducted into the Air & Space Hall of
Fame as an Air Pioneer
The Fogelman College of Business and Economics
hosted its annual alumni appreciation luncheon on
Tuesday, celebrating some of the school's most
distinguished graduates and honoring a longtime
At the program, held at the Holiday Inn at the
University of Memphis, Kemmons Wilson Jr. was
recognized for his years of patronage to the
college. Son of the founder of the Holiday Inn
hotel chain, Wilson is an entrepreneur and has done
much to promote FCBE, said Dr. Rajiv Grover, dean
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Park Place Jackson
Wins IHG 2012 Newcomer Award
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Park Place Jackson
Wins IHG 2012 Newcomer Award
ATLANTA (Oct. 24, 2012) -- The Holiday Inn Express
& Suites Park Place Jackson received the IHG
(InterContinental Hotels Group) 2012 Newcomer Award
as one of the best properties to join the system
within the last year as either a new development or
a conversion property.
The hotel was recognized during the 2012 IHG
Americas Investors & Leadership Conference in
Orlando, FL, Oct. 24-26, 2012. As one of 26 hotels
selected for the award, the Holiday Inn Express
& Suites Park Place Jackson had to meet the
highest standards of quality and customer service.
“We are extremely proud to have the Holiday Inn
Express & Suites Park Place Jackson join our
IHG brand family,” said Kirk Kinsell, President,
the Americas, IHG. “We look forward to
strengthening our relationship with Wilson Hotel
Management Company, Inc. as they have clearly made
the guest experience a top priority when visiting
this new property.”
“We thank our talented and hard-working hotel staff
and our many loyal customers as well. We are
thrilled to be recognized with IHG’s 2012 Newcomer
Award,” said Jim O’Brien, Executive Vice President
of Wilson Hotel Management Company, Inc., the firm
which proudly manages the property.
Nearly 5,000 franchise owners, operators and
company officials attended the 2012 IHG Americas
Investors & Leadership Conference.
Holiday Inn & Suites Memphis Wolfchase Galleria
Wins IHG 2012 Torchbearer Award
Holiday Inn & Suites Memphis Wolfchase Galleria
Wins IHG 2012 Torchbearer Award
ATLANTA (Oct. 24, 2012) – The Holiday Inn &
Suites Memphis Wolfchase Galleria received the IHG
(InterContinental Hotels Group) 2012 Torchbearer
Award, the company's most prestigious award.
The Torchbearer Award was presented during the 2012
IHG Americas Investors & Leadership Conference
in Orlando, Florida, Oct. 24–26, 2012.
The Holiday Inn & Suites Memphis Wolfchase
Galleria is one of only 102 properties within the
Americas chosen from the IHG system of more than
4,500 hotels for achieving the highest levels of
excellence in all aspects of operation -- from
quality to customer satisfaction. A 2012
Torchbearer trophy, the company's symbol of
excellence, will be on permanent display at the
"It is my pleasure to name the Holiday Inn &
Suites Memphis Wolfchase Galleria as one of the
top-notch hotels in our industry," said Kirk
Kinsell, President, the Americas, IHG. "This hotel
embodies the heart of our brand promise and
continues to make IHG properties known and admired
throughout the world, continuing our mission to
deliver Great Hotels Guests Love."
“We’re honored to receive the IHG 2012 Torchbearer
Award. We will continue to strive for excellence in
every endeavor at Holiday Inn & Suites Memphis
Wolfchase Galleria,” said Jim O’Brien, Executive
Vice President of Wilson Hotel Management Company,
Inc., the firm which proudly manages the property.
Nearly 5,000 franchise owners, operators and
company officials attended the 2012 IHG Americas
Investors & Leadership Conference.
Memphis Grizzlies’ ownership group grows
The Monday, November 5, 2012 edition of the Memphis
Business Journal includes a story on the newly
announced Memphis Grizzlies owner group, which
includes Spence Wilson, C. Kemmons Wilson Jr. and
Robert Wilson of Kemmons Wilson Cos. Read the full story here.
Kemmons Wilson Family receives Hospitality Heritage
Kemmons Wilson Family receives Hospitality
Washington, D.C. -- The American Hotel &
Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF)
presented members of the Kemmons Wilson family with
the Hospitality Heritage Award on October 23, in
Orlando. Considered one of the lodging industry’s
most prestigious honors, the award acknowledges the
family’s remarkable leadership and commitment to
the hospitality industry and their community
Accepting the award on behalf of the family was
McLean Wilson; Spence Wilson, Bob Wilson, Spence
Wilson, Jr., and Kemmons Wilson, Jr., were also in
Wilson stands as one of the past century’s most
noteworthy innovators. In 1952, the first Holiday
Inn was built in Memphis, Tennessee due to a
personal quest out of frustration from his own
family vacations. From Memphis to Washington, D.C.,
Wilson was increasingly annoyed by the random rules
he encountered at the motels along the way, and so
he resolved to build his own hotel chain. By 1959,
Holiday Inn had 100 properties that were providing
standardized hotel services to America’s open-road
travelers, and by the 1970s, Holiday Inn had
reached across oceans.
Wilson left a living legacy with the creation of
the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort
Management at the University of Memphis.
Additionally, the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation
is a family-run foundation that honors the legacy
of giving established by Kemmons and Dorothy
Wilson. Giving categories include community service
and outreach, empowerment of youth, enrichment of
education, faith-based ministries, and health and
research-related organizations. “In my opinion,
Kemmons Wilson is the industry’s most notable
innovator and visionary,” said AH&LA President
and CEO Joseph A. McInerney, CHA. “He lined
America’s new highways with welcome mats, which had
an enormous impact on our industry. We are pleased
to honor this industry icon with our most
The Kemmons Wilson family is the 10th recipient of
the Hospitality Heritage Award. Past recipients
include JW Marriott, Barron Hilton, the Tisch
family, and the Carlson family.
AH&LEF is the charitable fund-raising and
endowed fund-management subsidiary of the American
Hotel & Lodging Association. Founded in 1953,
AH&LEF is the premier organization for
scholarships, professional certification, and
instructional material as well as funding for
hospitality industry research. For more
information, visit www.ahlef.org.
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a
century, AH&LA is the sole national association
representing all sectors and stakeholders in the
lodging industry, including individual hotel
property members, hotel companies, student and
faculty members, and industry suppliers.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA
provides members with national advocacy on Capitol
Hill, public relations and image management,
education, research and information, and other
value-added services to provide bottom-line savings
and ensure a positive business climate for the
lodging industry. Partner state associations
provide local representation and additional
cost-saving benefits to members.
Hotel plan for downtown Tuscaloosa advances
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 on
"The city's three-decade attempt to lure a major
business-class hotel to the downtown area took a
major step forward Monday night when the Tuscaloosa
Planning Commission approved the developer's plans
for a $27 million Embassy Suites.
The commission voted 8-0 to recommend the plan to
the City Council, which will have final say on the
development by Kemmons Wilson Inc. of Memphis,
In the shadows of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital,
the building that displays a giant heart, is a home
away from home that beats the same way for families
such as Glenda Voight.
Voight said, “My son had a liver transplant.”
Voight has traveled 500 miles from Churchill,
Tennessee to have her 15-year-old son, Skyler
Varner, cared for by doctors and nurses at Le
Bonheur in Memphis.
What makes her son’s operation less stressful for
her is that she’s able to stay right across the
street from Le Bonheur at the FedExFamilyHouse on
Poplar near Ayers, “I think it’s peaceful for
parents who are stressed out and what they’re going
through and I really think it’s exceptional and the
staff here is wonderful and it’s a beautiful
Downtown Tuscaloosa, AL hotel deal moves near
"All that’s needed is a final vote of the City
Council and the deal for a new downtown hotel will be
"The council’s Public Projects Committee on Tuesday
gave its resounding approval to an agreement with
Wilson Hotel Management Group that will bring a $27
million Embassy Suites hotel to the area commonly
known as the CityFest lot."
Click here for the complete
story on tuscaloosanews.com.
FedExFamilyHouse Awarded LEED® Building
FedExFamilyHouse Awarded LEED®
Building Certification $15,000 USGBC/MLGW incentive awarded to Le
Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s
home-away-from-home for sustainable features
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – FedExFamilyHouse
has been awarded LEED® Gold certification,
established by the U.S. Green Building Council
(USGBC) and verified by the Green Building
Certification Institute. LEED (Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design) is the nation’s
preeminent program for the design, construction and
operation of high performance green buildings.
FedExFamilyHouse, 33,850 square feet, is one of the
country’s first pediatric residences to be awarded
Through achieving LEED Gold certification and the
required points in the Energy, Atmosphere and Water
Efficiency categories, FedExFamilyHouse qualified
to receive a $15,000 award from the Memphis
Regional Chapter of the USGBC. The award was funded
by a 2008 grant from Memphis Light, Gas and Water
to encourage and recognize businesses and
organizations that achieve LEED Certification with
extra emphasis on energy and water measures. By
showcasing leading facilities, the grant creates
awareness and rewards organizations that exhibit
commitment to energy efficiency, indoor air quality
and the environment through LEED’s green building
FedExFamilyHouse received recognition for its
sustainable building process and features,
• Significant reductions in energy use (23 percent)
and water use (44 percent)
• Access to various forms of public transportation
• Recycling stations in common areas
• 44 percent water use reduction
• 24 percent energy use reduction
• 76 percent of construction waste was recycled,
therefore diverted from landfills
• 32 percent of materials used were manufactured
regionally, within 500 miles
• Views to the outdoors are provided for 98 percent
of all regularly occupied spaces
• 70 percent of the building’s electricity comes
from renewable sources
• Use of low-emitting materials (adhesives,
sealants, paints, coatings, and flooring systems)
• Reused Brownfield site as part of Legends Park
• Reduced heat island effect through site
landscaping and shading and limiting asphalt
• 26 percent of the material content is recycled
• 5.3 percent of materials used were made of
rapidly renewable materials
• Building occupants are allowed to control light
levels and temperature to create a more comfortable
The award will be presented to representatives from
Le Bonheur Children’s and FedExFamilyHouse by MLGW
and USGBC Memphis Regional Chapter:
“During the design phase and now in our operations,
sustainability has always been a focus at
FedExFamilyHouse,” said Le Bonheur Vice President
of Facilities Dave Rosenbaum. “We want to thank
USGBC and MLGW for their recognition of sustainable
projects in Memphis. This award will be used to
continue our missing of providing a respite for
families of children being cared for at Le
FedExFamilyHouse’s project team included:
Architect: Looney Ricks Kiss
Sustainability Consultant: Looney Ricks Kiss
Structural Engineer: Structural Design Group
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP) Engineer:
Commissioning Agent: OGCB Inc.
Contractor: Montgomery Martin
Civil Engineer: Tetra Tech
Landscape Architect: Kersey Wike & Associates
Previous recipients of the USGBC/MLGW award are:
iBank, Germantown, 2009; Big River Engineering and
Manufacturing, Memphis, 2010; Court Square Annex,
Memphis, 2011; and Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown,
2011. The FedExFamilyHouse award completes the
original $75,000 grant.
About USGBC Memphis Regional
Established in 2005, the Memphis Regional Chapter
of the USGBC is a nonprofit 501c3 membership-based
organization that promotes green building in
Memphis and its surrounding areas through advocacy
and education. Originally founded by a few
dedicated individuals, we have grown to become a
regional catalyst for the acceptance and adoption
of green building practices, technologies, ideas,
and standards. Membership in the Memphis USGBC
chapter is open to anyone who has a passion for
green building and sustainable living. To learn
more, visit umrc.memberclicks.net/, like us on
Facebook, facebook.com/USGBCMemphis, or follow us
on Twitter at twitter.com/usgbcmemphis.
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green
building certification system is the foremost
program for the design, construction and operation
of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are
currently participating in the LEED rating systems,
comprising over 8 billion square feet of
construction space in all 50 states and 114
countries. By using less energy, LEED-certified
buildings save money for families, businesses and
taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
contribute to a healthier environment for
residents, workers and the larger community.
USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO
Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500
executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the
organization has become the preeminent green
building, membership, policy, standards,
influential, education and research organization in
For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.
FedExFamilyHouse is a home-away-from-home for
families of children receiving treatment at Le
Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Consisting of 24 suites and a variety of
comfortable common areas, FedExFamilyHouse is
provided at no cost to families. It is Leadership
in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) Gold
certified. For more information, visit
www.fedexfamilyhouse.org, like us on Facebook,
www.facebook.com/fedexfamilyhouse or call (901)
About Le Bonheur Children’s
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.,
treats more than 200,000 children each year in a
255-bed hospital that features state-of-the-art
technology and family-friendly resources.
Nationally recognized, Le Bonheur is ranked by U.S.
News & World Report as a Best Children’s
Hospital. Serving as a primary teaching affiliate
for the University Tennessee Health Science Center,
the hospital trains more pediatricians than any
other hospital in the state. For more information,
please call (901) 287-6030 or visit lebonheur.org.
Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/lebonheurchild
or friend us at Facebook at
Latest news on Embassy Suites at CityFest site in
FedExFamilyHouse provides comfort for Le Bonheur
patients and their families
The June 14, 2012 edition of the Memphis Daily News
has a great article on FedExFamilyHouse.
"So far this year, FedExFamilyHouse has served as a
home away from home for more than 800 families
whose children have received treatment at Le
Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
Last year, the facility at 918 Poplar Ave. –
located a short walking distance from the hospital
– brought comfort to more than 4,000 individuals,
including pediatric patients and their parents,
grandparents and siblings.
The patients – who are typically newborns through
age 6 – have traveled to Memphis from 26 states, as
well as Kosovo, Ghana and China, to be treated for
a variety of conditions, from brain tumors to
congenital heart problems to orthopedic issues."
Kemmons Wilson Recipient of 2012 Hospitality Technology
Award of Merit
Austin, Texas (June 1, 2012) — Hospitality Financial
and Technology Professionals (HFTP) is proud to
announce the Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Warren
Markwart and Kemmons Wilson as the 2012 Hospitality
Technology Award of Merit recipients. The award,
presented every five years, recognizes individuals
who have made a significant innovation or
breakthrough that established a path for others in
hospitality technology. Recipients were nominated and
chosen by a committee of inductees to the HFTP
International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame, a
group of industry professionals who have already been
recognized for their influence on the industry.