Industry Update
Press Release24 June 2013

Cornell Pillsbury Institute welcomes new advisory board members

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The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship recently welcomed four new hospitality industry leaders to its advisory board. In this role, they will help shape the entrepreneurship curriculum at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration (SHA) and support entrepreneurial students through such programs as the Hospitality Business Plan Competition, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and internships.

"Through the support of our advisory board members, we can provide students with a well-rounded entrepreneurship education that combines classroom learning with practical, hands-on opportunities. Board members also connect with students, giving them the foundation of a professional network that will be invaluable throughout their careers," said Steve Carvell, associate dean for academic affairs at the SHA.

New advisory board members:

Roger Bloss has more than 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry. After serving in executive positions with several major hotel franchise companies, Bloss founded Vantage Hospitality Group in 1996 and acquired its first hotel. Today Vantage is the eighth largest hotel company in the world, with more than 1,100 global properties. It is the only hotel company to be ranked on the prestigious Inc. 500/500 List of Fastest Growing Companies for seven consecutive years. Bloss's pioneering vision has earned him many industry accolades, including Lodging Magazine's "Innovator of the Year" and HSMAI's "Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing."

Diana Dobin is president and chief sustainability officer at Valley Forge Fabrics, Inc., the largest decorative fabric supplier to the hospitality industry. Dobin's present responsibilities include direct supervision of all business development, design, graphics, PR, and advertising of Valley Forge's innovative and international textile manufacturing business. She is also committed to developing Valley Forge's FRESH® initiative, which directs sustainable product development and production. Dobin's 20 years of experience includes international postings in Asia, sales management of various domestic and international territories, business development, product development, and team building.

John A. Griswold has more than 25 years of senior-management experience, primarily related to hotel and resort development, operations, marketing, and management. In 2007 he founded Harbor Hotel Investors, LLC, an investment company that provides advisory- and asset-management services to the hospitality industry. HHI is a partner in private equity funds with commercial real estate investments in land, hotels, residential communities and an investor in the Prosperity Banking Group in Florida. HHI has provided advisory services for a variety of clients including the Reunion Resort, Hammock Beach Resort, and Red Maple Investors, LLC, in Florida, as well as hotels in Florida, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

Larry Hall is president and chief executive officer of PAR Springer-Miller Systems, Inc., the leading provider of integrated, guest-centric hospitality management solutions to hotels, resorts, spas, and casinos worldwide. Hall has more than 28 years of leadership experience in global, high-growth technology and service-based organizations that serve the hospitality industry. Prior to joining PAR Springer-Miller Systems, he served as the president and chief executive officer of HBSi where he led the acquisition, repositioning, and funding of HBSi, which defined the discipline of demand management and established the company as an industry innovator.

About The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship

An operating unit of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, the Pillsbury Institute advances the study and practice of entrepreneurship and innovation in the hospitality industry. Through our network of faculty, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs, we give students the knowledge and skills they need to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. To learn more about the institute, visit

Jane Henion
Center for Real and Estate Finance
Phone: 607.254.8987
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