Source: HFTP

Raman (R. P.) Rama B. Com, CHA Emeritus, CHTP, CHAE and Kris S. Shoemaker, CMA, CGFO, CHAE, CHTP, CPFIM were selected as the 2016 Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) Paragon Award recipients for their unwavering support of HFTP, and substantial contributions to increase knowledge sharing and promote growth in the hospitality industry at large. Both recipients will be honored next month during HFTP's 2016 Annual Convention held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada USA.

Based in Greenville, South Carolina USA, Rama is principal and CTO/CIO at JHM Hotels as well as the founder and president at Sarona Holdings. Rama has worked in the hospitality industry for over 35 years, and is one of five brothers that own the family business JHM Hotels—a global lodging company that has 40-plus properties, over 7,000 guestrooms and more than 1,500 associates in the United States and India. The brothers recently built 140 houses for the underprivileged farm workers in their village Sarona, in Gujarat, India. They also developed and run Auro University in India, where Rama was responsible for technology, design and implementation which has won technology awards in India.

"I am humbled to be identified by my colleagues and peers as having made a recognizable contribution to both HFTP and the hospitality industry," said Rama. "This is the apex of HFTP achievements, and it would not have been possible without the support of my mentors such as [HFTP CEO] Frank Wolfe, CAE, Agnes DeFranco, CHAE, Ed.D. and Frank Santos, CHA, CHAE+. I am honored and very grateful to all of my mentors and colleagues who pushed me and gave me the opportunity to serve HFTP and the hospitality industry. From the bottom of my heart, I say thank you."

Rama is an HFTP Global Past President, and earned his CHAE and CHTP certifications from HFTP where he has been a member since October 1991. Rama was an HFTP Board of Director from 2004-2008, and served on the HFTP Executive Committee from 2010–2014. As a contribution to the hospitality industry, Rama has set up the Young Turks Endowed HFTP Student Professional Development Fund.

After being informed of his Paragon Award selection, Rama wholeheartedly said "I did not expect this award. [Everything] that I [have worked for] was out of my passion to promote education and support HFTP in its mission." Rama mentioned that he "did not do [the work] to get [an] award." He adds that he "enjoy[s] encouraging and connecting with [HFTP] student [members] at HITEC and Annual Convention, [helping raise] HFTP membership, helping HFTP grow globally and creating alliances with other hospitality industry associations."

Rama insists that "guiding students and mentoring students has been [his] passion as [he] was a teacher in Economics and Business Management at St. Francis of Assisi Convent School in Navsari Gujarat India, where [he] was a student in [his] primary and high school education years."

In addition to his accomplishments above, Rama has a Baccalaureate Degree in Business and Accounting from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University (MSU) Vadodara. He earned his CHA (Certified Hotel Administrator) Emeritus designation from the Educational Institute of American Hotel & Lodging Association. Rama served on Advisory boards for the University of South Carolina Hotel School, University of Delaware Hotel School and Carolina Culinary Institute. He also serves on the Marriott & Starwood IT Advisory Boards. Additionally, Rama is an Executive Board Member of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. He was also appointed to the AAHOA Educational Advisory Committee.

Based in Orlando, Florida USA, Shoemaker is currently the deputy director at the Orange County Convention Center. He has been with the convention center since 1985, and worked for Days Inn of America for seven years prior to that. Shoemaker's duties include overseeing the contract administration, budgeting and payroll functions, financial administration, risk management, human resources, facility operations and capital improvement programs for the Center.

"It is a great privilege to receive the HFTP Paragon Award," said Shoemaker. "To be considered along with John Cahill, CHTP, CHA; Stephen M. LeBruto, CHAE+, CPA, Ed.D.; Agnes DeFranco, CHAE,Ed.D.; and other past recipients is truly an honor. This is the pinnacle of recognition that my peers could ever have bestowed upon me, I am grateful and humbled to receive such a prestigious award."

Shoemaker joined HFTP in 1999, and has been a very active member ever since. He has served on the International Nominations, Certification and Leadership Academy committees, as well as numerous chapter committees. He joined the HFTP Mid-Florida Chapter Board of Directors in 2000, and served as its chapter president in 2005. Shoemaker earned his Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) and Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) designations in 1999.

Shoemaker describes the prestigious Paragon Award as "recognition of one's dedication to Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals." Shoemaker says his commitment to HFTP "has been a 17 year journey, with many ports-of-call both locally and globally, including: the Leadership Academy; Certification Committee; Nominating Committee; HFTP Global Board of Directors; HFTP Chapter President; seven-time Chapter of the Year winner; charity golf tournaments; and student chapters." He adds that being recognized as a 2016 Paragon Award recipient "is the final port on his journey, and there is no better recognition or accolade that one can receive."

Shoemaker attended the University of Central Florida, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration as well as his MBA with emphasis in information systems. In 1994, he earned his Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA) designation from the Institute of Management Accountants. In 1999, along with his CHTP and CHAE designations from HFTP, Shoemaker earned his Certified Governmental Financial Officer (CGFO) designation from the Florida Governmental Finance Officers Association. In 2010, he earned his Certified Public Funds Investment Manager (CPFIM) certification from the Association of Public Treasurers.

Established in 1999, the prestigious HFTP Paragon Award recognizes individuals each year who have made a significant and lasting contribution to both HFTP and the hospitality industry. Paragon Award nominees can be HFTP members; representatives of industry-related associations, societies or trade publications; leaders from hospitality businesses, educational institutions and other related disciplines. A panel of industry experts selects the award recipients who will be recognized at HFTP's Annual Convention each October.

Previous Paragon Award winners include: Alice Banks, CHAE (1999); Henry "Buddy" Weeks, CHAE (1999); Frank Santos, CHAE, CHA (2000); Katherine Cavanagh, CHAE (2001); Raymond Schmidgall, PH.D., CPA, CHAE (2002); Frank Wolfe, CAE (2002); Len Bartello, CPA, CHAE, CHTP (2003); John J. Cahill, CHA, CHTP (2004); Wendy Zurstadt, CPA, CHAE, CHTP (2005); Richard Braa, CHAE (2006); Robert Patasnick, CPA (2007); George Glazer (2008); Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE (2009); Stephen LeBruto, CPA, CHAE, Ed.D. (2009); and Steve Doherty, CHAE, CHTP (2010); Frank Agnello Jr., CMA, CHAE (2011); Howard Field, FBHA, FCA (2012); Joseph McInerney, CHA (2013); Evelyn Adams (2014); Ralph R. Miller, CPA, CA, CBV, CHA, CHAE (2015).

For more information on the Paragon Award, contact the HFTP Communications Department at [email protected] or +1 (512) 249-5333.

Stay tuned to HFTP's main webpages:HFTP/HITEC; the world's first hospitality-specific search engine: PineappleSearch– mobile app available via iTunes App Store
and Google Play; HFTP's official blog: HFTP Connect; HFTP's industry-specific, informational news sites:HITEC Bytes(technology),HFTP Club Bytes(club),HFTP News (association); and HFTP's social media sites:Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter (@HFTP) and Instagram (HFTP_HITEC) for the latest news.

About HFTP

Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) is a global nonprofit hospitality association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, that uniquely understands the industry's problems. HFTP has about 5,200 members and several thousand stakeholders across the globe. HFTP assists its members in finding solutions to industry problems more efficiently than any organization via its expert networks, research, conferences such as HITEC and certification programs. HFTP also owns the world's only hospitality specific search engine, HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segment of the hospitality industry. For more information about HFTP, e-mail [email protected].

Jessica Blankenship
Public Relations Manager