Mr. Kurnit is a Principal of Beacon Hospitality Partners. Prior to joining Beacon, he was global head of the DTZ Hospitality Group, and prior to DTZ, Mr. Kurnit was President and Founder of InnVision Hospitality Services, LLC, a hotel management and advisory company. From 2004-2006, InnVision served exclusively as the owners representative to Strategic Hotel Capital, LLC, an entity controlled by affiliates of Goldman Sachs and Prudential. InnVision spearheaded the disposition of this $1.6 billion hotel portfolio which consisted of seven first-class and luxury hotel assets located in New York City and California.
Prior to InnVision, Mr. Kurnit was head of Franchise and Real Estate Development for the Americas Division of InterContinental Hotels Group where he was responsible for the growth and development of all IHG brands in North, Central and South America. Mr. Kurnit's prior experience also includes serving as Managing Director of the Mortgage and Real Estate Division of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association where he was responsible for the asset management and disposition of TIAA's $300 million equity hotel portfolio. Prior to TIAA, Mr. Kurnit spent 12 years with Prudential where he was responsible for the asset management and investment function for the company's $3 billion equity hotel investment portfolio, as well as Prudential's hotel lending activities. Mr. Kurnit holds a B.S. in Hospitality Management from Florida International University.
Mr. Huffsmith is a Principal of Beacon Hospitality Partners. Prior to joining Beacon, he was a Managing Director with DTZ Hospitality Group. Prior to joining DTZ, Mr. Huffsmith was Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for CNL Income Properties, Inc., a public REIT. Mr. Huffsmith’s experience also includes serving as President of Regent International Hotels, where he was responsible for leading the worldwide expansion of the luxury Regent Hotel company. Prior to Regent, Mr. Huffsmith served with InterContinental Hotels Group as head of Development, Asset Management and Technical Services in EMEA, as well as LaSalle Partners and Prudential Realty Group. Mr. Huffsmith holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He also received a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University. Mr. Huffsmith was an accredited instructor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Office of Continuing Education from 1995 to 2003.
Mr. Couture is a Senior Managing Director of Beacon Hospitality Partners. Prior to joining Beacon, Mr. Couture was Senior Vice President of HotelAVE, where he provided investment and operational advisory services to private ownership and investor groups. Preceding his position at HotelAVE, he was responsible for developing strategic master plans at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Previous to joining Starwood Hotels, Mr. Couture was Vice President, Asset Management for the Starwood Capital Group where he managed the Company’s Asian Fund that included a portfolio of hospitality, commercial and residential properties in Thailand and Japan. He also managed a 14-property domestic hotel portfolio and successfully completed six single asset hotel sales. Upon joining Starwood Capital he managed the origination and underwriting of hotel properties for the Starwood Mezzanine Debt Fund.
Prior to Starwood, Mr. Couture served as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Asset Management at LaSalle Partners, Vice President of Asset Management at the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank (HSBC), Director of Hotel Acquisitions at Liberty Real Estate and Asset Manager at Prudential Realty Group. Before pursuing a career in real estate, Mr. Couture had a broad background in hotel operations that spanned ten years, having held management positions with Marriott, Sheraton and the Howard Johnson Company. He was a Regional Manager for Howard Johnson Motor Lodges prior to pursuing a Masters Degree that he earned in 1984 from the School of Hotel Management at Cornell University.
Mr. Walters is a Managing Director of Beacon Hospitality Partners. With almost 25 years of experience, prior to joining Beacon, Robert spent almost seven years with BDO Investment Management Limited (part of the BDO global accountancy practice) where, as Investment Director for Property, he was responsible for all aspects of the Firm’s real estate strategy from asset allocation to fund analysis and selection. In addition, he was responsible for the establishment, financing and management of the Firm’s own real estate funds, which invested in UK and European commercial property (including Germany) and prime central London residential development, ultimately managing a portfolio of more than £750m of assets.
His financial career commenced at Swiss Bank Corp International in London, before moving to Eagle Star, Equitable Life and HBOS plc, followed by boutique advisory businesses Cavanagh and Pantheon, before joining BDO at the end of 2004 since when his focus was on the structure, governance, financing and management of real estate projects.
Mr. Waldman is a Managing Director of Beacon Hospitality Partners. Prior to his current role, Mr. Waldman served as Senior Vice President of DTZ Hospitality Group serving in the New York office. Prior to joining DTZ Hospitality Group, Mr. Waldman served as Vice President for The Mumford Company, a hotel brokerage firm which focuses on mid-market hotels. In this role, he was recognized as the top producing non-partner in the firm, as quantified by transaction volume. Throughout his career, Mr. Waldman has been involved in underwriting more than $6 billion in hotel asset and hospitality companies, participated in more than $1 billion in development projects and marketed more than 100 individual hotels for sale. He has experience with a diverse array of hospitality assets including portfolio transactions, luxury hotel acquisitions and development, and midscale and extended stay properties. Prior to joining Mumford, Mr. Waldman served with Innvest Hotel Brokers based in New York and with InterContinental Hotels Group where he was involved in expansion initiatives, brand strategy and project development. Prior to IHG, Mr. Waldman worked at Arthur Andersen and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Waldman is a graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration where he completed a dual concentration in Real Estate and Finance.
Mr. Knauer is a Vice President with Beacon Hospitality Partners. Prior to joining Beacon, Mr. Knauer served as Associate Vice President at DTZ Hospitality Group, a full service real estate investment banking firm. In this role, he was directly involved in over $2.5 billion of hospitality specific assignments requiring asset management, transactional, advisory and financial services. Prior to DTZ, Mr. Knauer held the position of senior analyst for Molinaro Koger, an international hotel real estate advisory firm. At Molinaro Koger, Mr. Knauer assisted the hospitality deal team members in the underwriting of transactions for hotel assets located throughout the United States and Europe valued in excess of $1 billion. In addition, Mr. Knauer performed valuation analyses for hotel properties owned by local and national hotel companies, financial institutions and individual owner/operators. His clients include Blackstone Real Estate Group, Prudential Real Estate, Marriott International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Host Hotels and Resorts, Global Hyatt Corporation and FelCor Lodging Trust. Mr. Knauer holds a M.S. in Real Estate from New York University. He also received a B.S. in Hotel Administration from Cornell University with a concentration in Real Estate Finance.