Decades of collective experience make up our team of passionate professionals, each with their own unique set of skills and expertise. With an unwavering commitment to sharing knowledge with our clients, together we continually learn, grow, and support one another, creating an environment of excellence and innovation.
A self-described “hotel dork,” Kathleen went to the Hotel School at Cornell University with one goal in mind – a career in hospitality. Kathleen loves working alongside so many industry experts to solve challenges and issues as they arise, learning from each one along the way. Driven to succeed, Kathleen’s positive attitude and boundless energy never ceases even in the face of the most daunting task. Not one to get complacent, she loves taking on new responsibilities and learning new tasks.
It’s that same energy and optimism with which Kathleen tackles her daily life. Originally from Boston, she travels back to Bean Town regularly to visit her parents and younger sister, Erin, and says she has close friends all over the East Coast. Always on the go, when Kathleen isn’t racking up air miles, she’s most at home outdoors, especially at the beach or in the ocean. In her off time she ditches the business casual look for her favorite Lululemon athletic garb in pursuit of any kind of physical activity. Whether she’s running, hiking, or biking, exercise isn’t just something she does, it’s who she is.
Kathleen’s favorite Guiding Principle is “Celebrate success wildly” because she believes that it’s important to enjoy your accomplishments and thinks that the key to a happy life is balance. “Life’s too short to be serious all the time,” Kathleen stated. We agree.
Gary, born in Swaziland and raised on the Indian Ocean shores of Durban, South Africa, brings a global perspective to his role in the hospitality industry. With a career that began in the military, where he attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant, Gary transitioned seamlessly into hospitality management, a field that runs in his family. After earning his degree, he honed his skills in Cape Town and London, working in various lifestyle properties. His extensive experience includes leadership roles at esteemed brands like MakeReady Hotels, Ian Schrager's Morgans Hotel Group, and SBE Hotels, where he led significant re-branding and pre-opening initiatives.
Away from the hustle and bustle of hotel management, Gary enjoys a fulfilling family life with his wife Maria and their two children, Niomi and Max, along with their dog Cooper. Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, the family embraces the great outdoors, from beach outings to motorcycle rides. Gary's favorite Guiding Principle, "Do Everything with Gratitude and Humility," reflects his international experiences and the importance he places on being grateful and humble. With plans to eventually retire on a sailboat, Gary's journey in hospitality is as adventurous as his personal life.
Mike Vishny is a dynamic and growth-oriented senior HR executive with a diverse range of experiences across multiple industries and geographies. He thrives in environments that require hyper-growth, change, and turnarounds. Since 2022, Mike has brought his business acumen and passion for driving growth to Evolution Hospitality.
Committed to coaching and developing others, Mike prioritizes helping individuals achieve their personal and professional goals. Throughout his career, Mike has worked in various industries including financial services, technology, consumer packaged goods, marketing research, and industrial manufacturing. However, it is the unique nature of lifestyle hotels that captivates him, specifically the level of creativity and effort required to attract and cater to the diverse needs of different types of travelers and guests.
Mike values honesty, loyalty, and commitment in both personal and professional relationships. He is married to Natalie, whom he met in college, and they share three grown children. A lifelong fan of the Rolling Stones and the Chicago Cubs, Mike holds cherished memories of seeing the band 8 times in multiple cities and watching Ernie Banks play at Wrigley Field.
One of Mike’s guiding principles is to focus on what is important, not just urgent, which helps him to stay grounded and prioritize his energy and impact. Above all, he treasures the people he gets to work with and finds great fulfillment in their company.
Strategic analysis is what drives Evolution Hospitality, and Ed Martinez is who drives Evolution Hospitality's strategic analysis. The proclaimed king of Excel spreadsheets with a highly defined understanding of technology and systems, Ed is part of the foundation of any new tool that helps the field work smarter, faster, better. Revenue management is also part of Ed’s DNA. He always goes the extra mile to grow his revenue management team of professionals, some of the best in the industry. He encourages each of them to test cutting-edge ideas even if they fail, because innovation is one of the most important keys to success in the ever-changing revenue management world.
To call Ed a perfectionist doesn't quite capture his true personality - anal retentive, compulsive, maybe even a little neurotic, would be closer to the mark. Disorganization drives Ed crazy; like Excel, he thinks in columns, rows and numbers. For him Mr. 00010010 is far cooler than 007. He is currently hooked on Sudoku and is not satisfied until he completes his daily puzzle accurately, without corrections or side notes.
Ed's a family man and his single most important focus is being the best husband and father he can be. He is also passionate about providing his wife and two children with warm and wonderful memories of shared adventures and experiences; a tradition he hopes will live on through future generations. He likes to capture these moments in photographs and has a surprisingly creative eye for great shots.
Ed's favorite Guiding Principle is: "Test it... don't be afraid to fail." Because Evolution Hospitality allows employees to test new ideas, Ed feels this Guiding Principle has truly been the foundation of his success.
A south Orange County native who grew up surfing, Eric knew Evolution was a great cultural fit as soon he walked into the office and noticed longboards hanging on the walls and surf videos on repeat in the lobby. Eric and his wife Kristina are avid adventurers who love the beach and mountains alike. They are proud parents to two young boys with seemingly endless amounts of energy. They reside in San Clemente, not far from the Evo office, and on the weekends balance their time between surfing with the kids, juggling youth sports and long relaxing hikes.
During his freshman year at U.C., Berkeley, Eric walked on to the rowing team, which combined countless hours of intense cardio training with daily head-to-head seat races in the boat. Crew taught Eric some valuable life lessons such as dedication, adaptability, discipline, and teamwork. This experience led to one of Eric’s favorite Guiding Principle: “None of us is as good as all of us”
Eric is an innovative digital marketing leader with experience driving growth and business transformation in hospitality, real estate, and financial service industries. He has a passion for creating data driven, customer centric strategies that generate growth through new customer acquisition, brand strategy and digital innovation. Eric enjoys building and growing high functioning teams that work cohesively to drive maximum value to stakeholders.
Alex Michael Johnson is a seasoned professional with a multifaceted background in the hospitality industry, including stints in casinos, skiing, and hotels. With a degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Louisville, Alex has a keen eye for operations analytics and revels in the details. Before joining Evolution Hospitality one and half years ago, he was pivotal in building the Graduate Hotels portfolio, growing it from 8 to 35 hotels in approximately three years. His approach to work is driven by his favorite Guiding Principle: "Make it better than it was before." His love for his job stems from the opportunity to meet new people and explore the diverse markets in which Evolution operates.
Away from the analytics and acquisitions, Alex is a man of simple yet refined tastes. He describes himself as driven, collaborative, and passionate. When it comes to unwinding, nothing beats a drive in the Rocky Mountains outside of Denver. A wine enthusiast, his favorite hotel is the Harvest Inn in Napa, known for its in-room fireplaces and vineyard-overlooking patios. Alex is happily married to Paige and is a proud pet parent to two rescue dogs, Balou and Milo. His favorite piece of advice encapsulates his work ethic perfectly: "If you enjoy what you do, you'll never work a day in your life." Whether sipping on a Silver Oak Cabernet or re-watching the TV series "White Collar" for the fifth time, Alex knows how to balance a high-powered career with a fulfilling personal life.
With a wealth of expertise and knowledge from his years in the hospitality industry, Brian has played a pivotal role in driving operational excellence and ensuring the highest standards of service across multiple lifestyle hotels at Evolution Hospitality. He has held various leadership positions within the company including Director of Operations, Regional Director, and currently Vice President of Operations.
Brian is passionate about creating exceptional guest experiences. He takes great pride in fostering a culture of teamwork and collaboration, empowering his team to deliver outstanding results. Brian’s commitment to innovation and guest satisfaction has earned him positive recognition within the industry, and he continues to inspire and motivate his colleagues through his leadership.
Outside of work, Brian enjoys spending quality time with his family and exploring new destinations. He believes in the power of travel to create lasting memories and enrich one’s perspective. Brian’s genuine passion for the hospitality industry, coupled with his dedication to excellence, makes him a valuable asset to the Evolution Hospitality team.
College is typically the time when most people discover a passion or a career. The same was true for Mark, except the lightbulb didn’t happen during a class or lecture. While pursuing a degree in Computer Science, Mark worked as a valet parker at a nearby hotel exposing him to the hospitality industry. That’s when his love affair with the hotel business began.
After college Mark moved around quite a bit and lived in Hilton Head, Atlanta, Palm Springs, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego, which helped prepare him well for a career at Evolution. Working in operations, Mark gets to experience many sides of the industry and admits he enjoys the lifestyle aspect of it. “Hospitality is fun,” Mark said. “We aren’t saving lives, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” When not having fun at work, Mark enjoys playing golf or spending time with his family. A proud father of two (son Dane and daughter Kylie), he loves taking family trips and exposing his kids to new places and of course, new hotels.
Always the optimist, Mark’s favorite Guiding Principle is “Do everything with gratitude and humility.”
Melinda Capen is a dynamic force in the hospitality industry, embodying a rare blend of financial acumen and people skills. With a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from San Francisco State University, Melinda's journey began as an unpaid intern, eventually working her way up through operations. Her extensive experience spans renowned brands like Hilton, Marriott, IHG, and Hyatt, as well as independent properties across the U.S. Melinda thrives on the multifaceted nature of her role, from diving into financials to morning sales huddles and revenue management. She relishes collaborating with owners, team members, and brand representatives, always with the Guiding Principle of “making things better than they were before."
Away from the spreadsheets and sales targets, Melinda is a passionate, adventurous, and curious individual. Her most cherished travel experiences include life-changing global builds with Habitat for Humanity, offering her unique insights into various cultures. When it comes to leisure, she has a penchant for unique architecture and experiences, citing the Post Hotel in Leavenworth, WA, and the Ion in Iceland as her favorite hotels. Melinda is also a devoted wife to Ryan and a pet mom to Barley, a silver lab, and Porter, a black shelter cat. Her interests are as diverse as her career, from photography and hiking to enjoying an Oregon Pinot or an Old Fashioned.
Melinda's favorite motto, "Wander where the WiFi is weak," encapsulates her adventurous spirit and commitment to making the most of every moment, both in her career and personal life.
Ryan has spent the better part of his professional life in the hospitality industry, holding various management positions at several esteemed hotel and resort companies. He began his career as a busboy at The Doubletree Hotel in his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, but his drive and commitment quickly led him to managerial roles. After serving as the Assistant General Manager for Wine Gardner and Hammons, Inc. between 2006 and 2009, he joined HEI Hotels and Resorts, where he held the position of General Manager at Embassy Suites in Tysons Corner and later in San Diego Bay. Throughout his tenure, his leadership and dedication to guest satisfaction earned him the prestigious Guest Satisfaction Award in 2011.
In 2013, Ryan transitioned to Evolution Hospitality, starting as the Campus General Manager in Redondo Beach. Ryan’s strategic and empathetic approach to operations earned him Evo’s Rookie of the Year Award in 2014. In 2017, he was promoted to VP of Operations, a role he continues to excel in today. His success was further recognized with Evo’s MVP Award in 2020. Passionate about the unique vibe and culture that lifestyle hotels offer, Ryan has significantly grown his portfolio in this segment, helping to create lasting memories for guests. A devoted family man, he enjoys spending his time off exploring new destinations with his wife and daughter. Whether it’s enjoying the serene beauty of La Quinta Resort & Spa or dreaming of a future trip to Italy, Ryan’s love for travel and creating experiences is evident in both his personal and professional life.
Stacey Rivera is a hospitality industry veteran with an impressive 25-year career that has seen her rise through the ranks from her first job at a hotel near Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts to leading a portfolio of multi-branded properties with 24Seven Hotels. A graduate in Hospitality Management, Stacey has honed her skills in various roles, including serving as a General Manager for Pacifica Hotels and developing the company's Quality Assurance programming. Her leadership extends beyond her immediate responsibilities; she has also led the Risk & Security Committee for American Hotel & Lodging, focusing on hotel safety and fire protection. Having joined Evolution Hospitality in 2023, Stacey brings her extensive experience to the table, particularly her decade-long expertise in managing lifestyle and boutique hotels.
Away from the boardroom and property tours, Stacey is a family-oriented individual who describes herself as determined, patient, and kind. She is married to Alex, who works in law enforcement and is a proud mom to Viviana and Dominic, both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts. The family is completed by their Beagle mix, Cooper, who adds a touch of fearless humor to their lives. Stacey is a Boston Red Sox loyalist and enjoys the occasional delivery from Uber Eats. Her favorite Guiding Principle is "Celebrate Success Widely," emphasizing the importance of team-building and cross-collaboration. Stacey is thrilled to be a part of Evolution's Operations leadership team, admiring the company's strong culture of collaboration and dedication to wellness.
Darcy didn’t set out to have a career in hospitality as she originally wanted to teach the sixth grade. Early in her career, while working her way through college, Darcy had an opportunity to conduct leadership development training and was immediately hooked. She realized that she was passionate about training, coaching, and helping adults learn and grow more than anything else she had previously done. As a result of this experience, Darcy shifted her focus from working with children to working with adults.
A Southern California native, Darcy is drawn to the beach. She believes that a vacation doesn’t count unless it involves an ocean, a comfortable hammock, her Kindle, and a drink with an umbrella in it. Her perfect Sunday is a leisurely breakfast with her husband, Larry, followed by a trip to Huntington Beach Dog Beach with their two pups, Lucky and Lola. Darcy’s fortunate to have extended family nearby and enjoys spending time hanging out at the pool, playing a competitive (or sometimes, not so competitive) game of pool volleyball and getting together for impromptu barbeques. During her downtime, you can find Darcy reading, listening to country music, taking a Pilates class or indulging in a pedicure or massage.
Darcy’s desire to coach others and help people see things from a different perspective pairs nicely with Evo’s philosophy of helping people reach their full potential. “It’s important that each of us practice and demonstrates the behaviors we value as an organization,” she said. It’s not surprising that her favorite Guiding Principle is “Lead by example and walk your talk.”
Michelle Allen is a highly accomplished professional in the hospitality industry with 15 years of extensive experience. She loves the creative freedom that lifestyle properties offer, but her passion lies in revenue management, which she compares to detective work: identifying issues, crafting potential solutions, implementing strategies, and witnessing the impact on the bottom line.
Her journey began at 22 years old when she became a Director of Revenue, showcasing her eagerness to learn and excel in the field. Over the years, Michelle has held various leadership roles, including Area Director, Regional Director, and most recently, RVP in 2022. She takes immense pride in her contributions to developing tools, supporting integration committees, and driving improvements for the larger organization.
Throughout her career, Michelle has been recognized for her outstanding achievements. She has been awarded prestigious accolades such as the Voice of the Brand by Evolution in 2019 and Excellence in Revenue Management in 2016. Additionally, she has been nominated multiple times for MVP of the Year and Revenue Management Professional of the Year. Michelle embodies ambition, thoughtfulness, and dependability, traits that have contributed to her success.
As one of seven siblings, Michelle understands and appreciates the importance of family. She is committed to creating lasting memories with her own family, which includes her husband William of 23 years and their two children, Carter and Jonathan. Together they love to go hiking in Colorado. She also adores her cat, Deuce, who holds a special place in her heart as her first “child.” She lives by the words of Nelson Mandela: “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.”
Jacqulyn Street brings over 9 years of experience to her role as Regional Director of Revenue. Throughout her career, Jacqulyn has developed a passion for the lifestyle sector, with a significant portion of her portfolio dedicated to unique properties. Her extensive hands-on experience and dedication have propelled her to success in the industry.
Before joining Evolution in 2014, Jacqulyn’s journey began as a front desk agent at Embassy Suites in Temecula at the age of 19. She quickly climbed the ranks and later found her passion in revenue management. Jacqulyn continued to thrive, working in operations and revenue management across various hotels in Southern California and consulting for different companies until she was promoted to Regional Director of Revenue with TPG Hospitality. Throughout her career, she has become known for her loyalty, passion, and efficient work style.
Outside of work, Jacqulyn treasures family time and enjoys traveling. Her favorite destination is Greece with its crystal blue waters. She is happily married to Travis, her husband of 15 years, and mom to her two children, Makenzie and Micah—along with her four-year-old dog, Brodie.
She draws inspiration from her favorite quote, “It won’t last forever,” which serves as a reminder to persevere through hard times and appreciate the good moments. Jacqulyn believes in the power of listening and collaboration to foster personal growth and success.
Mark Becker is a hospitality veteran with over 20 years of experience. Starting his career as a front desk agent with Radisson in Sacramento, Mark quickly developed a passion for the industry. He worked his way through various roles in rooms operations and eventually found his calling in revenue management while working for Hilton Worldwide. Mark’s journey took him up and down the west coast, from Berkeley to Lake Tahoe, Seattle, and ultimately San Diego, where he fell in love with the city and decided to make it his home.
During his six and a half years with Evo, Mark expanded his knowledge by working in several of Evo’s San Diego portfolio hotels, as well as properties in Northern California and Arizona including Marriott, Hyatt, and independent brands while embracing the “test it, don't be afraid to fail” mentality. Mark’s dedication and commitment to continuous growth led him to complete his Certified Revenue Management Executive (CRME) certification.
Outside of work, Mark enjoys life to the fullest. He can be found unwinding at the gym, enjoying quiet moments on the beach, or hosting barbecues with friends on his patio. His love for travel has taken him to five of the seven continents, including memorable visits to Machu Picchu, Turkey, and the Great Barrier Reef. Mark cherishes his close-knit family and often embarks on vacations with all 30+ members. With a hunger for experiencing diverse cuisines, he enjoys everything from fine dining to hole-in-the-wall joints and food carts. Above all, he believes in being his authentic self while enjoying life’s adventures.
Tiffany Marcelino, affectionately known as "Tiff," is a seasoned professional with a career spanning over six years at Evolution Hospitality. She began her journey in the hospitality industry in San Diego, focusing on Marriott-branded properties. In 2015, Tiffany transitioned into a Regional Sales role, gaining invaluable experience by supporting hotels through the pre-opening process. She has been a part of 11 pre-opening hotel teams. In 2017, she joined Evolution as an Area Director of Sales for the Hilton San Diego Bayside Campus and later moved into the role of Regional Director of Sales in 2019, expanding her portfolio to include Hyatt and Independent brands.
When she's not busy leading sales teams, Tiffany enjoys the simple pleasures in life. She's a fan of the band Blink-182 and loves the book "Shantaram." Her favorite podcast is "Smartless," and she believes in the power of a good high-five. Tiffany is passionate about causes like AIDS, Trans Rights, and reproductive health accessibility. Her favorite Guiding Principle? "None of us is as good as all of us," a testament to her team-oriented approach to work.