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24.01.19 | OnCourse, ICHM News

Captains of Industry

Jason McGowan is one of ICHM’s graduate General Managers, and serves on the college’s 21 - member Graduate in Industry International Advisory Committee (GIIAC)

ICHM takes pride in its industry relevance, and in this it views its Graduates in Industry International Advisory Committee (GIIAC), comprising national and international hotelier graduates and industry leaders, as an invaluable resource.

GIIAC’s counsel on current and future trends in international hospitality and tourism underpins the ongoing development and advancement of ICHM’s curriculum.

Jason McGowan, a student in ICHM’s inaugural year, is perfectly placed to provide advice and an example of the high calibre of GIIAC members.

A GIIAC member for the past seven years, Jason has been General Manager at Accor Hotels (formerly Mantra Group) properties for the past three years, more recently at Mantra Tullamarine (2016 - present) and before that at Bell City Hotels & Residences (2015 - 2016).

He was previously with Event Hospitality & Entertainment, formerly Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL), as General Manager Development Middle East, responsible for Hotel & Resort Development and Cinema Development, based in AHL’s regional office, Dubai (2012 - 2015).

Jason’s career started early - after finishing school he began working as a barman at a number of Adelaide’s leading bars and nightclubs, before taking on management roles as Duty Manager and Night Manager and later Manager of a 49 - room motel in the heart of Adelaide. 

A move to New Zealand’s South Island followed, where he managed the 48-room Picton Whalers Inn (formerly the Mercure Picton, now the Picton Yacht Club Hotel).

But to really get ahead, he knew he needed the qualifications, hence ICHM - in 1993.

‘After managing economy motels both in Adelaide and New Zealand in my early twenties, I found I had caught, as they say, the “industry bug”, and developed a passion for the industry early and wanted to know all there was to know about operating the best-in-class international hotels'.

In late 1992, I made contact with Rex Lipman, the then representative for the Swiss Hotel Association Hotel (SHA) schools for Australia and the Asia Pacific. It was then that I found out that a new SHA Hotel School would be opening in my hometown of Adelaide. I was accepted and entered ICHM with four years of “very raw” hotel industry experience from fast-paced nightclubs, pubs and traditional economy motels.

However, ICHM was exactly the international program I was looking for. At ICHM I found that our lecturers had global experience and taught the finer points of international hotel management with a complementary balance between traditional European hotel management theory and the ever-emerging new world hotel management concepts.’

Jason’s industry placements were the InterContinental Hotel Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and the Atlantic Kempinski Hotel, Hamburg, Germany. For his third industry placement, Jason accepted a project role as “consultant Hotel Manager” for the re-launch of the refurbished Riviera Hotel & Event Centre located on North Terrace in Adelaide’s CBD (now Comfort Hotel Adelaide Riviera). During the Riviera Hotel & Event Centre re-launch project, he worked alongside fellow ICHM inaugural graduate, Ian Wilson.

After graduating in late 1995, Jason started in Catering & Events with AHL’s Rydges brand, firstly based in Canberra (1996 - 1997) and later Sydney (1997 - 1998). 

Other career highlights include: Assistant Director of Catering and Director of Catering, Hilton Hotels; regional Senior Sales Director, Raffles International; and Food & Beverage Director, Rydges Hotels & Resorts based in Brisbane. He later transferred with Rydges Hotels & Resorts to Doha, State of Qatar; and as Executive Assistant Manager and General Manager, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In 2013 he completed course work in Finance and Hotel Investments with Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Ithaca, New York.

‘It’s an absolute honour to have been asked by the college to be a member of GIIAC. Firstly, it’s a great opportunity to contribute to ICHM’s continuing evolution as a modern and “very leading-edge” Hotel Management curriculum, while still retaining some of those more traditional elements of a Swiss Hotel Management program. Also, it is satisfying to have the knowledge that I and fellow GIIAC members are possibly assisting future ICHM graduates to receive the same “leg up” with an ICHM Hotel Management qualification that I believe we all received as fellow ICHM graduates when we all went through the program.’

ICHM appreciates the consummate professionalism, experience and know - how each GIIAC member brings to ICHM, and thanks each and every one for their contribution. 

Other current Graduates in Industry International Advisory Committee (GIIAC) members are: 

Deidre Cotterill, Opening General Manager
Cambria Hotels & Suites Asheville
Choice Hotels International
North Carolina, USA

Nawee Wattasongsuit, Hotel Manager
The Siam
Dusit, Bangkok, Thailand

Marvie Villaruz/Spies, Assistant Director Talent and Culture
Sofitel Melbourne
Victoria, Australia

Surlina Yin, Senior Principal Product Manager
Fusion Talent Management at Oracle
London, United Kingdom

Cherlyn Tan Li Ting, Revenue Analyst
Marine Bay Sands Resort

Anthony Gerber, Director of Sales
The Montague on the Gardens Hotel
London, United Kingdom

Juan Paolo Alfonso, General Manager
Hacienda AltaGracia—An Auberge Resort
Costa Rica

Paul McMurray, Director 
Borg McMurray Hospitality
Sydney, Australia
Junichi Tamakoshi, Director of Business Development
Marco Polo Hotels Group
Hong Kong

Linda Scaffidi, Assistant Human Resources Manager
Hilton Adelaide
South Australia, Australia

Carmine Iommazzo, General Manager
The Westin
California, USA

Raghu Menon, General Manager
The Ritz-Carlton
Dubai International Financial Centre
Dubai, UAE 

Lokesh Sabharwal, Vice President–Development
AccorHotels South Asia
Gurgaon, India

Martin Kunzmann, General Manager
Amari Residences
Pattaya, Thailand

Andrew Hodges, Director of Revenue Management and Systems–Asia Pacific

Nicholas Lacey, General Manager
Hyatt Regency Hangzhou 
Zhejiang, China

Justin McConnell, General Manager
Next Hotels Brisbane
Queensland, Australia

Andrew Choi, Director of Sales and Marketing
Oakwood Premier Incheon
Incheon, South Korea

Enriko Purba, General Manager
Hotel Sahid Bandar Lampung
Lampung, Indonesia

Zara Karaduman, Manager
Events and Engagement
Monash University, Melbourne 
Victoria, Australia.