Kokua Hospitality Leadership Team
Robert D. Kline, CEO of Chartres Lodging and Co-Chairman of Kokua Hospitality, is a 20+ year veteran of the lodging industry and a graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. He has led over $8 billion in transactions and is a pioneer in the development of asset management practices. Prior to forming Chartres Lodging (formerly known as Oxford Lodging) and serving with Chartres Capital Partners, Mr. Kline founded the Lodging Business for Lend Lease Real Estate Investments and was the founding Head of Acquisitions for Strategic Hotel Capital. Mr. Kline is also a Founding Director of the Hotel Asset Management Association and a frequent lecturer at universities and industry conferences.
Maki Nakamura Bara, President and Co-Founder of The Chartres Lodging Group, LLC, is a leading expert in redeveloping and repositioning urban hotels, resorts, convention hotels, and conference centers. She has acquired and repositioned approximately $3 billion of lodging assets with Chartres Lodging in the U.S. and Japan. Additionally, she has completed nearly $800 million in renovations of these assets. Recently, in recognition of her extensive experience in the lodging sector—particularly in acquisitions, asset management, development management, and her role in the growth of the company—Maki was recognized as the top "40 Under 40" by M&A Advisor, received the ''Best Executive" Stevie Award for Women in Business, was named a "Woman of Influence” in commercial real estate by Real Estate Southern California magazine, and was an honoree of Bisnow’s Power Women – LA. She is also a frequent speaker at various industry conferences.
Maki's previous experience includes participating in the formation and growth of the lodging activities of Lend Lease Real Estate and Strategic Hotel Capital. She has also worked at Oxford Capital Partners, Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers in the hospitality division. Ms. Bara is a graduate of UCLA and is fluent in spoken Japanese.
Kirk Pederson, President of Kokua Hospitality, joined The Chartres Lodging Group in 2011 with 15+ years of experience in the lodging industry and was responsible for all new acquisitions, operations, and asset management. In 2016, Kirk assumed his current role of President at Kokua Hospitality, overseeing all corporate initiatives with a specific focus on growth and owner relations. His diverse background in both the public and private sectors has resulted in the direct oversight of over $5 billion of independent and branded hotels and resorts throughout the U.S. and Mexico.
Prior to joining Kokua Hospitality and The Chartres Lodging Group, Kirk spearheaded acquisitions and asset management for West Coast and Hawaii lodging investments on behalf of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds, Prime Property Fund, and Morgan Stanley separate accounts. He also spent 10 years in various development and asset management roles with American General Hospitality, MeriStar Hospitality Corp., and Interstate Hotels & Resorts. Kirk is a member of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association. He received a BS from the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at The University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Phil Tufano, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Kokua Hospitality, is a 30-year hospitality veteran who has been heading up Kokua since 2007. Tufano is responsible for all areas of hotel operations, sales and marketing, human resources, finance, and development.
Prior to Kokua, Tufano spent 21 years working for Global Hyatt Corporation at 12 locations in the U.S. and Caribbean. He has been General Manager of several Hyatt hotels, with experience working at luxury resorts; suburban, urban, and convention hotels; and all-suite properties. Mr. Tufano’s experience includes renovating, reengineering, repositioning, and re-flagging Hyatt, Hilton, Starwood, Choice, and independent properties. Prior to Hyatt, he worked three years for ITT Sheraton in New York City.
Tufano is a graduate of Farleigh Dickinson Universities School of Hotel & Restaurant Management and has taught hospitality management college courses. Mr. Tufano has served as President of the Jacksonville Hotel/Motel Association and the Montgomery County, MD Convention and Visitors Bureau. He also served on the Board of Advisors for Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business – Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management and on numerous CVB and Chamber Boards.
Kokua Hospitality Team Members
Leslie is a 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry who brings multifaceted leadership in human resources, internal communications, and operations management. As the prior Senior Vice President, People & Culture for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and Vice President, People for Revolution Foods, her expertise includes employee relations, talent management, employee branding and communications, aligning emotional intelligence with business results, and culture-building practices. Leslie’s fluent Spanish-speaking skills are useful to convey meaningful messages to a diverse employee population. She is a collaborative, trusted leader valued for helping organizations understand the impact and importance of employee engagement and company culture.
Mr. LoBosco joined the Kokua Corporate team in January 2014 with more than 25 years of professional experience in the hospitality industry. Having served as Hotel General Manager at hotels in Annapolis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, James has experienced a variety of businesses and has a track record for developing strong teams and repositioning and transforming hotels. Both his management and life philosophy is based on fostering a positive environment and maintaining balance. James graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management and Restaurant/Institutional Management.
Mr. Bolf joined the Kokua team in 2007 and has more than 20 years of hotel management experience across a multitude of independent and branded hotels. He evaluates the revenue strategies and eCommerce marketing efforts in place at each hotel to ensure optimal profitability. Leading the charge of Kokua’s recently developed Revenue Management platform, Brian is focused on maintaining a true advantage above the competition that is both progressive and insightful with its approach to understanding market trends as well as customer behavior. Brian graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Finance and holds an A.A.S. Degree in Marketing.
Mr. Melvin joined Kokua with over 40 years of experience in the hotel industry, 32 of which were at Hyatt Corporation where he held positions of Vice President Hyatt Shared Services, Assistant Vice President of Hotel Accounting, Divisional Controller, Regional Controller, and Controller. Jim graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management.
Mr. Spencer joined the Kokua Corporate team in January 2014 with over 25 years in the hospitality industry. Clay began his career with Hyatt Hotel Corporation and worked a variety of positions in both the Rooms and Food & Beverage divisions in ten hotels throughout the United States. Clay has been Director of F&B at six different Hyatt Hotels, including the Hyatt Regency Chicago, which achieved nearly $70 million in F&B sales under his leadership.
Clay has worked as General Manager in three hotels, the most recent being the Allerton Hotel Chicago. During his tenure, the Allerton was voted one of the “Best Places to Work” by its associates and the Chicago Tribune. Clay was also nominated for “GM of the Year – Downtown Chicago” by the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association in 2011. Clay is a graduate of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.
Andrea Mue has more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She brings multifaceted experience in financial reporting, internal controls, efficient process design and owner relations. Prior to joining Chartres Lodging Group and Kokua Hospitality, Andrea spent 10 years at Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group rising to the role of Chief Financial Officer after holding multiple financial positions within Kimpton. While at Kimpton, she oversaw the hotel and ownership accounting teams, corporate finance, information technology and risk management. She also played a key role in the acquisition of Kimpton by Intercontinental Hotel Group in 2015.
Andrea started her career at Ernst & Young where she earned her CPA license. She is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BS in Business Economics with an emphasis in Accounting. Andrea is a member of the Financial Management Committee of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Andrea resides in Alameda with her husband and they stay busy with their three young kids.