Kokua Hospitality Leadership Team
Robert D. Kline, CEO and Co-founder of The Chartres Lodging Group, is a 30+ year veteran of the lodging industry and a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. He has led over $12.0 billion in transactions and is a pioneer in the development of asset management practices. Prior to forming Kokua Hospitality and Chartres Lodging, Rob founded the Lodging Business for Lend Lease Real Estate Investments and was the founding Head of Acquisitions for Strategic Hotel Capital. Rob is also a Founding Director of the Hotel Asset Management Association and serves on several Boards including AHLEF, Cornell Dean’s Advisory Board, and Cornell’s Center for Real Estate and Finance.
Maki Nakamura Bara, President and Co-founder of The Chartres Lodging Group, is a leading expert in redeveloping and repositioning luxury resorts, urban hotels, convention hotels and conference centers. Her expertise has involved over $800 million of renovation initiatives with The Chartres Lodging Group. 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 companies, Maki was recognized as the top “40 Under 40” by M&A Advisor. She also received the “Best Executive” Stevie Award for Women in business and was named a “Woman of Influence” in commercial real estate by Real Estate Southern California magazine. 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, the hospitality industry’s leading consulting firm. Ms. Bara is a graduate of UCLA, fluent in Japanese and has extensive hospitality industry experience throughout the United States and Japan.
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 & 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 including sales, marketing & human resources. Prior to Kokua, Tufano spent 21 years working for Global Hyatt Corporation at 12 locations in the United States and Caribbean. He has been General Manager of several Hyatt Hotels with experience working at luxury resorts, suburban, urban and convention hotels. Mr. Tufano’s experience includes: opening, renovating, repositioning and re-flagging Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, Radison, IHG, Choice and boutique independent hotels. Prior to Hyatt, he worked for ITT Sheraton in New York City. A graduate of the Farleigh Dickinson University School of Hotel & Restaurant Management, Tufano has taught hospitality management classes at the college level. He has served as past board member of convention and visitor bureaus throughout the country, past president of the North Florida Hotel and Lodging Association and sat on the Hospitality and Tourism Management Board of Advisors at the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg.
Kokua Hospitality Team Members
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.
Teri joined the organization in October 2017 bringing with her 25 years of Operational and Human Resources experience in the hospitality industry. She has a very strong HR acumen with a background in transitions and acquisitions, compensation, employee benefits programs, employee and labor relations, and legal compliance. Her experience includes senior management positions with Renaissance Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants and Viceroy Hotels. Teri graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. She is also an active member of the Society for HR Management and holds her Senior Professional in Human Resources accreditation.