Get to know the passionate individuals behind ARK Hospitality, dedicated to delivering exceptional experiences.
Chief Executive Officer
Azim Saju is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of ARK Hospitality.
Azim holds an economics degree from Davidson College and a law degree from the University of Florida. While at the University of Florida College of Law, Azim’s notable achievement was serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Journal of International Law. Prior to joining HDG Hotels, Azim Saju practiced law as a trial lawyer for over 9 years. He is a member of the Florida Bar and Federal Bar. Azim primarily practiced in the areas of employment law and civil rights cases.
Azim has been a member of the Choice Hotels Owners’ Council (CHOC) for over a
decade. In this capacity, he has served as the Director of the Florida Region and has also led various committees within CHOC, such as Sleep Inn, Quality Inn and Fair Franchising. He currently serves as the Immediate Past Chairman of CHOC.
In 2018 he was awarded the prestigious Gene Ammons Service Award for his leadership and service to CHOC and he is also the recipient of CHOC’s Premier Alliance Award.
Aaron Walker is President and co-founder of ARK Hospitality. Beginning at the age of sixteen with his first job in a family-owned hotel through today, Aaron has gained a lifetime of hospitality experience and is excited to bring that knowledge to ARK Hospitality and its clients. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in finance and economics, Aaron continued his hospitality journey with Marriott International serving in numerous property level management positions. He later joined Park Management Group and steadily rose in responsibility, serving as Director of Operations and Vice President, helping Park Management grow from 3 hotels to well over 150.
In 2012, Aaron joined Aimbridge Hospitality as a Vice President of Operations overseeing multiple brands across the United States. Aaron was instrumental in leading two of the fastest growing divisions within Aimbridge, the economy and economy-extended stay divisions, from their infancy of 16 hotels to over 120 properties. Results driven, Aaron prides himself on developing owner first relationships and has founded ARK Hospitality with that principle at its core; “Everything we do is to create value, build genuine long-lasting relationships, and help maximize returns for our owners”.
Aaron has had the privilege of serving on numerous national associations and is currently serving as Director of Region 2 on the Choice Hotels Ownership Council. He has also served as Vice Chairman and Secretary on the executive board within the CHOC association and for many years was a proud member of the Care Committee team at Aimbridge.
Chief Culture and Strategy
Lisa Lombardo is the Chief Culture and Strategy Officer for ARK Hospitality and President of its sister company Impact Hospitality, a development division of HDG Hotels. Lisa started her career in fund development for nonprofits. From there, she launched a nonprofit consulting business and helped a number of organizations raise their single largest gifts at that time. Coaching nonprofit boards of directors evolved to include for-profit leadership teams – guiding them through overhauls of mission statements, programming intentional culture and facilitating the development of strategic plans. She believes the first step toward progress is having clarity of purpose and is a self-professed “serial connector”.
Lisa has worked with nonprofits, financial institutions, construction companies, manufacturing, Broadway and other arts organizations, high-profile and televised sporting events, higher education institutions, entertainment, and hospitality. Along the way, she co-founded the Performing Arts Conservatory in her hometown as another way to give back to her community.
Lisa received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa. She serves on boards of directors and committees within the hospitality industry including, but not limited to, the Executive Committee of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, AHLA Human Resources Committee, International Franchise Forum Franchisee Forum, human and social services organizations, arts and culture, and her church. Lisa was recognized by Florida Trend magazine as “an executive making a mark” in the hotel industry.
Chief Development and Finance Officer
Billy is the chief development and finance officer for ARK Hospitality and its sister company Impact Hospitality, a development division of HDG Hotels. After several years in Jacksonville, Florida, he made his way back to Ocala and went to work in the banking industry.
In 2018, Billy decided to make a career switch. He is the chief development and finance officer. Billy is responsible for managing all new development, acquisitions, dispositions, accounting functions, lending relationships, insurance relationships, and assisting with shareholder relations. He is also involved in several community organizations including, being the President of the Ocala-Sunset Rotary Club, board member of the Marion County Literacy Council, and Chair of the Ocala Planning and Zoning Commission.
Billy is married to his beautiful wife, Cortnee, and is a proud father to his two daughters, Palmer and Payton.
Outside of work, Billy enjoys watching Gator sports, spending time with his family, is an avid fisherman, and enjoys the outdoors.
Chief Operating Officer
Jeff Bailey is the Chief Operating Officer for ARK Hospitality and its sister company Impact Hospitality, a development division of HDG Hotels. His hospitality career began more than 30 years ago in South Florida. Before joining HDG, Jeff worked at more than a dozen full-service hotels in six states and also owned two restaurants. He has experience with a number of hotel brands including Marriott, IHG, and Hilton. His accolades include General Manager of the Year, Most Improved Marriott in the World (for Guest Service and Overall Satisfaction), and Best Customer Experience for two consecutive years.
“Together, we’re stronger!” is a quote that has guided much of Jeff’s career. A leader within several community and state hotel associations, Jeff has been engaged in government relations and other efforts to help secure local tourism funds and lead various hotel leaders toward a common goal locally and beyond.
Jeff understands the importance of using his talents and experience to help the overall industry. Adept at developing talent, his past team members continue to be recognized in their respective communities in high-level positions. Jeff’s desire to develop others has extended to organizing hospitality management high school programs and finding ways to help introduce the hotel industry to organizations who focus their efforts on special needs individuals.
Chief Innovation and Systems Officer
Raymond Manaois is the chief innovations and systems officer for ARK Hospitality and its sister company Impact Hospitality, a development division of HDG Hotels. His main responsibility is the company’s information technology needs. When he is not analyzing complex data and transforming them into useful information, he is developing strategies that drive organizational and operational changes and promote efficiency and growth for the organization. Raymond also plays a pivotal role in opening new build hotels and acquisitions.
Before joining HDG Hotels in 2007, Raymond worked as an instructor at the University of the Philippines, Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management, and at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, where he taught courses in Hotel Information Technology, Cost Control and Analysis, and Rooms Division Management. Raymond attributes his extensive knowledge and skills in hospitality management to his first job at the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel Manila where he worked as an assistant IT manager after college. Raymond also worked as an assistant controller onboard the cruise ship Norwegian Sun, part of the Norwegian Cruise Lines. Raymond holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines.
Chief of Staff
Donna Arthur is the chief of staff for ARK Hospitality and its sister company Impact Hospitality, a development division of HDG Hotels. She has been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years! In 1998, she joined HDG Hotels as a housekeeper. Donna’s hard work, efficiency, and heart made her stand out. Her leadership resume covers the hospitality spectrum. Before her current role, she has served as head housekeeper, general manager, and regional director.
Regional Vice President
Dennis Sicher is a highly experienced hospitality professional with over 30 years of success in the industry.
With a strong background in customer service and operations management, Dennis has consistently delivered exceptional guest experiences throughout his career. Before hospitality, Dennis served in the Airforce where he developed valuable skills in leadership, teamwork, and attention to detail. His dedication to excellence and commitment to providing top-notch service have earned him a reputation for delivering results. Dennis’s extensive experience, combined with his military background, makes him a reliable and efficient professional in the hospitality field.
While Dennis uses many quotes, his favorite ones are “Control your controllables” and “Do it, do it right, and do it right now.”
In addition to his successful career, Dennis finds joy in his personal life. He is happily married to his wife, Tina. Together, they share a love for their grandchildren and spending quality time with them. Dennis and Tina also have a passion for travel – exploring new destinations and embracing different cultures. They particularly enjoy relaxing on the beach and occasionally embarking on a cruise to unwind and create lasting memories. This balance between work and personal life reflects Dennis’s ability to prioritize and find fulfillment in both professional and personal endeavors.
Director of People & Culture
Gabriela (Gabby) Seratt is the director of people and culture for ARK Hospitality and its sister company Impact Hospitality, a development division of HDG Hotels. She has been in the hospitality industry since 2009. She started her career with HDG Hotels in the housekeeping department in 2012. She worked in accounting for six years, and in 2018, she became the director of engagement. Now, as the director of people and culture, she oversees the payroll department, people operations (aka human resources), payroll, benefits, and internal engagement. Gabby holds a certificate in Human Resource Management. She is originally from Chile, South America – her story is inspiring.
Director of Revenue Management
Jackie Lambert is the director of revenue management for ARK Hospitality and its sister company Impact Hospitality, a development division of HDG Hotels. In 2010, she started with HDG as a breakfast attendant. By 2012, she had worked her way up to general manager. In 2017, Jackie graduated Magna Cum Laude from the College of Coastal Georgia with her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).
In her current role, she is responsible for overseeing HDG’s Revenue Management Department and ensuring HDG’s portfolio maximizes revenues. Jackie is Host Certified, has completed the Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics Program (CHIA), and is a Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager (CHRM).
She also plays a key role in investor relations and new property acquisitions. Jackie is passionate about revenue management, expanding her knowledge, and growing her team.
Director of Accounting
Rose-Lyn Gallagher (Rosie) is originally from a small town in the Philippines. There she got her Bachelor’s in Tourism at Polytechnic University. Before moving to the United States, Rosie worked at Allegro Pacific as an offsite manufacturing supervisor for 7 years. After her big move, she studied Accounting at Rasmussen University – earning a certificate with a 4.0 GPA.
In 2015, Rosie joined HDG Hotels as an accounting manager for three hotels. Shortly after, she began managing ten hotels. In 2018, she became HDG’s director of accounting – overseeing the accounting department in the U.S., the remote accounting office in the Philippines, and ARK Hospitality.
Director of Operations
Tyler Pitman joins ARK Hospitality as a director of operations. With over 8 years of experience leading branded extended stays and select service hotels, he is now responsible for the overall financial and operational performance of numerous branded hotels throughout the United States. Tyler is committed to cultivating a positive and supportive culture that empowers his teams to excel. His leadership is characterized by effective communication, strategic thinking, and the ability to inspire and motivate others. Tyler leads by example, displaying integrity, adaptability, and a results-driven mindset.
Prior to joining ARK, Tyler served as a regional director of operations at Aimbridge Hospitality – overseeing select service and extended stay hotels across the US with expertise in Marriott, IHG, Wyndham, Choice, and Extended Stay brands. He has a proven track record in operations, sales, revenue strategy, new hotel openings, receiverships, conversions, and transitions.
Task Force General Manager
Paula Cendrowski is a seasoned professional with an impressive 35-year career in the hospitality industry. She began her journey as a housekeeper – diligently working her way up through the ranks. With her dedication and expertise, Paula transitioned into roles such as auditor, day shift manager, assistant general manager, and general manager. Currently, she holds the esteemed position of task force general manager with ARK Hospitality.
Paula’s extensive experience spans various hotel brands, making her a versatile and well-rounded professional. Her background in accounting provides a strong foundation in financial management within the industry. Additionally, Paula holds a certification in ServSafe, demonstrating her commitment to upholding high standards of food safety and sanitation.
With her wealth of knowledge and diverse skill set, Paula is well-equipped to handle the challenges and demands of the hospitality industry. Her expertise in hotel operations makes her a valuable asset.
In her spare time, Paula finds solace and joy in her 450-acre family farm. This expansive piece of land allows her to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the countryside. In addition to her love of the farm, Paula has a deep affinity for hunting and fishing. These outdoor activities provide a sense of adventure and relaxation, allowing her to unwind and recharge.
Director of Facilities Management
Jeffery Marshall started his hospitality journey in 1985 at a small midwestern hotel chain called Signature Inn – where he stayed for 19 years. At the time, Jeffery’s extensive experience ranged from guest host to housekeeping and maintenance. In 2004, when new management came in and the hotel became a Jameson Inn, he became the regional director of maintenance. Then in 2012, Jeffery became a traveling maintenance tech for PMG Hotels. Shortly after, Aimbridge Hospitality took over and he became a task force engineer. Today, Jeffery is ARK Hospitality’s director of facilities management.
Task Force Sales Manager
Tracy Cavazos has been in the hospitality industry since 1999. Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, but resides in Round Rock, Texas. Tracy began her career as a catering sales assistant with Omni Hotels. There, she learned the importance of providing excellent customer service! She has experience working with several brands, such as IHG, Choice, Marriott, and Hilton.
Tracy also worked at the Corpus Christi CVB for 8 years. There she gained experience by being willing to learn and work in several different capacities – one of those being special events! Tracy organized elaborate events from start to finish.
Now she has joined ARK Hospitality as a task force sales manager.
Tracy is a proud mother of three with a fur baby named Toby. In her spare time, Tracy enjoys gardening, thrifting, traveling within Texas, and attending concerts.