The AM&HS team is assisted by the company's advisory board, a source of industry expertise and a key component contributing to our fundamental business practice of delivering individualized business
strategies and to our motto: "Excellence is not optional." The Board consists of renowned professionals
representing a number of disciplines critical to solutions we provide.
Robert H. Rippee
Senior Vice President of Marketing
The Venetian Las Vegas | The Palazzo Las Vegas
As senior vice president, Robert's role is to lead the marketing strategy for the
world's largest five-diamond hotels - The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas. His
multi-channel team designs and executes strategies for digital marketing, social
media, public relations, brand marketing, partnership/sponsorship, and loyalty and
Prior to joining the Venetian and The Palazzo, Robert led FORMO a digital and
event marketing firm based on Charleston, SC. He was also on the faculty of the
University of Georgia's prestigious Terry College of Business where he taught
Luxury Marketing to graduate students in the Terry College MBA Program.
Robert's background includes some of the most notable brands in the hospitality
and luxury sector including the Sea Island Company, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Company and many others. He is an active member and has been a speaker at
The Luxury Marketing Council, the CMO Club and the Luxury Society. He holds a
Master's degree from The University of Georgia's Terry College of Business and a BS
from the University of Wyoming.
Director of Customer Engagement
Mark Nitti is Director of Customer Engagement at Metrolink [Southern California Regional Railroad Authority] Headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
Metrolink is one of the largest commuter railroads in the nation running over 160 trains a day within 574 sq. miles and six Southern California Counties servicing over 43,000 people per day where Mark directs the Agency Sales, Marketing, Service and Communications departments.
Prior to joining Metrolink, Mark directed national, regional and on-property sales for leading hotel companies including The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, Marriott Corporation and Fiesta Americana where he held positions in both domestic and international markets specializing in luxury resort and upper tier hotel segments.
Supporting Mark’s sales and marketing career is a background in food and beverage management, and catering / convention services.
Through seeking continues improvement and as a contributing leader in the greater Los Angeles business community, Mark achieves success for his clients at Metrolink and his relationships throughout the hospitality industry. Mark is a member of MPI and Tactical Advisory committee for the La Costa Film Festival 2013 and 2015 Special Olympics Los Angeles.
Mark is a native Southern California and attended Orange Coast College and UCLA. He maintains an
active lifestyle of family, surfing and golf. Mark is married with two daughters and resides in Oceanside,
Sales, Marketing & Revenue Strategist
Hospitality / Travel / Meetings Industry
Tim wrote his first software code at age 16, won his high school science fair and earned a college
scholarship. He brings 30 years of experience in developing new revenue streams and creating
innovative solutions that deliver greater market share and profitability. During the start-up and early
growth years of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, he helped develop the 5-star brand's first revenue management
software while leading the company in group sales production. Tim implemented the first revenue
management systems and training for Le Meridien Hotels North America, and as opening year Director
of Marketing for The Mark NYC he led the innovative advertising, guerilla marketing tactics, and channel
strategies that took the the hotel from 85% to 120% of STR share within 4 months of adoption. As SVP
and Principal for the start-up of HelmsBriscoe - the world's largest meetings brokerage and conference
advisory firm - Tim created its high-growth business plan, market strategy and performance agreements,
and built HelmsBriscoe's first network of International sales offices. He has founded and sold two
companies in the hotel and meetings industries, created patents for two software solutions, won
the Kellogg MBA Alumni award for best new start-up, has opened 5 hotels, and has negotiated more
than $700 million in individual conference, convention, and incentive contracts. He serves as a hotel
and meetings industry speaker on issues relating to strategic meetings management, hospitality sales
strategy, pricing, marketing analytics, solution selling, group cancellation and attrition remedies, lead
generation, distribution channel optimization, and social media. Tim holds degrees from Washington
& Lee University in Politics & Economics and has won two USA Masters Athlete Silver Medals.
Director, Distribution Sales Support
Patricia Kerr, CMP, is a 18-year veteran in corporate meeting and conference management. She is a past member of the FICP Board of Directors, serving as its President in 2009. Patricia was named a "Changemaker" by Corporate Meetings & Incentives in both 2008 and 2009 and has served on the MPI Executive Advisory Council. As Director of Distribution Sales Support at Manulife Financial, she is accountable for all advisor reward, recognition, and loyalty programs, as well as project management services and sponsorships, including the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic and Meeting & Conference Management. Patricia's team manages in excess of 300 meetings, incentive conferences, and events annually in locations around the globe. She works out of Manulife's Canadian headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.
Vice President, Marketing & Advertising
Jeff is a 35 year veteran of the hospitality industry working in senior sales and marketing positions at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Walt Disney World Resort, Tishman Hotel Company, Kiawah Island, Saddlebrook Resort, Colonial Williamsburg and HelmsBriscoe.
In Jeff's capacity at 89 Degrees he is responsible for the hospitality division, where he brings his expertise in the marketing and sales of a wide variety luxury properties to his clients which benefit from his actual "hands on" experience and successes. Knowledgeable in all facets of domestic and international hospitality sales and marketing and coupled with 89 Degrees long pedigree of innovative and award winning marketing services to companies such as IKEA, Hyundai and Kia Automotive, Uno Chicago Eatery, Genzyme Pharmaceutical, World Vision and many others, Jeff offer's his clients critical thinking and cutting edge marketing programs that are designed to produce results, drive market share and provide an ROI.
Jeff's background and expertise complements the talents and experiences of the other advisory members of AMHS, who provide additional real world experience and resources to AMHS clients.
Christine Eme, CAE, CMP
Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma
Christine is a proven association management career professional of 25+ years and has been considered
an invaluable asset for several small to mid-size organizations beginning when she served as the
Administrative Director for the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association (IPMA). Christine’s work ethic and
administrative and management acumen, and meeting management skills are the cornerstones to her
successful growth and development.
In 2007 Christine was hired as Executive Director for the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma
(EAST), her current position. EAST is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization serving
more than 1,600 members. The EAST membership consists of trauma surgeons, emergency physicians,
trauma nurses, advanced practitioners, and other trauma team healthcare providers. The EAST Annual
Scientific Assembly attracts more than 700 attendees each year. Christine directs the planning and
coordination for the Annual meeting including contract negotiations, logistics, faculty management,
housing, and program development.
Christine is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), and a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). She is a
member of the Association Forum of Chicagoland and the American Society of Association Executives.
DAVID M. BRUDNEY, ISHC
PRINCIPAL, DAVID BRUDNEY & ASSOCIATES
FOUNDING MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF HOSPITALITY CONSULTANTS
CHARTER MEMBER, LAGUNA STRATEGIC ADVISORS
David M. Brudney, ISHC, principal and founder of David Brudney & Associates, a hospitality sales and
marketing consulting firm based in Carlsbad, CA, provides customized, professional sales and marketing
advisory services that include independent, fresh-set-of-eyes, operational audits, production and talent
assessments, sales training, mentoring, teaching and speaking.
David is engaged by hospitality owners, asset managers, and operators and destination marketing
organizations to render advice and counsel based on industry standard of care regarding positioning,
strategy, pricing, direct sales, e-marketing, occupancy, rate and total spend optimization. Notable
properties where David has provided these types of services include The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the
Westin Diplomat, Peabody Orlando, the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii, Visit Baltimore, Maryland
and Tourism Vancouver, B.C.
A hospitality veteran of 50 years, David is an established hospitality industry spokesman who has
been interviewed on Fox News and quoted on/in ABC News, the New York Times, Dow Jones/Market
Watch, the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Diego Union-Tribune. His columns on
hotels, meetings and events marketing appear monthly on Smith Travel research's Hotel News Now.
Organizations where David has instructed classes, lectured, and appeared as a featured speaker include
Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland, the Anderson School of Management/UCLA, the Irish Tourism
Board, COTELCO/the Colombia Hotel & Tourism Association, the Las Vegas Chapter, National Speakers
Association and HSMAI.
Prior to launching his consulting practice, David had a long and distinguished career with Hyatt, Westin
and Marriott. David directed the sales and marketing efforts for the Grand Hyatt San Francisco and the
Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago. He also served as V.P. Marketing with the Fred Harvey Company.
David is a founding member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants where he now serves
as marketing committee chair emeritus and has recently become a charter member of Laguna Strategic
Advisors. He earned a B.A. degree at San Francisco State University and currently sits on the school's
Broadcast and electronic communication Arts Advisory Board.
ROBERT J. DONOVAN
Senior Director, Meeting & Travel Services
American Hospital Association
Bob Donovan is senior director, meeting and travel services for the American Hospital
Association. The AHA is a not-for-profit association which provides representation and
advocacy on public policy, education, and information to its over 4,000 institutional and
approximately 50,000 personal members.
Formerly as AHA's vice president, meeting and travel services, Donovan was responsible
for contracting for more than 300 meetings and special events a year for the AHA and its 11
Personal Membership Groups, and managing the travel function of AHA staff and membership.
As senior director, Donovan's responsibilities include enhancing AHA relationships with
the hospitality community, providing support for AHA Board-related events, and special
Donovan is a past president of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)
and served on its board from 1990 - 1995. He also served as chairman of the PCMA Education
Foundation. He currently serves on the board of the Catholic Disability Foundation, the
President's Advisory Board of RML Specialty Hospital, as well as numerous hospitality industry
Donovan earned a degree in Industrial Relations from Xavier University in 1969. He and his
wife, Sara, reside in Hinsdale, IL and have three children, Tim, Mike, and Nellie.