Dec 15, 2018

HEE Conference

hospitality executive exchange

hospitality executive exchange

December 19th, 2018

Celebrating 10 years of conversations, Hospitality Executive Exchange (HEE) reached for new heights with a program filled with valuable content, networking and their core focus of face-to-face meetings, at the beautiful Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, Florida. HEE is a small but dynamic opportunity that brings together multi-unit, on-premise operators and select supplier partners to engage in conversations, cocktails and connections. The 10th anniversary lived up to everything a celebration should be, and more.

Jen Robinson, CEO/Duchess of The Pineapple Group and owner of HEE stated, “Our goal from the beginning was to create a program that would become a family of resources to allow for the exchange of ideas, insights and information. It is a very unique opportunity focusing on relationships in a very high-end, relaxed and productive atmosphere. Throughout the last decade, we have elevated the program through content, networking and our overall agenda. The 10th anniversary was a huge celebration in reaching a milestone and a stepping stone for the planning of the next decade.”

During the HEE 10th anniversary program, two awards were given. The Teddy Mac Award, which honors Teddy McAleer, former HEE Advisory Board Chairman and a shining beacon in the hospitality industry, was awarded to Stuart Melia. The other was the 2018 HEE Icon Award, which was awarded to Joe Smith. The Teddy Mac Award is given out every fall and the Icon Award is recognized every five years. Our two previous award winners, Beth Borkosky and Jimmy Skeadas, were present to give out the awards to the new recipients. The awards were given during the HEE Masquerade Dinner.

HEE had a program filled with engaging content that resonated with the participants. Tobin Ellis, BarMagic, led the general session on bar design. Mark Teasdale, CEO of Bigger & Leith, held an engaging “Gin is In” tasting, featuring Malfy Gin. Cayce Kerr headlined our morning breakfast chat, sharing life as a caddy for the world’s most famous golfers. Celia Waddington and Kim Gouch, Ignite Creative, tackled the toughest topic of the program, “The Good, The Bad and The Legal.” Our closing session focused on “The Corner Bar Theory in the Modern Era,” which was a panel of the best of the best: Philip Raimondo, Stoli Group USA; Matt Durbin, Durbin Consulting; Michael Stachura, Buffalo Wild Wings;  Aaron Salgado, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and The Brass Tap; and Tobin Ellis, BarMagic.

Another huge highlight of the 10th anniversary was our Caddyshack Cocktail Hour, featuring professional trick golfer, Trevor “Macho Man” Consavage and fabulous cocktails honoring the movie.  Celebrated mixologists Andrew Bateman, Straight up Solutions; Michael “Bumby” Bombard, Straight Up Solutions; and Kathy Casey, Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen, all lent their talents to creating some fantastic libations. Campari America held a fantastic “Live – Drink Italian” dinner and tasting, which was led by Italian brand ambassador, Daniel Warrilow.

Participants were also treated to Sip & Socialize by Breakthru Beverage, which featured an evening overlooking the Atlantic and chats with CEO Philip McDaniel of St. Augustine Distillery, along with a very creative take on “Build Your Own,” through the profile of flavors. HEE East was jam-packed with ideas, insights and information and definitely elevated the program to new heights.

HEE has cultivated a program that has become known as the premier event in the industry that truly focuses on real and relevant conversations to provide all participants with valued take-aways. The program has gained national recognition and planning is already underway for 2019.

For more information, please email Jen Robinson, or visit for information. #hee #jointheconversation


hospitality executive exchange

Top Left: Jimmy Skeadas, our previous HEE Icon Award winner, presents this year’s recipient, Joe Smith, with his 2018 HEE Icon Award. Top Right: Stuart Melia, our 2018 Teddy Mac Award recipient. Middle Left: One of the toughest topics of the HEE program engaged participants on “not legal vs. legal.” Middle Right: “Instagrammable cocktails” was a big topic of HEE with a featured presentation by the talented Kathy Casey. The hashtag #tokicapri was a big hit among the participants. Bottom Left: Stuart Robinson, Luxco; Jennifer Rubright, Carrabba’s; and Sara Downard, Luxco, enjoy the Masquerade Dinner. Bottom Right: Jen Robinson, CEO/Duchess, The Pineapple Group and owner of HEE, is all smiles as the 10th anniversary program gets underway with Ultimate Trivia.

hospitality executive exchange

hospitality executive exchange