Meet the People
Board of Directors
Pretty Awesome People
Mr. Wankawala co-founded The Wankawala Organization (TWO) in 2005 with his son Mihir Wankawala. Mr. Wankawala responsibility is to oversee hotel operating strategy and performance. He is also responsible for financial administration and audit compliance for all the properties. Prior to starting TWO, he was involved in owning an independent 20 room motel which he bought in 1993 while practicing law at his law firm in India. He still manages his law firm with other advocates.
Mr. Wankawala is graduate of South Gujarat University in India with degree in Bachelor of Law, LLB Advocate with concentration in taxation.
Venkateshwaran Raja is a real estate investment professional with over thirty years of institutional investment management experience. He has a superior track record in investment performance that spans several market cycles. He founded Ayer Capital Advisors, Inc. in 1998 and provided investment management services to major institutional clients – New York State Common Retirement Fund, RREEF – Deutsche Bank real estate investment group, GMAC Institutional Advisors, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He is currently an Independent Advisor to Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies Group. Prior to Ayer, Mr. Raja worked for over 18 years at Equitable Real Estate Investment Management Inc. He founded the Capital Markets Group at the firm and was a pioneer in commercial mortgage securitization. He was a Portfolio Manager of Separate and pooled accounts for corporate and public pension funds. He served on the Board of Directors of Equitable Real Estate’s Capital Markets and Merchant Banking subsidiaries and Hines Corporate Properties. He has completed over $3 billion in real estate transactions.
Raja has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Mihir Wankawala – CEO & Founder
Mr. Wankawala founded the Wankawala Organization (TWO) in 2005 with the acquisition of its first property in Carlisle, PA. Mr. Wankawala specializes in making value-added, opportunistic investment in the lodging and hospitality real estate sector. As Chief Executive Officer, he provides overall strategic guidance for hotel operations as well oversees investment criteria for new acquisitions. He is responsible for acquisitions, market and investment analysis, brand positioning, and joint ventures. Prior to co-founding TWO, he worked at Verizon Communications as an accountant in their Philadelphia office where he handled all aspects and accounting functions. Graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia with Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with concentration in accounting.
Lifetime member of Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)
Tara Ditt Betz, CHA – Vice President of Hotel Operations
Tara has the direct responsibility of maximizing the value at each property by providing in-depth operational strategies, sales and revenue generation and asset management. In addition, she coordinates the renovation projects that are slated for each hotel. Tara works with the Regional Director of Hotel Operations and the Regional Director of Construction & Maintenance to ensuremaximum profitability in The Wankawala Organization’s growing portfolio of hotels. She has experience and broad knowledge of the hotel industry have spent over 30 years in full service convention hotels and focus service properties.
Tara is currently serving on the Regional Advisory Board for the Choice Hotels Owners Council and is the current chair of the Reginal Co-Op Marketing Committee. She is a Past Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau. Tara is the recipient of the Central Penn Business Journal’s Top Forty Under 40 Award; Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau Heart and Soul Award and Service Award; National Multiple Sclerosis Society Leadership Award. Tara is a graduate of Central Pennsylvania College with a degree in hotel/restaurant management with a minor in travel and tourism. She has earned the coveted Certified Hotel Administration (CHA) designation from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.
RODERICK “RICK” FERREE – TASK FORCE MANAGER
Roderick “Rick” Ferree is our Task Force Manager. Rick is responsible for the training of our general managers and team members. In addition, he performs various audits at our hotels. Rick is responsible for the overall performance of each hotel, ensuring that all brand standards are met within each brand.
Rick brings to the table over 35 years of Task Force/Hotel Management and Multi Unit Experience. He has worked with numerous management companies and hotel brands including, independent hotels. Rick has held various Hotel positions from Night Auditor to Vice President. He has gone through new hotel construction and openings to PIP renovations. He has taken Hotels from the brink of bankruptcy to high performing in both Guest Satisfaction, Employee Satisfaction and Profitability.
Rick holds a BS in Accounting from York College of PA and is a Certified Hotel Administrator through the American Hotel Lodging Association.
Aziz Chakouk – Corporate Controller
Aziz has been with the Wankawala Organization for more than six years. He has accumulated a mix of financial & operations management experience and more than eight years of technology management & consulting background. He is responsible for direct supervision of all accounting and financial functions of the corporate reporting. Aziz’s other responsibilities include supervision of the monthly close process, monthly, quarterly and annual financial reporting to lenders & investors. Other duties that Aziz takes care of are supervising of monthly & quarterly reporting, monthly, quarterly and annual preparation of a reforecast, annual preparation of a budget, assist in the preparation of quarterly tax projections and annual tax return preparation and all treasury administration.
Chad Havens – Regional Director of Hotel Construction & Maintenance
Chad is tasked with overseeing the construction/renovation projects and the overall maintenance of The Wankawala Organization’s growing portfolios of hotels. He ensures that construction and renovation projects are being completed to spec and the deadlines are met. He is responsible for ensuring the brand standards are followed and the work being completed is done accurately and with the proper craftmanship. Chad provides operational, procedural and structural support to each hotel’s Chief Engineer to control costs and ensure the hotel’s maintenance department is performing with maximum profitability. He is tasked with ensuring each hotel has an ongoing preventive maintenance plan in place for all guest rooms and mechanicals. In addition, he works with the General Manager at each hotel to secure the best possible pricing for projects that must be outsourced.
Chad joins The Wankawala Organization after spending many years in retail overseeing construction and maintenance operations and managing big box home improvement stores. He is the sole proprietor of a successful construction and home renovation business. Chad brings to the Organization over 25 years of construction and renovation experience.
Derek Davis – Food & Beverage Director
Derek started his culinary career at the age of 12 working at a sandwich shop owned by a family friend. He studied culinary arts and restaurant management in college. Derek went on a whirlwind apprenticeship working for some of the finest chefs in the nation at the time, from Gilbert LeCoze at LeBernardin and GeoffryZakarian at Le Cirque and Gerard Panguad in New York, to Jean Louis Palladin in D.C. Derek has also traveled extensively through the world's wine regions and has even worked in multiple wineries, form picking grapes right on up to working on the bottling line. This lifetime of experience has made him into one of the leading chefs and restaurateurs of the Philadelphia region. Derek has trained and mentored countless chefs and managers along the way and his imprint can be found in just about every corner of the area. He was one of the very first practicing what they now call ‘farm to table” and organics. It is simple common sense cookery to him. The most seasonal, local, and uncomplicated foods is what he loves to offer and the vivid colors and full flavors is what turns him on.
Asghar Kasim – Director of Human Resources
Asghar earned his bachelor’s in Economics from Rutgers University. His vital roles with the organization include implementing human resources strategies by establishing department accountabilities, including talent acquisition, staffing, employment processing, compensation, health and 401K benefits, training and development, records management, safety and health, succession planning, employee relations and retention. Asghar Develops human resources operations financial strategies by estimating, forecasting, and anticipating requirements, trends, and variances; aligning monetary resources; developing action plans; measuring and analyzing results; initiating corrective actions and minimizing the impact of variances.
Tifany Cooper – Director of Design and Construction
Tiffany Cooper is the Principle Designer of the Wankawala Organization in addition to the owner of Muse Design Inc. Tiffany brings to the table over 12 years of hospitality design experience and involvement with 80 plus hotel projects. She is very passionate and dedicated to the overall designs of renovation and new construction projects that the organization is undertaking. She understands that hospitality design requires passion and a strong dedication to the overall project.
In her current role with The Wankawala Organization, Tiffany works with the brand’s design team to implement design concepts that meet the brand criteria, are creative, practical and cost effective. She conducts market research to ensure that the brand design will review well with the guest. Tiffany is involved in each step of the process from working to get the best prices on quality products to ensuring the deliveries arrive in a logical order for the installation.
Jyotshna Tibile – Senior Staff Accountant
Jyotshna's roles in the office are assisting with the budget planning, preparing and submitting tax forms and maintaining financial databases and spreadsheets. She also maintains the office services by organizing the operations and procedures; auditing payroll; controlling correspondence; designing filing systems; reviewing and approving supply requisitions; assigning and monitoring general managers functions. She keeps management informed by reviewing and analyzing special reports; summarizing information; identifying trends.
Jyotsna, joined the Wankawala Organization January 2018 from Barclays Bank PCL Mumbai-India, where she worked as senior credit analyst for 8 years. She is a CA & CPA with a Bachelor degree in Commerce from University of Mumbai.
Mittal Patel – Staff Accountant
Mittal is responsible for processing, preparing and recording invoices and vendor bills. She also assists and supports the account payable department in preparing and maintaining accounts receivable and accounts payable records. She verifies, ascertains and determines the correctness of invoices.
Mittal joined the Wankawala Organization March 2018. She previously worked as a credit collection analyst for Maxwell Corporation of America. She has a Master’s in finance & human resource from Middlesex University.
Tina Johhannsen – Bookkeeper
Tina is responsible for handling the fundamental aspects of a the company’s financial recordkeeping, including recording financial transactions, managing accounts payable and receivable, pay bills and maintain ledgers.