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Face-to-Face with Arne Sorenson

On Tuesday, July 13, Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Marriott International, Inc. visited Gensler’s DC office for a “Face-to-Face” discussion with Doug Fruehling, editor of the Washington Business Journal (WBJ). The event was part of a series co-hosted by WBJ and Gensler, and more than 100 members of the hospitality, design, consulting, and real estate industries were in attendance. During the discussion Arne shared some of his unique life experiences and career influences, and expressed optimism for industry recovery. This is the fifth Face-to-Face event that we’ve had and these sessions continue to draw a diverse audience.

Arne commented that 2010 has been better for the hospitality industry than we anticipated – we’re back in a recovery and growth mode, rather than the free-fall that we all experienced in late 2008 and 2009. International markets are definitely a major focus for industry growth, and we heard Arne reiterate that Asia is a big piece of that. We’re excited to be working with Marriott and their array of brands on multiple overseas properties right now. Currently, China, Singapore, Thailand and India are offering unique opportunities for Gensler for hospitality, mixed use and architectural development projects. I’ve had a chance to visit India and Asian destinations multiple time this year for work and I continue to be amazed at the growth and opportunities that these locations have underway.

Marriott continues to be a great partner for Gensler, working with us on projects like the recently completed Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences and JW Marriott at L.A. LIVE. We gain a tremendous amount of inspiration from leaders like Arne. As co-chair of Marriott’s green council, Arne emphasized that every part of their business needs to be engaged in sustainability in order to be successful – a principle that we firmly believe as well and practice on a daily basis here at Gensler.

Finally, it was great to hear Arne discuss Marriott’s nurturing culture of opportunity for its employees, another tenet that we value highly here at Gensler. We’re fortunate that both of our companies are guided by strong, open-minded yet firmly-grounded leaders who built their names around a passion for building great relationships, and at Gensler we’re thrilled to include our relationship with Marriott among them.

To read the Washington Business Journal’s coverage of this Face-to-Face event, click here (subscription required).

Jordan Goldstein is a principal and managing director in Gensler’s Washington DC office, leading award-winning projects in mixed use, hospitality, retail, education and brand strategy. Jordan is a registered architect in five states, a LEED accredited professional, and was named as one of the “40-Under-40” national industry leaders in Building Design & Construction magazine in 2007. Contact him at jordan_goldstein@gensler.com.

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