Drew Sayes – Executive Chef

- filed under Meet The Staff.

500.750.IMG_7743rIn 2007, Drew Sayes, The Townsend Hotel’s executive chef since December 2012, earned the title of youngest ever executive chef with his then employer, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.  During his tenure with Ritz Carlton, Sayes’ served at various property locations throughout the U.S., including Dearborn, Mich., Marina del Rey, Calif., New Orleans, La. and Buckhead, Ga.  Just prior to joining The Townsend team, Sayes most recently served as executive chef at the prestigious Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

So how did Sayes get so far up the “food chain” so quickly?  “Arrive early, stay late, be humble and clean!” he advises.  He also encourages young up-and-coming chefs to never take any experience for granted.  “Everything you see, touch, smell, taste and experience makes you a stronger culinarian.”

Sayes, who has had the privilege of working for some of the luxury dining industry’s best American chefs in classic foodie cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans and Atlanta, brings to The Townsend a focus on local, sustainable, fresh, quality, and most importantly, approachable foods.

“Fine dining doesn’t have to mean pretentious dining,” says Sayes.  “I want diners at The Rugby Grille to fully enjoy the sights, smells and delicious tastes of our menu, not be intimidated or overwhelmed by it.  This is simple yet delectable food prepared with passion and integrity.”

A native of the metro Detroit area, Chef Sayes received his formal training at the Culinary Studies Institute located at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Mich.  In August 2012, he became a Certified Executive Chef through the American Culinary Federation.

 

Steven Kalczynski – Managing Director

- filed under Meet The Staff.

Executive Portrait

In September 2012, hospitality industry veteran, Steven Kalczynski, was appointed the new managing director of The Townsend Hotel, bringing to his post more than 30 years of experience in domestic and international luxury property management.

A results-focused executive with a proven track record in successful operations management, Kalczynski is committed to maintaining The Townsend’s traditions of unparalleled customer service and four-star experiences throughout the property.

Prior to taking on the responsibility of managing operations for The Townsend Hotel, some of Kalczynski’s career highlights include a decade with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, where he held leadership positions as the general manager of the exclusive Ballantyne Resort & Spa in Charlotte, N.C. and the St. Regis Century Hotel in Los Angeles.  As the GM of Ballantyne Resort, Kalczynski earned Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ prestigious “Tiffany Award” for highest overall quality scores in North America for all St. Regis and Luxury Collection properties.

Additionally, Kalczynski has significant international experience, having served with Peninsula Hotels in Beijing, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts in Mumbai, India and, most recently, as the general manager of the Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel in Doha, Qatar.

In January 2015, Kalczynski was appointed to his first term on the Board of Directors for the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce.  He also currently serves on the Advisory Parking Committee for the City of Birmingham, which provides guidance to City Commissioners on the management of Birmingham’s Auto Parking System and parking in general in the city’s Central Business District.

After completing his undergraduate work at Northeastern University in Boston, Kalczynski earned his M.B.A. degree in international business and marketing from Rutgers University in New Jersey.  A native of Shrewsbury, Mass., Kalczynski and his wife, parents to two grown children, now reside in Birmingham.

Adrienne Cousins – Business Travel Sales Manager

- filed under Meet The Staff.

500.545.AU5Adrienne Cousins, The Townsend Hotel’s business travel sales manager, is so good at her chosen profession, she was given an award by a company even AFTER she no longer worked there!

Cousins was part of the team that received the first-ever “CEO’s Award for Innovation” from Hyatt Hotels, even though by then she had moved on to join The Townsend team.  During her tenure with Hyatt, Cousins also received two Manager of the Quarter Awards (2009 and 2011) and Manager of the Year for 2011.

With The Townsend since 2012, Cousins – who has a diverse hospitality background in everything from front desk operations to housekeeping to VIP management to guest services – is responsible for connecting with local and national businesses to establish relationships and negotiate corporate rate structures.  Cousins credits her varied background as a key to her success.  “Understanding the internal workings of a hotel cannot be understated when your main job duty is to attract new business.”

When asked for any other career secrets to success, Cousins shared this bit of trailblazing advice: “Break boundaries.  Just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.  This industry allows you the opportunity to continuously evolve and reinvent…take advantage.”

A resident of Troy, Mich., Cousins graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration and a specialization in Hospitality Management.

Jason Hawkins – Director of Front Office Operations

- filed under Meet The Staff.

500.745.Jason Hawkins 1

Jason Hawkins, The Townsend Hotel’s director of front office operations since January 2012, would encourage any recent graduate following in his career footsteps to never fear trying new things.  A Michigan State University graduate with a degree in hospitality business, Hawkins owes his variety of professional experiences to his willingness to step outside of his comfort zone.  “You have to keep an open mind,” says Hawkins.  That open mind has led Hawkins to job experiences in limited service, extended stay, full-service and luxury hotels; and everything from housekeeping to operations to group arrival/departures to VIP management.

In his current role, Hawkins is responsible for management of all aspects of guest services, including front desk, reservations, bellmen, concierge and valet staff.  He also is the lead point of contact for all in-house guests.  Prior to joining The Townsend, Hawkins served as task force general manager for American Hospitality Management Inc., traveling the Midwest region on several assignments.

A resident of Grosse Pointe Woods, Hawkins also serves as his MSU’s graduating class liaison for the Evans Scholars.

Nick Bassil – Rugby Grille Manager

- filed under Meet The Staff.

Nick Bassil - Rugby Grille Manager

 

Nick Bassil, manager of the Rugby Grille, The Townsend Hotel’s award-winning fine-dining restaurant, is what many might label a jack-of-all-trades…whether you need a suggested wine pairing for your entrée, tips on customer satisfaction or even your bicycle repaired, Mr. Bassil is your man!

As Rugby Grille manager, Bassil is responsible for recruitment, training and management of the restaurant’s front-of-house staff, as well as ensuring exemplary levels of guest service and customer satisfaction.  He was promoted to the Rugby Grille position in October 2014, after joining The Townsend as concierge in 2011, then being promoted to front office supervisor in 2013.

Prior to joining The Townsend team, Bassil honed his sales and customer service skills with Verizon Wireless, which followed his first job as a sales and service technician with Macomb Bike and Fitness.

A lifelong Michigander and current resident of Clinton Twp., Mich., Bassil earned his bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management from Madonna University in Livonia, Mich. and an associate’s degree of culinary arts from Macomb Culinary Institute in Clinton Twp.

Outside of the restaurant, Bassil is an avid snowboarder and enjoys cycling, hunting and motorsports, as well as cooking and entertaining, of course.  A singer and former DJ, Bassil also counts music among his many passions.