CHASEN CAPITAL ADVISORS
Jon R. Simon, has a long and accomplished background in the hotel and vacation ownership industries where he has advised some of the largest U.S. investment funds, hospitality and gaming companies and high net worth individuals.
Mr. Simon started his career at KPMG where he was elected to the partnership at the age of 31, making him the youngest full equity partner in the United States. At KPMG he headed the firm’s hospitality and real estate consulting practice for the Southeast US, Latin America and the Caribbean focusing on hotels, mixed use resorts and shared ownership. He also served as a national acquisitions partner serving senior roles in some of the largest hospitality industry acquisitions.
In 1997, Mr. Simon was recruited by Starwood Capital to be CEO of WorldStar Resorts, a hospitality investment company dedicated to the Vacation Ownership Industry. In that capacity, Mr. Simon quickly grew the company from a start-up to over $100 million in annual revenues and 250 employees by the end of its first full year of operations.
After leaving Starwood, Mr. Simon was one of the 5 founding principals of a late stage private equity fund oriented to the hospitality industry where he also assumed the role of Chief Investment Officer. In his first full year, Mr. Simon oversaw the underwriting and closing of over $200 million of direct investments, representing over $600 million of asset value.
Mr. Simon graduated from the University of Florida, Magna Cum Laude, with a degree in Quantitative Methods for Business from the School of Finance in the College of Business. He was previously or is currently a member of the Urban Land Institute, the American Hotel and Motel Association, American Resort Development Association, where he was a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Finance Committee. He is a Founder and Young President of Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. Mr. Simon is a regular speaker at the NYU Hotel Industry Conference and the American Lodging Investment Summit based in California. He has authored numerous articles on the hospitality and vacation ownership industries, and recently published an article on the vacation ownership industry for Institutional Investor.
Mr. Watzka is a senior partner of Chasen Capital Advisors, LLC and has been President of Customer Solutions Group since 2011, a company specializing in providing customized client solutions for the vacation ownership and resort real estate industry. Mr. Watzka’s sales and marketing background in resort industries has crossed a multitude of product types and he has achieved a strong track record of success in geographies from Asia, Hawaii, the US, the Caribbean and Europe. Previously, Mr. Watzka was with Marriott International from 1990 – 2011. He served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of theRitz-Carlton Development Company, LLC. Responsible since 2008 for the overall business performance, initiatives and offerings of the luxury industry’s leading Ritz-Carlton Destination Club and Ritz-Carlton Residences. Peter also served as the Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales, Service, and Operationsfor Marriott Vacation Club International (MVCI) from 1997 – 2011.
In his role at MVCI, Mr. Watzka was responsible for all customer contact processes. These processes involved over 10,000 associates, generated over $2 Billion in revenues and serviced 400,000 owners for the company’s four Brands – Horizons; Marriott Vacation Club; Grand Residences by Marriott; and The Ritz Carlton Destination Club and Residences. Peter had global responsibility with projects and operations in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
He began in the resort real estate industry in 1972 with Boise Cascade Corporation in their recreational communities division. Mr. Watzka later became Vice President of the Byrne Corporation, a Hilton Head Island resort developer from 1976-1984, and then as President of Performance Marketing Group, a marketing and sales organization specializing in resort and residential real estate based in Newport, Rhode Island from 1984 – 1990. Mr. Watzka earned a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Cornell University in 1971. He received All-American honors in baseball and was inducted into the Cornell Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. Peter also serves on the National Advisory Board for Arnold Palmer Hospital, the Psi Upsilon Fraternity Board of Advisors and as a member of the Cornell Alumni Ambassador.