The MSARC 2018: Professional Development on the East Coast, USA

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Written By: Mark Pate Sr., CHAE, CHTP, MBA

I had the privilege last week of attending the 12th annual HFTP Mid-South Atlantic Regional Conference (MSARC) in Greenville, South Carolina. This is an annual regional conference that is put on by the HFTP Central Carolina, Charlotte-Blue Ridge, South Carolina and Central Virginia chapters, switching locations every year between each region. This was my second MSARC to attend, and it proved to be just as special as last year’s event in Raleigh, North Carolina. Greenville was a great setting for the conference and the Westin Poinsett a wonderful host for our group.

Downtown Greenville, South Carolina

After arriving on Thursday, I spent the afternoon touring the downtown Greenville area before the “Opening Reception & Sponsor” showcase that evening. What an honor to spend some time with our great sponsors, and to be able to thank them for making the conference possible.

Friday morning started bright and early, with breakfast and another sponsor showcase. Terry Price, CPA, CHAE, CHTP, principal owner at HFT Consulting Group and HFTP Global Past President served as moderator for the conference and welcomed everyone to Greenville. I was able to give an update on HFTP, highlighting our global activities, challenges from the past year and a look ahead to a very exciting 2018.

Ray Cronin, CEO of Club Benchmarking led an interesting session on how to determine a club’s true net worth, and how to plan for the future of your capital replacement assets. Kristen Cook with the South Carolina Treasurer’s office detailed the state’s unclaimed property program and how the hospitality industry should report/remit unclaimed items. Right before lunch, Matt Donovan, RPLU with Worldwide Facilities, LLC led an interesting session on cyber security insurance and how to manage cyber risks in hospitality.

After a fantastic lunch in the Westin Gold Room, Rendi Mann-Stadt — an attorney with Ward & Smith — gave the attendees updates on employment law including sexual harassment issues, tip pool “dos and don’ts,” and the best way to handle separation pay. Tom Cooper, PMP with the BrightHill Group was our keynote speaker and led a very interactive session titled “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” Tom gave us important principles on leadership and communication, how to help geeks communicate and the best ways to manage conflict. The attendees then enjoyed a reception with our sponsors before finishing the evening with a delicious meal and plenty of time to chat, network and catch up with old friends.

Saturday morning started a little later with the final sponsor showcase and a leisurely breakfast. In our first session, Jason Ligon, CFE with Elliott Davis brought the attendees up-to-date on trends and patterns related to fraud in the hospitality industry. The last session of the conference was a lively discussion on ethics led by Terry Price. Terry also gave the closing remarks and thanked everyone for attending the regional conference.

Hats off to the HFTP Central Carolina, Charlotte-Blue Ridge, South Carolina and Central Virginia chapters for producing an excellent regional conference that we will not soon forget. Victoria Schaefer, HFTP chapter relations coordinator, was also in attendance and answered many questions relating to chapter activities.

I am already looking forward to next year’s conference in Virginia. Hope to see you there!

Mark Pate Sr., CHAE, CHTP, MBA is an assistant controller & IT director at Highpointe Hotel Corporation. He is also the 2017–2018 HFTP Global Secretary. 

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