2020 Short Course Recap

The 75th Annual Short Course and the 14th Annual Advanced Short Course hosted the “superstars” of our industry from January 6–10, 2020, at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management in Houston.

This one-of a-kind, all-in-one hospitality training event – recognized by the International Society of Hotel Association Executives – proved once again to be the “Best Educational Program” in the nation for those students handpicked by their hotel management to attend.

Students at Short Course are split into three different team-building color groups. At the end of the week, one individual from each group is named “Outstanding Student” based on votes by their peers, final test grades and class participation. The three Outstanding Students from the 2020 Short Course were:

Rosa Martinez, Front Desk Agent, Hotel Emma, San Antonio

Shay Wheeler, Assistant Manager, Four Seasons Houston

Greta Barsun, Accounting Clerk, The Historic Menger Hotel, San Antonio

From this distinguished list, one student was awarded the Dr. James Taylor Outstanding Student Award. Dr. Taylor taught Short Course and inspired our students for an amazing 47 consecutive years! This year’s Dr. James Taylor Outstanding Student Award recipient was Greta Barsun, Accounting Clerk at The Historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio, TX.

Anita Smith, Revenue Manager at the Hilton Americas Houston, earned the Top Scoring Student Award.


Each year, THLA challenges Texas hotel companies to send ten or more of their top employees to Short Course. THLA thanks the following companies who met our 2019 Corporate Challenge and supported this incredible event:

Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Hotel Emma

Marriott Hotels

Omni Hotels & Resorts

San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association


The week was filled with programs on virtually every major facet of hotel operations, from hotel law to sales and marketing to housekeeping and human trafficking. Each topic was presented by hospitality figures of international reputation. THLA is grateful to our esteemed instructors who support this unique event – thank you so much!

Justin Bragiel, General Counsel, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, Austin

Cathy Cheatham, Instructional Assistant Professor, Conrad N. Hilton College of HRM, Houston

Steve Cunningham, General Manager, Hilton University of Houston, Houston

Mary Dawson, Assistant Dean, Conrad N. Hilton College of HRM, Houston

Agnes DeFranco, Professor & Distinguished Chair, U of H/Conrad N. Hilton College of HRM, Houston

Erin Goodell, CHE, Assistant Professor, Conrad N. Hilton College of HRM, Houston

Doug Horn, General Manager, Houstonian Estates, Houston

Scott Joslove, President and CEO, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, Austin

Craig Krause, Owner, Direct Development Training, Georgetown

Mel Kleiman, President, Humetrics, Inc., Houston

Juan Madera, Assistant Professor, Conrad N. Hilton College of HRM, Houston

Carolyn McCall-Squires, Director of Membership, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, Austin

Melissa Manske, MHM, Conrad N. Hilton College of HRM, Houston

Karen McCullough, Speaker, Karen McCullough & Company, Houston

Cindy Novotny, Master Connection Associates, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Garvin O’Neil, Professor of Practice-Hospitality & Retail Management, Texas Tech University

David Rivera, Ph.D., Freytag Professor, Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL

Maggie Rosa, General Manager, C. Baldwin, Curio Collection by Hilton, Houston

Steve Rudner, Attorney at Law, Rudner Law Offices, Dallas

Christy Spradling, Associate Director of Membership, Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, Austin


THLA thanks the following local hotel associations for providing scholarships to the annual Short Course and for realizing that this experience not only enhances a student’s career, but also benefits other employees and the hotel where the student returns to work. Short Course scholarships were provided by:

El Paso Hotel & Motel Association

Greater Corpus Christi Hospitality Association

Hotel Association of Tarrant County

Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston

San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association


• Our Short Course 2020 Chairman: Fred Domenick, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center

• Hilton University of Houston

Short Course Sponsors

Landry’s Inc.


We would like to give our sincere thanks to all of the Short Course and Advanced Short Course students, speakers and sponsors for making this year such a success! Save the date for the 76

76th Annual Short Course, January 11-15, 2021.

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