THE BELLSTAR TEAM
At Bellstar, our corporate strength is derived from our team synergy. Our "Bellstars" bring diverse backgrounds, a wide range of expertise and a passion to perform that makes the organization what it is. We like to say "It's not the number of stars you have - it's how brightly you shine".
Ed Romanowski - Founder / President & Chief Executive Officer / Director
Ed's tourism and hospitality career spans over 35 years in government, management consulting, business start-ups, development, and operations. He founded Bellstar in 2003. Ed is an accomplished executive responsible for implementing hundreds of development, marketing, operations, financing, organization development, and planning projects for resorts, hotels and tourism projects principally in Alberta and British Columbia.
Ed led the development and management of the $75 million 226 unit Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa on Osoyoos Indian Band lands near Osoyoos, B.C. He is also in charge of the $30 million Spirit Ridge Residence Club Development adjacent to Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa. Spirit Ridge is Bellstar’s most acclaimed condo resort development. It is uniquely located in Canada's desert, next to Nk'Mip Cellars, vineyards, Sonora Dunes Golf Course, Canada's warmest lake and the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre. In its second year of operation, Spirit Ridge achieved a 4.5 Star Canada Select rating. Bellstar is currently developing and marketing over $250 million of resort units in three destinations.
Ed was the developer and founder of Waterton Lakes Lodge in Waterton Lakes National Park (sold in 2000), founder of Royal Tours in Alberta (sold in 1991), and the former Principal in charge of the Edmonton office of Pannell Kerr Forster Management Consultants. He left Pannell Kerr Forster in 1992 as Managing Principal (Canada).
During his management consulting career both as an independent and as a Manager/Principal of Pannell Kerr Forster, Ed was in charge of feasibility studies, valuations, financings and plans for resorts, hotels, attractions and tourism businesses throughout Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories in Canada. A good portion of these businesses were in smaller communities, on Indian Reserves, and in environmentally sensitive areas.
Ed was educated in planning, engineering, architecture, valuations and real estate development in Canada and the U.S. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts Honours (BA Honours) from the University of Winnipeg, and a Master of City Planning (MCP) from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba. Ed is also a Certified Management Consultant and a Member of the American Resort Developers Association and The Executive Committee.
Ed’s community and volunteer efforts include Director, Canadian Resort Development Association; Chair of the Tourism & Hospitality Industry Advisory Committee, Chair of the Academic & Research Committee and Member of the Management Advisory Council, Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary; past and current board positions at the Calgary French & International School, Edge School for Athletes, Certified Management Consultants of Alberta, and Community Planning Association of Canada – Alberta, mentoring university students, and coaching minor hockey teams. He makes several presentations each year to University students and industry organizations about project financing, resort development and marketing. In addition to developing resorts, Ed has served as the project manager for the development of the Calgary French & International School and the Edge School & Sports Complex near Calgary, Alberta.
Ed is a Shareholder and Director of Bellstar Group Inc., Bellstar Hotels & Resorts Ltd., Bellstar Developments Inc. & Bellstar Realty Inc.
Ralf Strub - President and Chief Operating Officer, Bellstar Hotels & Resorts
Ralf joined Bellstar in March of 2010. He has successfully lead the reorganization and turnaround of Bellstar’s operations and helping position Bellstar as one of the leading resort management companies in Canada.
Ralf was born and raised in Switzerland where he started his hospitality career. His early career history included management roles in food and beverage, sales and marketing and turn-arounds of hotels and resorts in Switzerland, Canada, Republic of Maldives, Austria, South Korea, Italy, Germany and Russia.
Immigrating to Canada in 2004, Ralf joined Prime Restaurants of Canada, implementing and executing the restructuring of the corporate division of restaurants as well as the re-positioning of the concepts. Promoted to Vice President of Western Canada in 2008, he relocated to Vancouver, where he took on the responsibility for the overall performance and development of the East Side Mario’s brand.
Ralf holds the highest award of quality management in the Swiss Tourism industry ‘2Q’, is a Swiss-trained Chef and his education includes a Master of Hospitality Management of S.H.V., Swiss Hotel Association, in Bern, Switzerland.
Patti Smith - Chief Financial Officer, Bellstar Group
Patti joined Bellstar in the summer of 2009 after she had established her own consulting company, Polar Peaks Services. One of her key successes with Polar Peaks included creating process and results to have a multi-million dollar real estate venture establish procedures to collect on over $13 million in receivables and defaults. Her career also included working with resort development power-player Intrawest Corporation as the Vice President, Strategic Alliances.
As a Chartered Accountant, Patti is responsible for working with the Executives to secure development and acquisition financing for both Bellstar Hotels & Resorts and Bellstar Developments. She also supports our key accounting team members to improve Bellstar’s bottom line results for all stakeholders. Her talents lay in focused financial leadership, process development and integration of resort real estate and operations. An avid downhill skier, coach and dedicated traveler, she volunteers with the Fernie Alpine Ski Team and Lake Louise Alpine World Cup Races in the Rockies, and spends summers with her family on the lake in Shuswap, B.C.
Rudy Tomazic - Vice-President, Real Estate, Bellstar Realty
Rudy Tomazic has over seventeen years of resort industry experience. He joined Bellstar to take charge of real estate sales and marketing in December 2012. A graduate of the Business Administration program at the University of Toronto, Rudy got his start in the resort industry with Shell Vacation Club and very quickly worked his way up. His last role there was as Director of Onsite Sales. During his time at Shell from 1996 to 2004, he developed an in-house staffed sales program and successfully implemented a re-load department where existing vacation owners were sold additional vacation time.
At Shell Vacation Club, Rudy was responsible for growing sales starting at $4.5 million in his first year with Shell to more than $30 million at one resort at the end of his time with Shell. He helped to open new offsite offices and was responsible for overseeing the construction, budgeting, hiring sales personnel, and training. In 2000, he helped create and design the SVC (Shell Vacation Club) Points Program, and then implemented the new program in the Canadian market.
Before joining Bellstar, Rudy was the VP of Sales & Marketing with the Sunchaser Vacation Villas project in Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C. At Sunchaser, Rudy was responsible for implementing a sales program that doubled monthly sales. He led his team in achieving sales of up to $750,000 in one month. Within the first 18 months of the program, the team lead by Rudy achieved sales of $3 million.
Rudy has three sons and lives in Invermere, B.C. and Calgary, Alberta. He spends his recreational time fishing, skiing, hiking and building custom cars.
Curt Jansen - Director of Real Estate Okanagan, Bellstar Realty
A graduate of the SAIT Hospitality Management Program Curt spent the early years of his career working in large corporate Hotels including The Westin and Delta Hotels in both Edmonton & Calgary. Venturing on his own, Curt enjoyed over 25 years of experience in franchising, licensing and sales. Curt brings a wealth of experience and entrepreneurial thinking to Bellstar. His career has seen him own & develop; a chain of 6 franchise restaurants, a sign manufacturing franchise, a food processing company, three fuel distributorships and two full service restaurants.
Since joining Bellstar in 2004, Curt has been responsible for more than $100 million in Resort Real Estate sales. His success is a tribute to his genuine desire to help people and his refreshing view on building long term relationships with honesty and integrity.
Ian Hirji - Director of Purchasing, Bellstar Group
Ian brings over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry to the Bellstar management team. Throughout his hospitality career, Ian has held several key managerial positions. Most recently he has held positions as Regional Buyer with Avendra, the purchasing division of Fairmont, Delta, Marriott and Hyatt Hotels. Ian brings a great deal of experience with service contracts, procurement, contract negotiations, market baskets, and transactional purchasing. Ian holds a degree from Dartmouth College in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and is currently working towards his designation in Purchasing through the University Of Calgary.
Donna Fahey - Director of Sales & Marketing, Bellstar Hotels & Resorts
Donna brings with her an extensive background in the tourism industry. She held the position of Sales Manager with Ultimate Resorts and Hotels prior to joining the Bellstar team. Prior to that Donna spent 10 years as Sales Manager with a luxury adventure tour company which was named by National Geographic as one of the top 200 "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” in 2009. She held the position of Operations Manager for a recreational facility for a number of years during which time her centre continually ranked as the top producer in North America. Donna’s educational background includes Travel and Tourism, S.A.I.T. and Recreation Facilities Management, Seneca College, Toronto.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dale Hodgson - Chairman of the Board / Director / Major Shareholder, Bellstar Group
Dale is a successful entrepreneur who, over the past 20 years, has developed extensive practical hands-on expertise in building successful businesses. In addition to his involvement in Bellstar, Dale has also owned and been involved in businesses related to the technology industry and the manufacturing and service industry. Dale is President, principal shareholder and key overall visionary for the Kokanee Springs Resort Club in Crawford Bay, B.C., a comprehensive destination resort community to be developed over the next 10 to 15 years around the Kokanee Springs Golf Course, which was established in 1968. The first phase of over 125 units including a new clubhouse started in 2008.
Since 2004, Dale has been a Director and major Shareholder of Bellstar Hotels & Resorts Ltd. and Bellstar Developments Inc. Dale's key business initiatives with Bellstar have included:
- Investment in and ongoing direction and financing of Bellstar
- Directing the restructuring of Bellstar's operations into two legal entities: one for management of resorts and the other for development
- Leadership in securing the financing for three resort developments and one major resort acquisition
- Coaching of Bellstar's President & CEO including guidance through explosive growth and dramatic changes
Through family land interests in Springbank, west of Calgary, Dale has been involved in two successful residential land developments, Country Estates and Allandale Estates.
In addition to being actively involved in the community, Dale serves on several other boards including Insight Limited Partnership and is currently Canadian Chairman of Christian Business Ministries Canada and Corpath Business Forums.
Donald J. Douglas – Director / Major Shareholder, Bellstar Group
Don's involvement in the real estate development and investment industry spans well over 20 years, including his current role at United Inc. (and its predecessor companies), where he has been serving as President for ten years. Don has been and continues to be, a director of numerous investment and management companies in Alberta, including Alsten Holdings Ltd., Titan Digital Corporation, and Bellstar. He has an MBA from the IMEDE Management Development Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland, in addition to his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta. Don is Past Chairman of the Board of the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, and is also a member of the World President's' Organization in Alberta. Don is a Shareholder and Director of Bellstar Hotels & Resorts Ltd. and Bellstar Developments Inc.
Dan Pigeon – Director, Bellstar Group
Dan is the CFO at Stagewest Hospitality. He is a senior finance professional with more than 20 years of leadership experience most recently focusing on strategic financial issues – strategic planning, capital structure and financing, enterprise-wide risk assessment and management. A strategically-oriented individual with well developed interpersonal and communication skills best suited to medium to large, growth oriented, international, companies. Prior to joining Stagewest, he held senior positions with Pengrowth Corporation, Fortis Alberta, TransAlta and Emco Corporation. Dan joined the Bellstar Board in June of 2012. He is also a director on the Board of Tourism Calgary. Dan is a Chartered Accountant and a graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario.
Ed Romanowski – Director / Major Shareholder, Bellstar Group – See above.
OTHER KEY SHAREHOLDERS
Howard Pechet – Major Shareholder, Bellstar Group
Howard has been involved in the development and operation of numerous hotels including Mayfield Inn in Edmonton, Medicine Hat Lodge in Medicine Hat, Alberta and Toronto's International Plaza Hotel and Stage West All-Suite Hotel. Howard and his father built the original Stage West Theatre Restaurant in Edmonton, and he remains active as the Executive Producer of numerous plays. His family founded the Canadian Western Bank, where Howard continues as a Founding Director. Howard is a Shareholder & Director of Bellstar Hotels & Resorts Ltd. and Bellstar Developments Inc.