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Tales from the Front Lines: Hospitality Industry Learnings from Covid-19

  • Tuesday, October 06, 2020
  • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
  • Zoom Meeting - Code Prior to Session
  • 3

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Please join us for this important on-line seminar, FREE to SCHA Members:


Tales from the Front Lines:

Hospitality Industry Learnings from Covid-19


We are thrilled to present an outstanding group of local industry leaders from lodging, dining, winery, and attractions to share what’s working – and not working -- and how they have adapted their business in these challenging times.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

from 10:00 -11:30 AM via Zoom.

Panelists will discuss their own experiences through the year so far in areas of guest and employee safety, marketing, adjustments to business model, and booking/cancellation policies. Through sharing best practices and/or any pitfalls they may have encountered, the goal of this workshop is to inspire and support one another as we navigate these challenging times as a hospitality community. 

Our esteemed panel will include:

Joe Bartolomei, Managing Partner, Farmhouse Inn

For five generations, Joe Bartolomei’s family has called Sonoma County’s famed Russian River Valley their home. Today, Joe and his sister still farm the same land where the antique apple trees thrive and the original zinfandel grapes have been replanted to pinot noir. Joe earned his B.S. in Structural Mechanical Engineering at UC San Diego and worked in the construction industry designing and managing large projects for ten years before purchasing the Farmhouse. Upon purchase, Joe oversaw multiple renovations and expansions transforming the Farmhouse from an underperforming B&B to a world-class destination resort. Today, the Farmhouse is recognized as one of California’s top luxury hotels and has been distinguished by national and international media.


Sonia Byck-Barwick, Co-Owner, Paradise Ridge Winery

Born and raised in Sonoma County, Sonia has dedicated the past 27 years to hospitality and winery management. After graduating from Sacramento State University, Sonia began her career at the historic Madrona Manor Inn in Healdsburg. Her time there gave her the experience needed to help launch her family’s winery, Paradise Ridge, in 1994. With a growing love for hospitality, Sonia enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley Extension, earning a certificate in Hospitality Management. After returning from a 2-year world wine tour, in 1998 Sonia took a Marketing position at Blackstone Winery. Sonia was soon promoted to Marketing Director and helped grow the brand to over 600,000 cases before it was sold in 2001. In 2002, Sonia returned to Paradise Ridge to help manage her family business. Recently Sonia oversaw the rebuild of the winery’s Tasting Room and Events Venue, which was destroyed in the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

Percy Brandon, General Manager, 

Vintners Resort/John Ash & Co.

Percy Brandon, General Manager of Vintners Resort, has over 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry.  His philosophy can be summarized as a desire and intention to provide a memorable, enjoyable experience for all guests.  Percy believes there is no substitute for genuine, gracious hospitality in the restaurant and hotel business. Guest’s expectations must be exceeded. Percy “Celebrates Everything”.A native of Lima, Peru, his love for traveling brought him to Vancouver, British Columbia on a break from college.  Percy fell in love with the city and discovered the wonderful world of restaurants, which led to making fine dining and hospitality his life’s profession. Percy came to California in 1990 to join the newly reopened Palace Hotel in San Francisco and became manager of the Garden Court Restaurant. Percy then moved to Yountville to become the General Manager of the Napa Valley Grille.  In 2000 Percy joined the Ferrari-Carano family by becoming General Manager of Vintners Inn and John Ash & Company (now Vintners Resort).


Keo Hornbostel, Executive Director of Safari West

Born and raised in Colorado, Keo Hornbostel earned a Premedical Biology degree at Hastings College. Following some soul-searching, he transitioned over to business and the pursuit of a Master's Degree from the University of Denver. Like most students, Keo found himself in need of money and thus on the hunt for a job. This led him to his first job in a hotel and the industry that would become his home for the next 25 years. As his career advanced, Keo explored the world, operating hotels and resorts throughout the Hawaiian islands and Caribbean. In 2005, Keo and his family finally put down roots in Sonoma County where they've remained ever since. Keo currently serves as the Executive Director of the Safari West Wildlife Preserve, a landmark of Sonoma County. Alongside this work, Keo continues to share his knowledge and experience through volunteer engagements with organizations including the Boards of Sonoma County Tourism, Visit Santa Rosa, the Work force Development Board, and the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber. Keo's family includes his wife Gillian and a son, currently hard as work in his junior year at the University of Colorado at boulder. In such spare time as he has these days, Keo enjoys fishing, golfing, as well as heading out with Gillian to enjoy all that Sonoma County has to offer.


A.J. Ward - Sales and Marketing Manager, Sonoma Zipline Adventures (formerly Sonoma Canopy Tours)

A.J. Ward graduated from Missouri Western State University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. He started his career as a zipline tour guide at Sonoma Canopy Tours in 2010, and instantly fell in love with the aerial adventure park industry. Since 2012 A.J. has been training zipline guides and challenge course facilitators all over the U.S. as well as participating in the construction of several high-end adventure courses including the Drop Tower at Jackson Hole and the Skyway Zipline Tour at Heavenly Resort. In 2017 A.J. returned to Sonoma Canopy Tours to take on the role of sales and marketing manager.

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No industry has been impacted by this pandemic as much as hospitality and tourism, and as we have learned with other recent disasters in Sonoma County, sticking together and supporting one another is important to ensure that the industry comes out the other side, more dynamic, resilient and successful than before.

Mark your calendar and register HERE for this important workshop presented by SCHA. There is no cost to attend, but advance registration is required.

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