In addition to his university degrees, Mr. Tomaras holds the hospitality industry's highest professional designations: Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and Food Management Professional (FMP) from the National Restaurant Association. As a consultant, he has assisted five hotel development groups, three banks, and 70+ attorneys.
Mr. Tomaras managed hospitality enterprises for more than 25 years. He initiated the development and served as general manager of Champaign's Best Western Paradise Inn and Restaurant. He also served as president of Restaurant Concepts, Inc., a management/consulting firm operating food/beverage businesses in five cities. Along the way, he was named president of both the Illinois Innkeepers Association and the Illinois Restaurant Association.
From its announcement in 2002, through its design, construction, furnishing and equipping, to its August 2008 opening, Mr. Tomaras consulted the private developer, as well as University of Illinois officials, on the development of the I Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of the UI campus in Champaign. He trained senior staff in achieving total quality guest service.
From 1988 to 1990, Mr. Tomaras was hotel consultant to State Street Associates, a Champaign development company, and was executive vice-president of State Street Management. In 1990, he became General Manager of Champaign's first all-suite hotel, AmeriSuites (later renamed Radisson Suites, now Hawthorn Suites).
As a guest of the Hilton Hotels Division and of Hilton International, Mr. Tomaras examined behind-the-scenes operations at major hotels in Chicago, Washington, Barcelona, Paris, Athens, and Nicosia (Cyprus). He has also researched award-winning midscale hotels, and performed case studies of Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Hotels; the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, MI; the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, BC, Canada; and The Inn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN. The latter two are Relais & Chateaux properties.
In 1982, Mr. Tomaras began teaching in the Restaurant Management program at Parkland College in Champaign. In 1990 he developed and implemented the hotel management curriculum. He became Associate Professor, Program Director of Hospitality Management, in 1993. He twice won the Teaching Excellence Award from the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development. Mr. Tomaras taught nine different courses, including Hospitality Law, Front Office Management, Cost Controls, and Human Resources Management. He has presented educational seminars to hotel operators and employees on security, front desk operation, and managing human resources.
In 1999 his research paper, "Total Quality Service in Small North American Hotels: An Attainable Goal," was selected "Best Paper" from among 150+ international entries for presentation at the Council of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (CHRIE) Conference. The paper was later published in Praxis: The Journal of Applied Hospitality Management. He retired from Parkland in May 2000 after seven years as Associate Professor and Program Director, Hospitality Management. Under Mr. Tomaras' direction, Parkland's hospitality program earned international accreditation through CHRIE.
He published a guest column in Hotel & Motel Management, June 16, 2008, and contributed a feature article on optimizing the attorney-expert relationship in the October 2008, TRIAL magazine.
Peter T. Tomaras, MBA, CHA, FMP