Josh Cushing of Pownal has been promoted from general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn of Freeport to regional manager for parent company Emerald Hospitality Associates.

Cushing, who has been general manager for six years, will oversee hotel operations in Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Michigan. The Freeport hotel’s new general manager is Adrienne Patenaude.

A native of Strafford, N.H., Cushing began his career in hospitality with a local catering company owned by a cousin and eventually started working at The Port Inn in Portsmouth.

“The experience I had with these two companies motivated me to pursue a career in the hospitality industry so I moved to Burlington, Vt., where I attended Champlain College,” he said. “I earned my associate’s degree in restaurant management and continued on to receive my bachelor’s degree in hospitality industry management. I worked through college at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel and the Residence Inn Williston, Vt.”

Cushing, 34, met his wife, Liselle, who is originally from Freeport, in Burlington while she was studying at the University of Vermont. In the spring of 2005, the Cushings relocated to Freeport to be closer to her family, and he joined the opening management team of the Hilton Garden Inn as the guest service manager.

“For the past 11 years, we have settled nicely in Maine, living in Freeport, Yarmouth and now Pownal for the last five years,” Cushing said. “Family is very important to me, and over the last three years, Liselle and I have welcomed our son, Finley, as well as our daughter, Coraline.”

Cushing talked about his career for the Tri-Town Weekly.

Q: How has your experience as general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn prepared you for this new position?

A: Our Hilton Garden Inn Freeport is a highly performing and award-winning hotel in every way. Over the last six years as I held the general manager position, I gained extensive knowledge with regard to the brand and how to leverage Hilton’s strength to achieve top performance for both the hotel and for myself and my career. I always want to be learning and growing. The success of the Hilton Garden Inn Freeport and for me personally is credited to my team there and their willingness to never settle for the second best. I have tried to foster a positive culture that inspires our team to be the best they can be every day, and this trickles down to our guests and the experience we create while staying in Freeport. A strong leader is such because of the team they surround themselves with. Learning this lesson and going through this process over the years as I held various general manager positions at our hotels has prepared me to be able to support other hotels and general managers to develop this culture in their hotels to reach consistent peak performance.

Q: The Hilton Garden Inn is a centerpiece of Freeport’s social scene, hosting major events for such groups at the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce and FreeportUSA. How does that involvement with the community help the hotel?

A: Community involvement at any hotel is vital. You have to have local support and develop a following, especially when it comes to events. Our relationships with FreeportUSA and the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce are vital to make that connection to our community and other community partners. Our Freeport hotel does not just survive on out-of-town leisure business – that is just one piece of the pie. The Freeport Hilton Garden Inn performs at such a high level because we know we have to have a base of business throughout the year. This comes from our local community as we host corporate and social events, corporate clients traveling weekly to work in the area, as well as guests coming to visit family in the area. We become their home away from home and our community truly supports this effort every day. Hosting events like Flavors of Freeport and others we hold at the Hilton Garden Inn Freeport is vital because it draws our community in and allows them to see what our guests see daily. We need them as partners to promote our hotel through word of mouth. This allows us to build very strong loyalty at every level.

Q: What makes Freeport a good location for the Hilton Garden Inn?

A: Freeport has such loyal guests who return year after year for the small coastal Maine village experience that no other town can provide. In addition to this, Freeport is central to so many great Maine attractions. Guests make Freeport their hub for their visit and partake in what we have to offer here, but then also take day trips to see the rest of Maine. Our downtown location in Freeport is perfect as our guests can park once and walk everywhere in the village. This is so beneficial for overnight guests, as well as guests attending events with us.

Q: Where you be located in your new position? Will you still be spending time in Freeport?

A: Being in a regional support role, I will be working from my home office some, as well as working out of all of the hotels I now support. My work location will depend on which hotel I am supporting on a given day. I will be spending time every week in Freeport while I support our new general manager, Adrienne Patenaude, and her incredible team.

Q: So what are your new responsibilities?

A: I am responsible for all aspects of the hotels that I am assigned to support, operating to maximize sales, guest satisfaction, associate satisfaction and profit. I will support my hotels through the general manager and director of sales at each location, as well as engage the department managers to achieve expected results. I will monitor results daily through (profit-and-loss) review, guest feedback via surveys and reviews, as well as quality assurance inspections and provide feedback on performance and offer best practices to achieve consistent top performance. I will assist the general managers in marketing, sales, revenue and cost containment strategies as necessary to achieve profitability indictors. Basically, I will be the go-to person for our general managers to provide the daily support needed to operate in the hotel industry as we know it today while reporting back to our vice president.

Q: How much traveling will you be doing? Will your family remain in Pownal?

A: I will be traveling approximately half of the time; however, this is depending upon the needs of the hotels I now support. Our corporate office for Emerald Hospitality is based in Westlake, Ohio. I am very lucky that my family and I will remain in Pownal.

Josh Cushing of Pownal is the new regional manager for Emerald Hospitality Associates, which operates the Hilton Garden Inn of Freeport.

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