Members of Maine’s tourism and hospitality industry are facing some monumental obstacles as they prepare for the upcoming season. Changes to Maine’s minimum wage law, the reduction of tip credits, and a tightening of visa programs make hiring for the 2017 tourism season a challenge. Also: how are Maine colleges preparing students for careers in the hospitality industry?

Our business editor Carol Coultas will moderate a panel of business owners on May 31 as we explore the issues confronting Maine’s $5 billion industry and how companies are dealing with them. We will hear from Greg Dugal, director of government affairs for the Maine Innkeepers and Maine Restaurant Associations, Ed Hodgdon, manager of Funtown Splashtown USA, Gerard Kiladjian, manager of the Portland Harbor Hotel, and Fayth Preyer, co-owner of Portland restaurant Woodford F&B.

RSVP required. Breakfast provided.

On the panel

MODERATOR: Carol Coultas, Business Editor

Greg Dugal, director of government affairs for Maine Innkeepers and Maine Restaurant Associations
Greg has been involved in the tourism and hospitality industry for almost 35 years, most notably at the Samoset Resort, where he held a variety of positions in his 16-year tenure including Food and Beverage Director and Director of Sales and Marketing. Dugal also served as the Executive Director of the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce. Dugal was most recently honored in 2009 to become a member of the Maine Tourism Association Hall of Fame and to receive the Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence in 2016.

Ed Hodgdon, manager of Funtown Splashtown USA
Ed has been employed at Funtown Splashtown USA continuously since 2001, and seasonally since 1998. He got his start in the business at age 16, selling individual ride tickets and all-day bracelets at the park. In 2006, Ed was appointed to the Board of Directors of the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. In 2011 he was appointed to the position of Association Secretary, handling day-to-day operations for the nation’s oldest attractions industry association.

Gerard Kiladjian, general manager of Hart Hotels’ Maine properties
Gerard Kiladjian served as the GM of the Portland Harbor Hotel from 2004 to 2014 before being named last year as the GM of all of Hart Hotels’ Maine properties, which include The Inn at Diamond Cove, Diamond’s Edge Restaurant and Marina, the Portland Harbor Hotel and its restaurant, and Eve’s at the Garden. Kiladjian was most recently General Manager at the Cliff House Resort & Spa in Ogunquit, ME. Kiladjian is a board member of the Piper Shores retirement community and President and Founder of the Armenian Cultural Association of Maine. He previously served as a board member of the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau, Portland Downtown and the city of Portland business advisory committee.

Fayth Preyer, co-owner of Woodford F&B
Fayth Preyer is co-owner of Woodford F&B, an 80-seater restaurant in Portland. Fayth has devoted her career to the hospitality and entertainment industry here in Maine and beyond, including New York and Washington, D.C. She has worked as the assistant general manager at Cafe Luxembourg in Manhattan and Bresca in Portland, the corporate trainer for D.C.-based Capital Restaurant Concepts, and assistant general manager for Portland’s State Theatre.

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