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Leadership Team

Phillip H McNeill, Jr

Phillip H McNeill, Jr

Executive Chairman of McNeill Investment Group

Phillip McNeill, Jr serves as Executive Chairman of McNeill Investment Group.  Previously he was CEO of McNeill Hotel Company which he founded in 2014. He was formerly Executive Vice President of Equity Inns, a publicly traded (NYSE) Real Estate Investment Trust, involved in growing the company from 8 hotels valued at $40 million to a portfolio of 138 hotels which was sold to a real estate fund of Goldman Sachs for $2.2 billion. He has held senior executive positions in the hospitality group of Goldman Sachs and Pillar Hotel and Resorts. Mr. McNeill has over 30 years of experience in real estate development, management and construction across various asset classes. He recently served on the Marriott Courtyard Design and Construction Committee formed to reimage the Courtyard guestroom.

Mark Ricketts

Mark Ricketts

Chief Culture Officer, McNeill Hotel Company

Mark Ricketts most recently served as Chief Culture Officer until his passing on November 2, 2022. McNeill Hotel Company was fortunate to have Mark Ricketts serve as President and COO at its founding until June of 2022. Prior to joining McNeill Hotel Company, Mr. Ricketts spent the previous seven years serving as Vice President in the Realty Management Division for Goldman Sachs in Irving, TX. In his capacity, Ricketts provided hotel asset management oversight for a portfolio of over 300 properties, spanning 10 brands and 27 flags. Mark spent nearly 35 years in the hotel industry. He previously worked as Vice President of Asset Management for Equity Inns, Inc., a publicly traded Hotel REIT based in Germantown, TN. Prior to Equity Inns, Mr. Ricketts served as the Vice President of Hotel Operations for Memphis, TN based MASTER Hospitality Services. In his role, the company received the prestigious “Partnership Circle Award” from Marriott International. Mr. Ricketts was named to serve on the Hilton Home 2 Suites Owner Advisory Council (OAC). In addition, Mark served on the Hampton Brand Operations Council and was a member of the Hyatt Place Operations Advisory Committee. Ricketts served on the Board of Directors for both the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association from 2000-2008.

Chris Ropko

Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer of McNeill Investment Group

Christopher Ropko is the Chief Executive Officer of McNeill Investment Group where he is responsible for the oversight and overall growth strategy of the Company including its owned real estate portfolio, sponsored investment vehicles and operating Company subsidiaries, principal of which is McNeill Hotel Company.  In his previous role as Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Ropko successfully positioned the Company’s balance sheet to thrive during the Pandemic period and lead all capital structuring efforts, growing the Company’s overall assets under management (AUM) from $270 million to over $475 million in under four years.
Prior to joining McNeill in 2018, Mr. Ropko served as Managing Director at RobertDouglas, where he focused on structuring and raising debt and equity capital in excess of $2.5 billion for lodging and specialty leisure properties, portfolios and companies throughout the Americas.  Immediately prior to RobertDouglas, Mr. Ropko was a Portfolio Manager and Commercial Real Estate Specialist at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO).  While at PIMCO, Mr. Ropko sourced and executed investment opportunities across the entirely of PIMCO’s fund families involving CMBS, performing, sub- and non-performing loan portfolios, mezzanine loans, preferred equity and direct equity investments secured by all major property types, including hospitality assets.  Prior to joining PIMCO, Mr. Ropko held roles at Goldman Sachs in the Real Estate Principal Investment Area focused on acquisitions and asset management almost exclusively in the hospitality sector on behalf of the Whitehall series of private equity funds.  Mr. Ropko is actively involved in the local Memphis community volunteering his time as a youth football and track & field coach. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Tom Burdi

Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer McNeill Investment Group

Tom has over 30 years of leadership and experience in portfolio and asset management, debt and equity investments, acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and investor relations. Most recently he served as Head of Asset Management for the office and industrial group at L & B Realty Advisors.  Prior to that, Tom worked for several private equity firms including Senior Vice President of Hotel Asset Management at Goldman Sachs where he was responsible for 211 select service hotels with a value in excess of $2.3B.  He was hired by The Blackstone Group to serve as the Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Extended Stay Hotels to focus on the recapitalization and subsequent disposition of the company and also performed acquisitions for La Quinta Inns & Suites.  Additional roles include executive positions in asset management and finance with Equity Office Properties, JER Partners and Heitman/JMB Institutional Realty Corporation.  Tom holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Denver and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Sussan P. Harshbarger

Managing Director, CLO of McNeill Investment Group

Sussan P. Harshbarger is the Chief Legal Officer for the McNeill Investment Group entities where she provides not only legal analysis, but also counsel and guidance with respect to business matters including expansion, acquisitions, contract negotiation, transactions, business development, corporate governance, compliance, and dispute resolution.

With over 30 years of experience and expertise, Sussan has been counsel to the McNeill family of companies since their beginning. Even before officially becoming a member of the team, Sussan has been working with the McNeill Executive Leadership Team on capital raises, acquisitions, financing, structuring, development, and real estate activities.  As an equity partner of a regional firm, Sussan was a leader in the firm’s commercial real estate & lending service team.  She worked on multiple transactions and further developed her experience in the field of mergers & acquisitions, banking, and finance. Sussan has also served as corporate in-house counsel managing significant growth phases and as general counsel for a bank/ mortgage company.
Raised in a multi-cultural environment, Sussan is fluent in North American culture and can speak, read, write, and think fluently in Spanish and English. A native of Mexico City, Mexico, she grew up in several US cities before calling Memphis home. Sussan is happiest when she is traveling or in the middle of a transaction.

Travis Murray

President, McNeill Hotel Company

Travis Murray serves as President of McNeill Hotel Company. Mr. Murray joins McNeill Hotel Company with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality field.  Prior to joining McNeill Hotel Company, he spent 14 years with Marriott International in numerous roles including General Manager, Dual General Manager and Corporate General Manager Specialist.  His start in the hospitality industry was with Wyndham Hotels in Los Angeles.  During his time with Wyndham Hotels, he held several Controller positions and was a Senior Sales Manager.  Mr. Murray has extensive experience in functioning as a strategic business leader with responsibility for sustaining sales and marketing strategy, managing profitability, managing revenue generation, managing and conducting human resources activities, and delivering a return on investment for more than one property. He is a graduate of Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Hospitality focused on finance.

Larry Mills

Executive Vice President, Finance

Larry Mills serves as Senior Vice President of Accounting for McNeill Hotel Company.  Larry joined the company after gaining over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, beginning with 13 years with Holiday Inns and followed by 23 years as Senior Vice President – Controller for Davidson Hotels and Resorts.  At Holiday Inns, he was responsible for the accounting and reporting for all domestic owned and managed hotels for Holiday Inns and Hampton Inns.  Taking that experience to Davidson in 1991, he managed all accounting and reporting aspects as the company grew from 12 hotels to 46 hotels during his tenure.  He graduated from Memphis State University (now University of Memphis) with a  B.B.A in Accounting and became a Certified Public Accountant during his years at Holiday Inns.

Brent McDowell

Executive Vice President, Business Development

Mr. McDowell joins McNeill Hotels after serving as Vice President of Pillar Hotels & Resorts Construction. In this role, he provided direction for a team of 4 project managers and was responsible for the strategic capital planning and execution of capital expenditures for a portfolio of over 300 hotels encompassing brands from 10 hotel brands. This team executed capital projects averaging $80 million dollars per year with scopes ranging from emergency capital items to change of ownership PIPs and cyclical renovations. Mr. McDowell also worked with Pillar Hotels and Resorts in the role of Regional Director of Operations overseeing the day-to-day operations of multiple units consisting of Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt select service brands. Prior to joining Pillar Hotels & Resorts, Mr. McDowell served as Asset Manager in the Realty Management Division for Goldman Sachs providing oversight for nearly 100 properties across multiple brands largely made up of Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt flags. Mr. McDowell has been in the hospitality industry since 1993. While the roles over those 22 years are many, the focus of his efforts was largely related to the Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Management aspects of hotels ranging from suburban select service hotels to large, full-service destination/convention hotels.


Lindsey Chang

Executive Vice President, Investments

Lindsey joins McNeill Hotel Company after serving as Senior Vice President at RobertDouglas, where she provided capital solutions through debt and equity structuring and investment sales for a wide spectrum of hospitality assets. Prior to joining RobertDouglas, she spent two years working as an underwriter in Wells Fargo Bank’s Hospitality Finance Group, where she underwrote hotels for over $1.5Bn in loan proceeds for refinancing, repositioning, new construction, and note acquisitions. Lindsey holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.


Valerie Chabot

Vice President of Accounting

Valerie Chabot is the Vice President of Hotel Accounting for McNeill Hotel Company. Valerie joined the company after working in various roles in the commercial real estate industry for 30 years. Prior to McNeill, Valerie worked for Kimco Realty as the Director of PF&A for the southern region which had over 200 properties. In this position she was responsible for lease administration and managing the accounting and finance teams.  She worked closely with asset management and the regional president. She also worked for American Asset Company and Highwoods Properties which are both located in North Carolina. Valerie graduated from Bryant College (now Bryant University) in Rhode Island with B.S. in Accounting.

Valerie Bolton

Executive Vice President, Human Resources

Valerie Bolton comes to McNeill Hotel Company with 11 years of hospitality HR experience. Prior to joining McNeill Hotel Company, Valerie was the Director of Recruiting/Human Resources manager for Bowlmor-AMF where she lead a team of 7. Previous to that, Valerie managed the recruiting efforts of over 100 hotels for Pillar Hotels and Resorts. Valerie graduated from University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While attending UNT, Valerie began working at a counseling clinic and realized her talent for helping individuals pursue and achieve their goals. After 5 years of working in the counseling field she transitioned from counseling to recruiting.


Kim Knop

Kim Knop

Vice President - Sales & Marketing

Kim serves as Vice President of Sales & Marketing for McNeill Hotels. Kim joins McNeill with over 30 years of hotel experience in various aspects of Sales and Marketing. She began as a Sales Manager for multiple hotels with Marriott International before joining MASTER Hospitality (a Memphis, TN based hotel and ownership company) as a Regional Director Sales for their four Memphis/Germantown area hotels. Kim moved to Chartwell Hospitality as a Cluster Director of Sales and recently served as an Area Director of Sales for Interstate Hotels & Resorts. During her illustrious career, Kim has been recognized as having the “Sales Team of the Year” on two separate occasions by Marriott International while winning “Director of Sales of the Year” for Chartwell and was recognized this past year by Interstate Hotels as recipient of the “Sales Excellence Award – Top Sales Performer”.

Kim has been an active member of the various communities that she has worked. During her hospitality career, Ms. Knop has served on the Board of Directors for the Germantown TN Chamber of Commerce, the Southaven MS Chamber of Commerce and the Desoto County MS Economic Council. Kim recently served as a Board Member of the Germantown TN Great Hall and Conference Center Commission. She served on the Board for the Mid South Area Business Travel Association (BTA) in 2015.


Jennifer Driscoll

Vice President - Revenue Management

Jennifer serves as Vice President of Revenue Management for McNeill Hotels. Jennifer joins McNeill with over 27 years of experience in the hospitality field. After graduating from Florida State University with a degree in Hospitality Administration, she joined the Hilton Orlando/Almonte Springs. During her time at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs, she held several Management positions. In addition, Jennifer worked as Revenue Manager with both the Holiday Inn Select Orlando Airport and the Embassy Suites Orlando Airport. In 2004, she joined the Embassy Suites Brand Regional Revenue team in Hilton’s Memphis corporate office, assisting both corporate and franchise hotels to achieve optimal mixes and revenues. Jennifer then joined Hilton‘s Hampton Brand team, as Director of Revenue Management in 2007. She and her team were responsible for strategic guidance and RM support for ten years. Jennifer led all Revenue Management initiatives at Hampton while driving performance to achieve optimal revenues and share. Jennifer was instrumental in rolling out OnQ R&I, RMCC, multiple BAR levels as well as Hilton’s GRO (Global Revenue Optimization) system.  In addition to supporting Hilton’s largest brand, Hampton, Jennifer played a key role in the development of Revenue Management support and strategic direction for Hilton’s newest brand, Tru by Hilton.


Jason Ward

Vice President, Asset Management

Jason is responsible for the oversight and execution of acquisition and disposition activity as well as executing on capitalization strategies.  Prior to joining McNeill Hotel Company, he served as Vice President at McNeill Commercial Real Estate focusing on the development of hospitality and commercial properties.  He also worked on securing debt and equity capital for the various projects. Prior to working with McNeill Commercial Real Estate, he spent several years in the banking industry. Jason graduated from Millsaps College with a B.A. in History in 1995. He later received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1999 and his Master of Business Administration in 2000 from Mississippi College School of Law and Business.
Mark Layne

Mark M. Layne, CPA

Chief Accounting Officer

Mr. Layne has worked with the hospitality industry in various capacities since 1986. He began his career with Deloitte Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte & Touche) in 1984. While there he served Phillip H. McNeill, Sr who had started McNeill Sullivan Hospitality Corporation which managed hotels throughout the southeast. Mr. Layne worked closely with Equity Inns LP as the company went public in February of 1994 and served the Company until it sold to a Goldman Sachs affiliate in 2008. He was the managing partner of Crain and Company, CPAs until 2004 when he left public practice and started Layne Capital Management and Consulting, Inc. He has served as President of the Tennessee Society of CPAs and was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Business Administration in 1982 and later received his Masters of Accountancy from the University of Tennessee in 1984.

Scott Norris

Regional Director of Sales

Scott Norris serves as Regional Director of Sales. He joins McNeill Hotel Company with over 37 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to joining McNeill Hotel Company, he spent 15 years with Benson's Hospitality Group located in Athens GA as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.  Scott has worked for numerous hotel organizations including Davidson Hotels, Interstate Hotels, and Marriott International. He enjoys developing sales processes that assist in additional revenue capture and that provide long term relationships with key customers.


Matt McAtee

Regional Director of Operations

Matt McAtee serves as a Regional Director of Operations with McNeill Hotel Company.  Matt was hired in 2018 as the General Manager of the Homewood Suites located in Carmel, Indiana.  During his time in Carmel, Matt was promoted to Area GM, where he oversaw day to day operations for 5 hotels.  Prior to Carmel, Matt led the Homewood Suites Bloomington, Indiana team to drive sales and guest service scores, resulting in him being inducted into the Homewood Suites by Hilton MVP program. Matt has always had a heart and passion for hospitality management in the hotel space. He started his career as a bellman and quickly advanced due to his dedication to driving profitability, delivering a great guest experience, and putting his people first. Matt holds a degree in Hospitality Management from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Jesse Kremer

Regional Director of Operations

Jesse Kremer joins McNeill Hotel Company with more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry.  Jesse graduated from American Institute of Commerce in Davenport, Iowa and studied Hotel/Restaurant Management.  While in college he began working in the hotel industry and gradually moved his way up, accepting a Task Force Manager position for Tharaldson Enterprises after graduating.  Within the year, Jesse accepted his first General Manager position at a former Comfort Inn in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he managed for a couple of years before moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota to manage the Fairfield Inn by Marriott located at the Mall of America.  One year later he was promoted to Regional Director and moved back to Iowa where he over saw the Eastern Iowa region for Tharaldson.  Jesse continued working as Regional Director of Operations for Tharaldson which later transitioned into TMI Hospitality and was then purchased by Aimbridge.  In 2019 Jesse went to work for Hawkeye Hotels, again as a Regional Director of Operations.
Jesse has also been an involved community member.  He served as Chair of his local Catholic school, Sacred Heart, for 5 years.  Jesse has also been a member of the Monticello Athletic Boosters for the last 13 years where he and his wife oversee concessions.  Prior to that, Jesse spent many years coaching his children’s youth athletic teams.
In his spare time, Jesse enjoys spending time at his family lake house, spending time with family and friends, boating and fishing.  Jesse is also an avid sports fan, cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Cubs. 

Sargis Mnatsakanyan

Regional Director of Operations

Sargis Mnatsakanyan serves as Reginal Director of Operations at McNeill Hotel Company. Sargis is an award-winning, seasoned hospitality professional with over 20 years of experience in with Hilton hotels. He started his hospitality career as a bellman in Armenia where he continued to grow and gained experience in different departments. Sargis joined McNeill Hotel Company as a General Manager at the Homewood Suites Boise with extensive knowledge of Hilton brand. He played a vital role as an Area General Manager in Mountain West Area and trained several leaders of the company for their next role. Sargis promotes equality and diversity in the workplace, where employees and guests are equally important.  Sargis is a graduate of Yerevan State University with a Master of History and Cultural Studies. He enjoys traveling and making memories with his wife and daughter.  

Kenneth Parish

Director of E-Commerce / Sales Support

Ken serves as Director of E-Commerce / Sales Support for McNeill Hotel Company. Ken joined McNeill as Sales Manager in 2015 and was quickly promoted to Area Director of Sales for the Memphis market. He has over 20 years of experience in retail sales and management focused on emerging technology. Ken transitioned to the hospitality industry as a sales manager for Chartwell Hospitality with a cluster of hotels in Southaven, MS. He moved to Interstate Hotels & Resorts as Sales Manager responsible for 3 Marriott branded hotels in the greater Memphis market. While serving with Interstate Hotels, he was recognized as a recipient of the “Sales Excellence Award – Top Sales Performer”.