A Project in Media

It’s always nice to have one of your projects published in the media and particularly so in industry trade magazines. Hospitality is our focus so, of course, those readers are our prime target audience. But it was extra special to see photos of a Portfolio project that showed-up in a recent edition of AHLA’s LODGING magazine focus on franchising. The August 2016 edition’s “Hotel Franchising Guide” provides a wealth of information of all of the Brands’ franchising particulars. The pages dedicated to Hilton (pages 36 & 37) include four pictures - and two of them are from our Doubletree Galveston Beach Resort.

We strive to do great work for our Owners and future guests. But it’s also nice to see those results recognized as standard bearers for the Brands as well. Thank you Hilton for including our project in your important media!

LODGING  Magazine August 2016

LODGING Magazine August 2016

PORTFOLIO's 25th Anniversary

25th Anniversary

A message from Craig Allen Smith, AIA

This month marks Portfolio’s twenty-fifth year in business. As a young architect I spent a few years at a firm that introduced me to the hospitality industry at a time when that specialization was in its infancy. I learned a lot and being young, confident and fearless I ventured out on my own in hopes of starting a firm that would not only provide great design but done in a way focused with the knowledge of a hotelier. We have learned a great deal along the way and in this ever-changing industry we continue to be challenged and excited.

What I did not anticipate early on is just how much this career would define my life. As you work through growing a business there are so many people that touch your life along the way they become a part of who you are. I think of the terrific staff that have contributed to the success of Portfolio over the years and know that their talents have greatly benefitted who we are today. Working so closely with people on projects - from owners to operators, project professionals and contractors, manufacturers and reps - you realize that these are the people who are your friends and not just business associates. And even the people in the industry you come into contact with on a less frequent basis, competitors included, you come to recognize as casual but no less important friends in this relatively small industry.

While family has grown on an almost separate course, I look at my evolution of the last twenty-five years and see that my best friends are people I have met through the industry. I met my wife first as one of my staff and only years later did we connect, making for a tremendous partnership in life and business! There are thirty-year friendships that are as solid today as they were (dare I say it) when we were young. I have witnessed many of those friends rise through the ranks to become the leaders in our industry, heads of companies and the bearers of high standard. We have helped the hospitality design industry evolve from its early days in the late-eighties and early-nineties into the exciting and diverse community it has become. Yes, I suppose, we have become the old guard – rather, the experienced ones - and intend to hold that honor for a bit more time.

So while I consider the milestone of Portfolio’s Twenty-Five Year Anniversary, I want to give my most heartfelt thanks to the people in this industry, for it is you that have helped make my business, my career and my life such a fantastic and interesting journey.

I look so forward to the next twenty-five!

Digging Vegas

Justin Ried, Larry Oleck, Renee Bagshaw, Amy Smith, Craig Smith, Pete Welch

Justin Ried, Larry Oleck, Renee Bagshaw, Amy Smith, Craig Smith, Pete Welch

HD Expo in Las Vegas is a must attend event every year not only for seeing product but to reconnect with industry friends. A group of us took some time to do something a little different this year - play in the dirt! A group including Portfolio, Continental Contractors and Host Hotels got together at a place called Dig This Las Vegas Heavy Equipment Playground to learn to operate Caterpillar D5G bulldozers and Caterpillar 315CL hydraulic excavators. Everyone got to use each machine (air conditioned!) to dig holes and move mass quantities of dirt, coached through headsets by the Dig This staff. What a fun time with a great group pf people!

Now every time we see a machine at a site we mention that we can do that! 

Justin and Larry digging deep trenches.

Justin and Larry digging deep trenches.

Excavator competition - who can dig the biggest hole.

Excavator competition - who can dig the biggest hole.

Palm Springs Cool

Following HD Summit in Laguna Niguel, Amy and Craig drove a couple of hours to Palm Springs to tour hotels. This is such a unique compilation of small hotels - some quirky, mostly really fun - there is a lot to learn that can be used in other projects. This place is a prime example of how architectural photography can make things look so much better than reality! 

HD Summit is Great Once Again

Portfolio was represented at Hospitality Design magazine's Summit by firm leads Craig and Amy Smith. This year's Summit was held at the Ritz carlton in Laguna Niguel, California, perched on a cliff above the Pacific. the event is described by HD as "An invitation-only gathering of senior-level executives in the hospitality industry who attend as delegates or sponsors. Hospitality Design Summit serves as the industry's leadership think tank...often called "thought camp". The group is split between the design/purchasing/ownership/operational side of the business and manufacturers/service providers who are sponsors of the event, all senior-level industry professionals.

What is so great about HD Summit is that it is purely a networking event without the sales pitch. It is an opportunity for industry leaders to get together on a different level, as friends and colleagues. The sessions are always interesting and offer an array of experts offering guidance in leadership, creativity, motivation, and inspiration. While sessions are typically not directly related to hospitality they are relevant to the way we think and the way we work in our lives and businesses.

View from the Ritz Carlton

View from the Ritz Carlton

This year packed in: David Cooper who's story is of a ski racer who was blinded in an accident and his journey to investment banker (many lessons taken); Neil Pasricha, author and blogger of the award-winning "1000 Awesome Things" (yes, it was awesome!); Nirvana Mullick, a filmmaker famous for his short film Caine's Arcade (which led to a really great workshop - look for Amy's post); Pico Iyer, world traveler, essayist, and novelist; Philippe Petit who dazzled and stunned the world by his daring (and illegal) walk on a tightrope between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center  (the film that chronicles his Twin Towers feat, Man on Wire, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2008); and - a Summit regular - Bruce Ford of Lodging Econometrics (yes, a numbers guy - but the most trusted numbers guy in the business). Quite a variety of learning!

This is such a great event. Craig has attended eleven of the fifteen years and Amy has been to the last eight. One of our favorite industry events, we see this as a must every year. Connecting with our industry friends and associates in this setting is something we always look forward to and the speakers are always a great surprise . The team at Hospitality Design puts on such a fantastic event. If you ever have the opportunity to attend don't hesitate - it's a few days very well spent.

To view a video of the event, click here: HD Summit 2015 Yearbook.

Thinking Outside The Cardboard Box

What would you create with a simple cardboard box?
For 9-year old Caine Monroy, with summer vacation ahead of him, a creative mind and tremendous imagination turned ordinary cardboard boxes into an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto parts store. Caine imagined all of the customers his arcade would attract over the summer months, but unfortunately the entire summer went by and Caine had yet to entertain a single customer. That was until  filmmaker Nirvan Mullick happened to stop by his dad’s shop to buy a door handle for his 1996 Corolla. Nirvan became Caine’s first custom when he purchased a $2 FunPass (Unlimited plays!) for the arcade. Inspired by Caine’s creativity, imagination and tenacity to never give up, Nirvan returned to make a short film about Caine’s Arcade and organized a flashmob to surprise Caine and to change a boys life by the generosity and the good will of a community. The movie became a movement to foster creativity and entrepreneurship among children worldwide when it jumpstarted Mullick’s Imagination Foundation, a non-profit organization, and his annual Global Cardboard Challenge which has engaged more than 225,000 kids in 60 countries in creative play. 

Team "Awesome Balls"

Team "Awesome Balls"

At HD Summit Craig and I along with our colleagues were challenged to think outside the “cardboard” box. Teams brainstormed, gathered materials and created a variety of incredible arcade games out of “found” materials. A bunch of Creative-types with scissors! A team of judges including renowned designer Roger Thomas judged the final products and all of the games were compiled into our own HD Summit Arcade which was then open for play to all of the attendees.
Caine’s youthful imagination challenged us all to continue to think outside the box.

Learn more about Caine’s story and we know you will be inspired too! Watch Caine's Arcade.

NEWH Honors Portfolio

Portfolio was selected by NEWH, The Hospitality Design Network as one of the Top Interior Design Firms for 2015. NEWH is the premier networking resource for the hospitality industry, providing scholarships, education, leadership development, recognition of excellence, and business development opportunities. 

Noting the Honor letter from the NEWH National organization, "We are proud to honor the style and creativity that helps energize and define our industry!" At Portfolio we are extremely proud to be recognized by such a prestigious organization of our industry colleagues.