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Friday, September 29, 2023

Faculty & Staff

Hilton welcomes experienced staffers

The Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management welcomed three new staffers this year to its program: Fernando Cuellar, the University Hilton’s new general manager; John Trujillo, the new director of Leadership Development for the College and the hotel; and UH alumna, Wendy Ballard, as new director of alumni.

Cuellar is a certified hotel administrator and has almost 40 years of experience in the hotel industry. He worked at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. and the Four Seasons Olympic in Seattle. He also worked 11 years at the Renaissance Houston Greenway Plaza Hotel as general manager and a year at the Lancaster Hotel in Houston, also as general manager.

Cuellar graduated from Oklahoma State University’s Hotel and Restaurant Administration program. He taught Spanish at the Hilton College.

Trujillo graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and Spanish. He has worked at the Denver Marriott Southeast as the human resources manager and as the director of human resources at the Renaissance Houston Hotel Greenway Plaza.

In his new position, he will focus on recruiting, selecting and training students for positions at the hotel.

According to a release, Cuellar and Trujillo are working on a student leadership program, in which students spend 16 weeks in a rotational internship working in every area of the hotel.

“You’re more prepared if you know every aspect of the operation — that is our mission,” Cuellar said in a release.

Ballard graduated from the Hilton College in 2001 and has worked as assistant manager at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and as a manager at Landry’s Restaurant.

She will focus on helping alumni stay connected to UH.

“If I can give back and involve alumni in the College, then I’ll meet my first goal,” Ballard said in a release.

According to the release, Ballard wants to increase mentoring programs for the College, as well as increase alumni communication.

“I hope to reignite our alumni’s passion for this school and involve them in numerous ways,” she said in a release. “It’s as much their organization as it is mine.”

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