company profile

The Colwen Hotels Story

“High-quality service for guests and good value for owners.”

This goal has guided Colwen Hotels since its inception to its position today as a team of over 1,500 and one of the most successful hotel management companies in the northeastern United States.

Our objective has always been to employ management teams for our properties that will provide extraordinary service to our guests and exceptional value and return on investment to the property owners. We strive to continuously deliver products that exceed guests' expectations as well as deliver on our stewardship in the community in which we do business.

Our commitment to building new properties to meet LEED® certification standards is an excellent representation of our minimalist footprint philosophy.

Our current and future development portfolio speaks to our strength and our continued growth. Colwen develops and manages exceptional brands including Renaissance, Courtyard, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites, and Holiday Inn properties in a variety of competitive markets. We oversee hotel properties and direct all activities within while maintaining standards set by Marriott, Hilton and Holiday Inn. Colwen also manages a number of highly successful independent and boutique properties.

Even though our core values and goals have always remained the cornerstone of our achievements, it’s evident that a lot has evolved since Colwen’s beginning in 1998 with the opening of the Residence Inn in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Colwen’s original namesakes Colin Nadeau and Wendell Butcher founded Colwen Lodging, LLC in order to develop and manage the 108-room property. Over time, the growing success of Colwen’s management expertise quickly earning Colwen additional hotel brands, a growing team of outstanding employees and a name shift to Colwen Management and later Colwen Hotels, to reflect its new management team, continued principles and solid philosophies. 

The organization has realized tremendous growth in its managed property portfolio and has continued to employ the most highly experienced executives and staff to move forward with full momentum and expertise to accomplish – and surpass - every goal we put forth for our properties. Today, Colwen has evolved into one of the largest franchisors of the Marriott brand in the United States

“Our standard of excellence is defined by an empowered team that constantly works to improve guest, associate, and owner satisfaction. Our experienced leaders and well-trained associates are dedicated to exceeding guest expectations.”

Core Values


"First you cannot "set" organizational values, you can only discover them." - Jim Collins, Built to Last

Our Core Values are the DNA of Colwen Management. At Colwen, we wake up, make decisions and live each day by our Core Values. Our Core Values define us. So, who are we? 

We are Engaged and Passionate 

We work hard, and we take pride in it. We work smart and we celebrate our successes. We also have "stick-to-itiveness" and a strong sense of urgency. Once we start something, we finish it and finish it quickly. We are confident, yet humble. We know that we're only as good as our last interaction with our guests each day. Lastly, we care about our communities. We support our communities by supporting our associates. 

We Work to Win; Make a Difference 

To win at Colwen Hotels, we believe that each associate makes a difference in our guests' experience and our fellow associates' success. We have a positive, "can do" attitude that our guests see, hear, feel and have come to expect. We start with "Yes". However, if "Yes" is impossible, we provide alternatives and options. Finally, at Colwen, everyone has jobs; not just titles. 

We See What the Guest Sees 

Our guests are first and foremost in our approach to work. We anticipate what our guests need and appreciate their business. We keep our properties clean and well maintained. Simply put, we see through the customer's lens, earn the customer's business, and strive to be above brand standards.

Leadership Team


Leo Xarras, Chairman

Leo Xarras is a hospitality industry veteran with more than 20 years of diverse hotel management and development experience including full oversight of lodging, food and beverage and resort retail in both the United States and the Caribbean. Past projects in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the Dominican Republic have afforded extensive experience in lodging acquisition, construction, renovation, construction management and historic restoration with a track record of establishing profitable performance combined with community good will.

Since 2009, Leo has been a partner in Colwen Management, Inc. and serves as Chairman and CEO directly overseeing the lodging portfolio.

Leo is President and Controller of Oleo Corporation, a lodging development and holding company formed in 1995 to develop the Castle Hill Resort and Spa in Cavendish Vermont affiliated with Small Luxury Hotels and Historic Hotels of America. 

Concurrent with hospitality development projects, Leo has developed over $100M in non-lodging commercial and residential assets.

Mark Stebbins, Chief Financial Officer

Mark Stebbins serves as the CFO of Colwen Management Inc and is one of the firms principals along with Leo Xarras, and Mark Schleicher. Colwen Management, Inc. is an award-winning, nationally-recognized hospitality management firm based in Portsmouth, NH. The firm manages over 25 properties and employs over 1200.

Mark is a founder of XSS LLC, a hotel development company formed in 2011, combining the experience and leadership of the company’s three principals, Leo Xarras of Oleo Corporation and Mark Schleicher and Mark Stebbins of S & S Hotels. XSS LLC develops and owns full and select service hotels along the east coast. Their extensive portfolio of extended stay, limited service, and full-service hotels includes Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and independent hotels. XSS LLC concentrates on developing dynamic, high quality projects with strong brand recognition. The company is presently developing projects in New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Florida, with several more in the pipeline.

Mark is also the Chief Executive Officer of Pro Con Inc, New Hampshire’s largest design/build-construction management firm. Pro Con Inc. provides a full range of design, general contracting and construction management services for corporate, commercial, institutional projects throughout New England. The company has a projected volume of over $160 million for fiscal year 2013, employing approximately 150.

Mark serves as the President of the Residence Inn Advisory Board for Marriott International and is Chairman of the Design and Construction Committee for Residence Inn by Marriott.

Terry Bickhardt, Senior VP

Terry is a talented leader who oversees the Operations, Sales and Marketing, Engineering, and Accounting services for Colwen Hotel Management. He brings a diverse range of experience to the team plus an in-depth knowledge of all major hotel brands, including Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, and Choice. 

Terry developed and successfully opened more than 40 select-service and full-service hotels and convention centers during his career. Before arriving at Colwen in 2011, he was President of Operations and Sales and Marketing for Waterford Hotel Group, and Co- President of HVS Hotel Management.

When not at work, Terry enjoys sports, reading, music and spending time with his two daughters.

Jim Riker, VP of Operations

Jim Riker oversees the operations of hotels within the Colwen system. He works directly with general managers to ensure quality customer service is delivered, financial goals are met and brand standards are meeting expectations.

Jim has managed full-service hotels and resorts throughout the U.S., including major brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Radisson and Hilton Garden Inn. He has experience with restaurant concept and repositioning development and overseeing hotels with multiple food and beverage outlets. While working as a regional director for nine years, Jim gained valuable experience managing properties in major cities, suburban areas and resorts. He joined Colwen as VP of Operations in 2011.

In his free time, Jim enjoys traveling, golfing and skiing.

John R. Mitchell, CHA, VP of Operations

John Mitchell oversees the operations of hotels within the Colwen portfolio. In order to deliver consistent quality customer experiences throughout the properties, meet and exceed financial goals and ensure brand standards are met, John works closely with each general manager in his region to proactively steer operations on a direct path of success.

Before joining Colwen in 2013 as Vice President of Operations, John’s former experiences as a General Manager sharpened his understanding of daily hotel operations, putting him ahead of the guest and behind his team as a committed leader in superior guest service. John has successfully opened and operated the Comfort Inn & Suites Boston/Airport in 2000 and remained an integral key to its success for the next eight years. Most recently John was Regional Director of Operations for Saunders Hotel Group, based out of Boston and has an extensive hands on knowledge with national brand hotels such as Marriott, Hilton and Choice. 

In his free time, John enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and 2 young daughters.

Julie Scott, Senior VP of Sales and Revenue Management

As Vice President of Revenue, the tremendous talent and expertise Julie Scott brings to Colwen Management make her a valuable asset to Colwen’s overall mission. With over 25 years of hotel experience and an exceptionally diverse background in Operations, Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management, Julie is a motivated, outside-the-box leader that continues to strive to raise the bar for the Colwen portfolio. Julie continues to develop strategies and systems to maximize room revenue, drive profit and increase YOY Rev/Par for Colwen's portfolio of branded and independent properties. She leads a team of revenue managers that implement revenue management strategies for multiple hotels by constant inventory monitoring, market rate analysis, OTA maximization and vigilantly supporting the sales process with business transient and group evaluation. Julie has intricate knowledge of many brand systems and software including Hilton OnQ, Marriott MARSHA, IHG Merlin, Choice Central and iHotelier. Julie has earned a number of distinctions during her career including Hilton Director of Sales of the year, Hilton MVP award and Colwen Manager of the year.

Felice Kreitman, VP of eCommerce & Strategic Marketing

As Colwen's Vice President of eCommerce & strategic marketing, Felice oversees all aspects of the portfolio's broad online initiatives at the Brand, third party, GDS and individual hotel level. She is a creative and driven leader with over 25 years of hotel Sales and Marketing experience including 13 years of hotel eCommerce consulting.

Felice started her career in Boston with Beacon Hotel Corporation working as a sales leader in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Felice's sales progression brought her back to New England working for the Flatley Company, the largest Sheraton franchisor in the US, working as DOSM at Sheraton's in Braintree, Hyannis and Framingham, Massachusetts; and Nashua, New Hampshire. After the acquisition of the Flatley portfolio by Starwood, Felice became a successful Area DOSM for Starwood responsible for 7 Sheraton and Westin brand properties in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Felice then moved to Travelclick, a leading provider of ecommerce solutions to the hospitality industry, as their New England Director of Sales, growing the region to consult with over 300 individual properties, brands, management, ownership groups and asset managers.

Felice's leading expertise in eCommerce continues to drive Colwen's eChannel growth by remaining at the forefront of online trends, technology and strategic marketing opportunities

David Kemp, VP of Human Resources

David’s human resources leadership role will position Colwen Hotels as the preferred employer in their markets through best practices in organizational development, talent selection, training and development, associate relations, HRIS, benefits and compensation plans, and risk management.

David’s experience is a compilation of his many senior roles in Human Resources. As VP of Human Resources at Waterford Hotel Group, his depth of knowledge in risk management was an asset for the hotel services field. More recently, in his role as VP Human Resources of NOBLE Investment Group and Human Resources Director at NOBLE – INTERSTATE Hotels & Resorts, his superior skills were sharpened. David’s keen abilities in the hospitality industry allow him to successfully match employment motivation tools and benefits with the ability to turn potentially short-term employment positions in to long-term retention.

Jeffrey Holihan, VP of Finance

Jeffrey Holihan oversees the Accounting Operations for Colwen Management. Jeffrey holds degrees in Accounting and Hospitality Management. He began his Hospitality career working in various Resorts, Restaurants and Country Clubs. Accounting became a new career focus when family responsibilities started. His varied Accounting experience includes an Internet startup and working for a Fortune 100 Company. Jeffrey was a Controller at Pro Con Inc. and was responsible for Financial Reporting for Hotel Operations and Development Accounting for several years. Jeffrey began his current position in the spring of 2013.

When not at work Jeffrey enjoys his time on top of and below the ocean surface.

Ben Stebbins, Procurement Manager

Ben Stebbins is the driving force behind Colwen’s high-quality procurement services. He develops the pre-opening furniture, fixtures and equipment budgets for new hotels while bidding out each project based on specifications from the interior designer. Ben also coordinates all deliveries and installs for each hotel.

Ben has held a variety of positions with the company over the past five years - including line cook and front desk agent – giving him a first-hand understanding and appreciation for a property’s operational needs as well as for the quality and ease of use of supplies and equipment purchased for the properties and their guests. Ben graduated with a bachelor of science degree, with a focus on hospitality management, from the University of New Hampshire business school.

In his free time, Ben enjoys hiking, skiing and fishing. He lives in Portsmouth, NH with his dog and cat.

Michael Colavecchio, Director of Loss Prevention

Michael is a dedicated manager who has more than 20 years of experience in the hotel industry. As Colwen’s Director of Loss Prevention, he and his team ensure guests are safe, hotel property is secure and effective loss reduction strategies are implemented.

Michael’s commitment to his work is clear. He currently resides on the American Hotel And Lodging Association’s Loss Prevention Executive Committee. In 2006, he received the Colwen Manager of the Year Award for his outstanding performance, and led Colwen Hotels to its achievement of the 2014 MEMIC Safety Award. Michael was been with Colwen since 2004.

Outside of work, Michael is a New York sports junkie who loves to travel, fish and play poker. He’s also a big fan of Disney Land and travels there every year.