• Q&A: Jacob Youngblood, regional director of sales, Mereté Hotel Management

    POSTED June 12, 2019

These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to kassidy.tarala@tigeroak.com.

Jacob Youngblood was recently named regional director of sales at Mereté Hotel Management.

1. What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

In my new role with Mereté Hotel Management, I am responsible for sales oversight of multiple brands, each providing exposure to their unique culture and operational standards. With this exposure, I will continue to strengthen and celebrate our brand awareness, as our industry and company continue to grow and evolve.

2. How do you think your past experiences have prepared you for this role?

My hospitality story began in hotel operations. Prior to sales, I served in many positions, some of which included dishwasher, housekeeper, front desk agent, night auditor and line cook. What I didn’t realize until joining sales, was that each of my previous roles would serve as a reminder of who I’m responsible to and how my decisions in sales not only impact our customers, but all those working within the company.

3. How did you get into the industry?

While I had multiple experiences in hospitality prior to working for a hotel, what was originally called “The Grand” in downtown Minneapolis, founded my passion for hospitality. I loved having so many opportunities to meet new people and hear the stories they would share. Upon returning to college for my sophomore year, I added hotel, restaurant & tourism management as my second major. From there, it was my mentors that made sure my passion was always fueled and inspired. People like Scott Youngblood (Father, Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square General Manager & Oregon Tourism Commission Chair), Shawn Anderson (Divisional Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Remington Hotels), Bob McIntosh (Regional Vice President of Sales & Marketing at GF Management), Jeff Patton (Executive Director at Hilton Direct), Julie Saul (Director of Sales at Davidson Hotels & Resorts) and so many more.

4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?

Increased profitability leading to continued company growth, all while cultivating and celebrating our unique and inspiring culture. Mereté works tirelessly to support, develop and inspire our team. There’s a reason that so many have dedicated themselves to this company for so long.

5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?

Originally, I entered hospitality for the love of serving others, bringing a smile to their face and hearing the stories they would share. You couldn’t imagine in your wildest dreams, what you could learn if we all just listened a little more. From this passion, I have come to love not only this industry, but the responsibility of reminding others how we impact the world, through simple gestures like a smile and making sure someone feels at home.

Steve Faulstick has been named interim general manager of visitor venues for Portland Metro, the regional government. In this role, announced less than two weeks after Broadway shows returned to area theaters and conference attendees gathered again for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, Faulstick will oversee the region’s portfolio of venues, including the Oregon Convention Center, Portland’5 Centers for the Arts and Portland Expo Center. He has agreed to serve until a permanent general manager of visitor venues is in place.


After a hiatus, the Washington County Visitors Association is back in the meetings business. Wendy Popkin will be joining the organization as vice president of destinations on November 1, 2021, to lead the organization’s direct group sales efforts to meeting professional, sports, organizers and travel professionals.

“We are extremely excited to have a leader of Wendy’s caliber joining our organization and are confident that she will bring measurable success to our destination,” says Dave Parulo, president and CEO of the WCVA.


Michael Grande has been named executive chef at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, the city’s only Forbes Five-Star property. In this new role, Grande will direct all culinary at the downtown hotel, including catering at the property’s 10,570 square feet of event space, in-room dining for the 147 guest rooms and suites, helming day-to-day operations at signature restaurant Goldfinch Tavern and overseeing seasonal pop-up restaurant and private cabana dining at the outdoor infinity-edge pool.