McNeill’s Mark Ricketts passes away

Mark Ricketts, former president/COO, McNeill Hotel Company, passed away on Nov. 2 at the age of 58 after a battle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). A founding principal of the ownership, management and development group, Ricketts was named to the newly created chief culture officer of the company in August.

A staunch supporter of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the hotel industry, Ricketts said in a March 2021 cover story in Hotel Business: “We live in a diverse nation and society, and our industry gains when it reflects that reality, which includes the guests we serve. A diverse workforce and executive team offer perspectives different from that with which any single one of us may be familiar. It brings more voices and objectivity to the table.”

McNeill Hotel Company issued the following statement as a tribute to Ricketts:

“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the death of our courageous and most-loved leader, Mark Ricketts. Mark passed away on Nov. 2, 2022, after a brave battle with ALS.

To those who knew him, as a second-generation hotelier, Mark seemed born to a career in hospitality, with his personal and professional lives driven by a genuine sense of faith and devotion to the service of others.

Along with Phillip McNeill Jr., Mark was a founding principal of McNeill Hotel Company. Previously, he also worked with his father, Tom, at Master Hospitality, as VP of asset management for Equity Inns, where he worked with Phillip McNeill Sr. and Jr.; and as VP in the Realty Management Division for Goldman Sachs in Irving, TX.

An exceptional leader, Mark understood intrinsically what bonds people together with shared values and goals and inspired them to those ends, while being a champion for diversity and inclusivity in the hospitality industry.

Many of us have heard him say ‘I live to serve’ in response to a need or task. His ability to make every associate, regardless of title, feel seen and valued was such a beautiful gift. Mark believed each person made a difference within MHC and had a sign hung in each hotel’s employee breakroom, ‘Thank you for making a difference today.’ Mark led the company to become one of the top 50 hotel companies in the U.S.

Mark prioritized the philosophy of ‘People Serving People,’ be it our guests, our investors, our team or our brand partners. Servant leadership truly defines McNeill Hotel Company and Mark’s leadership style. It’s what sets us apart and has allowed us to grow into becoming one of the best in the industry. Finding ways to give back was the essence of Mark’s heart and he brought it to life with volunteer time off programs, service projects and contribution matching campaigns.

McNeill Hotel Company was very fortunate to have Mark Ricketts serve as president/COO since its founding. He was a true pioneer of service and embodied the culture of MHC by creating a ‘people first’ mentality. He was a mentor, philanthropist and friend who was able to bring a sense of joy to everyday life. Mark’s positive spirit and contagious enthusiasm for hospitality is the foundation of McNeill Hotel Company and his legacy will continue.

Mark is survived by his parents, Thomas Ricketts and Marian Young; his stepmother, Jane Ricketts; his children, Zach (Mary), Erin, Jae (Katelyn) and Claire; his wife Lisa; his siblings, Greg (Allison), Brian (Cindy) and Amanda (Erik); and his grandchildren, Gianna
and Callum.”