Flexible lodging brand WaterWalk has expanded its leadership team with several key hires and internal promotions. This includes the appointment of Jim Mrha to CFO/COO; Brian Yocam to director of technology and security; and Augustus Piazza to director of marketing and product. In addition, Katrina Gough has been promoted to senior director of national sales and Stephen Armstrong to SVP of the WaterWalk brand.
“We are excited to accelerate our evolution with some exceptional leaders in the field, as we embark upon an aggressive growth phase,” said Mimi Oliver, CEO, WaterWalk. “As a leader of this company alongside Jim Korroch, who cofounded Candlewood Suites with my grandfather Jack DeBoer in 1995, it is a great honor to advance into the future alongside such a terrific team. I am confident that this leadership group will further extend our legacy in lodging, helping pioneer innovative concepts to meet the increasing demand for flexible lodging.”
Mrha joined the WaterWalk team with more than 35 years of experience with hotel brands including Marriott International, where he served as the CFO of the Western region; MGM Hospitality, where he served as the CFO; and Hilton International, where he served as vice president of finance for the Americas. Mrha brings strong experience to WaterWalk in finance, operations and business development.
Armstrong brings more than 17 years of hospitality and customer service experience to WaterWalk. He started in hotel operations then transitioned into the hotel development world, when he joined DeBoer’s team on what was then Value Place, now Woodspring Suites. He went on to join a national retail brand as a store manager, eventually becoming a training manager. In 2017, Armstrong had the opportunity to rejoin DeBoer and the WaterWalk team overseeing site selection strategy, financial underwriting and data analytics, where he was instrumental in the design of WaterWalk Gen 2.0.
Gough joined the WaterWalk team in 2017. Prior to joining WaterWalk, she was a national accounts manager for Woodspring Suites, where she grew and managed revenue growth in multiple states for extended-stay national accounts. She also spent eight years with Merry Maids Corporate, where she achieved significant revenue growth.
Piazza, prior to his new position, started his own consulting company in which he worked with WaterWalk and applied his more than 15 years of marketing experience in both strategic and creative execution for extended-stay brands. At WaterWalk, he is responsible for developing and implementing effective marketing strategies with a focus on customer acquisition and retention, as well as strategizing and managing the brand’s digital channels.
Yocam brings more than 12 years of experience with various networking and IT security-focused programs and tools. Preceding his appointment at WaterWalk, Yocam served as the network manager at INTRUST Bank, where he provided oversight and technical expertise to develop and implement cybersecurity programs and initiatives. Throughout his career, he has gained valuable experience and knowledge with various security tools, maintenance procedures and the safety of networks.
WaterWalk recently revealed its next-generation flexible lodging concept, Gen 2.0, which blends the best of an upscale extended-stay hotel and home. With its new leadership team structure in place, WaterWalk plans to double its portfolio size by the end of 2024. This includes several Gen 2.0 properties opening in the upcoming year in Phoenix; Sandy Springs/Atlanta Perimeter, GA; Meridian, ID; Tucson, AZ; Jacksonville, FL; and Huntsville, AL.