John Q. Hammons Continues Leadership of Hotel Empire

Associate Editor

IBA AWARDS HOST: Hotel magnate John Q. Hammons, a strong sports fan, hosted the recent Iba Awards Dinner at his Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Tulsa. With Hammons are University of Tulsa head football coach Steve Kragthorpe and his wife Cynthia.

Renowned hotelier John Q. Hammons announced recently he is taking his company private again after 11 years on the stock market.

Hammons, the majority stockholder in John Q. Hammons Hotels, Inc., has reached a merger agreement with JQH Acquisition. Hammons will remain chairman and CEO of the new, private company.

“Guests of the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center will notice no change,” said Scott Tarwater, senior vice president of sales and marketing for John Q. Hammons Hotels, Inc. “They will continue to get the same high level of quality service they have come to expect and deserve.

“Additionally, the community, guests and employees should take comfort in knowing that Mr. Hammons will continue to be the owner of the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel lock, stock and barrel.”

In addition to the Tulsa facility, John Q. Hammons Hotels LLC owns 60 hotels in 40 states. Most operate under the Embassy Suites, Renaissance and Marriott brands, and most are located near state capitols, universities, convention centers and other drawing cards. Hammons, 86, is fully at the helm.

Touted as a walking encyclopedia on the hotel industry, Hammons entered the business in 1958. His foray into the Tulsa market was 30 years ago, with the opening of a Holiday Inn at Interstate 244 and Garnett Road.

His most recent in the area was the $40 million Tulsa Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center, which opened in early 2003.

Hammons is known for his shrewd market analysis and for creating signature-style, full service hotels featuring atrium lobbies, expansive meeting and convention space, large guest rooms, podium check-in stations and complete business traveler amenities. Over the years he has developed 163 hotels properties in 40 states.

When he gets interested in a region for a new hotel, he researches extensively – the highway systems, growth pattern and “who’s who” politically, financially and historically.

When Hammons became interested in building the Tulsa Renaissance Hotel in the late 1990s, he took helicopter rides above the city to study the expressways, business and housing growth patterns and available properties. He also familiarized himself with City Hall and Tulsa County procedures and established ties with local real estate brokers.

He personifies the phrase, “the devil is in the details.”

Throughout his 46 years in the hotel industry, Hammons has been honored with countless awards for his achievements as a hotelier, including “Corporate Hotelier of the World” in 2003.

He has also garnered many awards and accolades for his philanthropy.

Hammons has never forgotten his humble beginnings in the Joplin, Missouri, area and maintains his corporate headquarters in Springfield, Mo. His charitable works throughout the Ozark area total more than several million dollars.

Closer to home, Hammons is credited with keeping the LPGA tournament in the Tulsa area – it is now called the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic – and his name is on the new arena at the Union Multipurpose Activities Center because of his generous support. In 2003 he was given the Spirit of Commitment Award by the Tulsa Arthritis Foundation and he is supportive of numerous charities in the area.

As the recent merger was finalized, Hammons was on his way to Wichita, Kan., to be honored for donating $800,000 to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He founded the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. Hammons is no doubt a sports fan—he has been to the last 45 college Final Fours and 47 Cincinnati Reds spring training camps. The Springfield Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals Double-A Minor League Team, opened their 2005 inaugural season in Hammons Field, a new10,000-seat baseball stadium located in downtown Springfield.

In October, 2003, USA Today’s Newspapers in Education Program honored Hammons with an appreciation award for his ongoing commitment to Springfield-area school students. Since 1993 he has dedicated a portion of funds to provide more than 706,600 copies of USA TODAY to more than 5,464 schools and 682 teachers, to inspire student education of current events.

A good portion of Hammon’s alma mater, Missouri State University (the name will change from Southwest Missouri State August 28), bears his name including streets, the Hammons Student Center, the school’s basketball arena and the Juanita K. Hammons Hall for Performing Arts, named for his wife.

In the Springfield area, he and his wife have also funded the Hammons Heart Institute, Hammons Life Line helicopter for St. John’s Regional Health Center and the Hammons Fountain.

Updated 06-30-2005

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