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Van Cooney leaving as head of Hotel Murano and convention bureau; he’s on his way to luxurious San Diego

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on June 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
June 21, 2011 4:26 pm

Although he never quite found a use for the old Rose Room at the top of the building, he did turn a profit while gaining an international reputation. And to the benefit of both the city and his employers, he oversaw the purchase of the Bicentennial Pavilion.

Mark Van Cooney is leaving his position as general manager of Tacoma’s Hotel Murano.

Recruited as general manager in 2008 by Portland-based owner Provenance Hotels, Van Cooney walked into a hotel that was not making a profit and was little known outside Tacoma.

He exits a profitable hotel that has twice been named among the nation’s top hotels by readers of the magazine Conde Nast Traveler.

Van Cooney will leave driving south with his family – wife Gillian, son Dane, daughter Kylie and pets – at the end of the month. Once in San Diego, he will take over as general manager of the Se San Diego Hotel, a luxury property operated by a national hotel group.

“I realized, moving to Tacoma, that the region has so much to offer,” Van Cooney said earlier today.

Van Cooney has resigned as board chairman at the Tacoma Regional Visitor + Convention Bureau.

“He’s been our chair since November, and in that time he has made a significant impact,” said Tammy Blount, TRCVB president and CEO. “He really has shown incredible leadership on everything from working with the city to taking a really great leadership role with our board. He’s been really generous with his time and his resources. And he’s just a fun guy.”

Board Vice-chair Shelly Schlumpf, executive director of the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce, will take the interim lead and will likely be confirmed as chairwoman at the board’s June 29 meeting.

Along with tourism officials, Van Cooney leaves some disappointed Murano employees.

“He’s the best g.m. I’ve had in the 26 years I’ve been here,” said Patty Sigl, a server at Bite, the hotel’s restaurant.

Dale Rush, Murano concierge, characterized Van Cooney as “an exceptional person, a great leader and a super guy. He has rewritten the way to do business by leading by example daily, He’s created a culture of hospitality that’s unsurpassed.”

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