CEO & President
Azim F. Saju, Esq.
Azim Saju is the CEO & President for HDG Hotels. HDG Hotels is a hotel management and development company which owns and operates a portfolio of hotels throughout Central and North Central Florida. HDG has a strong culture whose vision is to positively impact the world around us and whose mission is brilliance in the basics of Hospitality.
Prior to joining HDG Hotels, Azim Saju practiced law as a trial lawyer for over 9 years. He is a member of the Florida Bar and Federal Bar. Azim primarily practiced in the areas of employment law and civil rights cases. Academically, Azim holds an economics degree from Davidson College and a law degree from the University of Florida. While at the University of Florida College of Law, Azim’s notable achievement was serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Journal of International Law.
Azim has been a member of the Choice Hotels Owners’ Council (CHOC) for over ten years and served as CHOC Chairperson for three years. Azim also serves as the Vice Chairperson on the IFA’s Franchisee Forum.
Azim’s leadership and service in the hospitality industry has been recognized with such awards as the CHOC Gene Ammons’ Award and Choice Hotels International’s Premier Alliance Awards. He has also written articles on such issues as Mentorship and Joint Employer.
Founder & Principal
Navroz F. Saju, Esq.
Navroz Saju is the Founder and Principal of HDG Hotels, a hotel development and management company based in Ocala, Florida. The company owns and operates a portfolio with nearly 1,800 rooms across various brands and has more projects in its pipeline.
Before founding HDG Hotels, Navroz received his undergraduate degree, with high honors, in accounting from the University of Florida. He also received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C. Navroz is a current member of The Florida Bar.
As the Founder and ultimate ambassador of HDG Hotels’ strong company vision to “positively impact”, Navroz strives for “win-win” relationships with all HDG stakeholders – internal and external.
Carrying his positive impact into his community, Navroz actively participates in local organizations. He is past chair of the Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau, a board member of the Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP), and a member of Renasant Bank’s advisory board.
In regards to industry associations, Navroz is a lifetime member of AAHOA and attends the annual HITEC convention in keeping with two of HDG’s core values of innovation and resourcefulness. Navroz has been involved in the IHG Owners Association since 2012, serving on various task forces and committees. In 2019, he joined the Global Board of Directors of the IHG Owners Association as secretary and Americas Member at Large. He currently serves on the global board as treasurer.
Navroz resides in Ocala, with his wife, Shaida, and two sons, Azim and Noah. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, attending his sons’ soccer and tennis games and tournaments, and watching the Florida Gators and NY Mets.
Chief People & Culture Officer
Lisa is the Chief People and Culture Officer for HDG Hotels. Her go-to words include “onward” and “be bold”. She has worked in a leadership and mentoring capacity with nonprofits, financial institutions, arts organizations, televised and other high profile events, higher education institutions, start-ups, individual executives and now hospitality.
Before joining the HDG Hotels team, Lisa’s worked in roles such as the Director of Development at the CF Foundation and Campaign Counsel for the Central Florida Y’s DeLuca YMCA and helped each raise their single largest charitable gifts at that time. She was the Director of Communications for Coates Golf, which included building a network of centers of influence from scratch, managing the brand’s reputation, and positioning the start-up to make an $18 million economic impact within its community via the LPGA’s Coates Golf Championship. She has also led organizations through overhauls of mission statements, conducted board development trainings, and represented brands throughout the state of Florida and nationally.
When asked what motivates her, she answers, “People”. She believes the first step toward progress is having clarity of purpose. An Ocala native, Lisa received a bachelor of arts in Communication Studies from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and a master of arts in Public Administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Chief Operating Officer
Jeff’s hospitality career began more than 30 years ago in South Florida and has included more than a dozen full-service hotels in six states as well as owning two restaurants. He has worked with a number of hotel brands, including Marriott, IHG, and Hilton. His awards include General Manager of the Year, Most Improved Marriott in the World for Guest Service and Overall Satisfaction, and Best Customer Experience in for two consecutive years.
“Together, we’re stronger” is a quote that has guided much of his career. Jeff has been an integral part of the leadership for several community or state hotel associations. Whether it has included educating politicians, securing additional tourism funds, or focusing various hotel leaders on a common goal.
Jeff understands the importance of using his talents and experience to help the overall industry. Adept at developing talent, his past team members continue to be recognized in their respective communities in high level positions. Jeff’s desire to develop others has extended beyond his management teams to organizing hospitality management high school programs and finding ways to help introduce our industry to organizations who focus their efforts on special needs individuals.
Chief Innovation & Systems Officer
Raymond Manaois, Chief Technology and Systems Officer, joined HDG Hotels, LLC in May 2007. Raymond is mainly responsible for the company’s Information Technology needs. When not preoccupied with analyzing complex data and transforming them into useful information, Raymond spends most of his time developing strategies based on these analyses to drive organizational and operational changes that promote efficiency and growth to the organization. Raymond also helps in opening new or converting existing properties – from procuring materials and supplies, developing business and marketing plans, staff and admin training, and quality and standards compliance.
Prior to joining HDG Hotels, Raymond worked as an Instructor at the University of the Philippines, Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management and at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde where he handled courses in Hotel Information Technology, Cost Control and Analysis, and Rooms Division Management. Raymond attributes his extensive knowledge and skills in hospitality management from his first job at the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel Manila where he worked as an Assistant IT Manager directly after college. Raymond also worked as an Assistant Controller onboard the cruise ship Norwegian Sun, part of the Norwegian Cruise Lines. Raymond holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines.
AVP of Hotel Excellence
Donna has been a hospitality professional for over 20 years. She joined HDG Hotels as a housekeeper in 1998. She subsequently became a Head Housekeeper, General Manager (GM), Regional Manager (RM) and is now HDG’s first-ever AVP of Operations. In this capacity, she partners with leadership on procurement, scheduling, training, payroll, human resources, guest service score review, and coaching and mentoring. She is also involved in “onboarding” hotels added to the HDG portfolio.
Chief Development & Finance Officer
Billy Gilchrist was born and raised in Ocala, Fl. After high school, he attended the University of Florida and graduated with his Bachelors in Finance and Masters in Entrepreneurship. After several years in Jacksonville, Fl, he made his way back to Ocala and went to work in the banking industry. Billy is involved in several community organizations including the Ocala-Sunset Rotary Club, Ocala Main Street, Young Professionals Ocala, and a board member of the Ocala Planning and Zoning Commission.
Tammy Buckley has been in the hospitality industry for 34 years and has brand experience with Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Days Inn as well as independent owned properties. Tammy started as front desk clerk, worked her way up to General Manager and now she joins us as a Regional Manager. Tammy will oversee procurement, scheduling, training, guest service scores and brand standards.
Sarah started out in the hospitality industry over 20 years ago. She has worked for several different brands throughout her career and several different departments. Sarah first joined HDG back in 2009 starting as a full time night auditor at Holiday Inn Silver Springs. Through out her career with HDG she has helped with several hotels, and has been a part of the accounting department for our corporate office. For the past 6 years Sarah has been the General Manager of the Quality Inn in Hernando. And for the past 3 years, she has helped over see the Comfort Suites in Dunnellon.
Jerry Alnemat was born and raised in Jordan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in statistics and served in the Jordanian army as a Second Lieutenant for six years. After the army, he worked as a construction project manager and restaurant manager, before moving to the United States.
Jerry joined the HDG family in 2016 as the director of food and beverage at the Quality Inn & Suites Conference Center New Port Richey (QIR). In August 2017, he became the general manager. Under his leadership, the hotel’s revenues have increased by more than 25%, and the food and beverage revenues have increased by more than 50%, while simultaneously managing about $1 million of maintenance projects. This has resulted in a significant increase in service scores and brand ranking.
Jerry is an award-winning, authentic, involved leader with a strong business sense, and engaging interpersonal skills. His approach to business might best be summed up with one of his favorite quotes, “Hard work wrapped with a positive approach can always bring the team to perform at their best.
Director of Revenue Management
Jackie Lambert is the Director of Revenue Management for HDG Hotels. She started with HDG Hotels at our Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center in April of 2010 as a breakfast attendant and had worked her way up to the General Manager position by 2012. Currently, she is the Director of Revenue Management and is responsible for overseeing the rates and inventory to maximize the revenues for all of our hotels while also providing training to our team. She is Host Certified and is also a Certified Hospitality Revenue Manager (CHRM). Jackie also plays a key role in investor relations and new property acquisitions. Jackie is passionate about revenue management and continues to expand her knowledge. She recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from the College of Coastal Georgia with her Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA).