Bill Doak : 2012 Distinguished Alumni of the Year
Even growing up, William (Bill) Doak '82 wanted everyone to be comfortable.
“Having people around and making them feel good was important,” he recalled.
Those concerns eventually led him to Cal Poly Pomona, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management in 1982. Thirty years and many professional advancements later, he returned to campus in the spring as The Collins College’s 2012 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.
“Still to this day, I draw upon things I learned in college – the financial aspects, food and beverage cost control, diet and nutrition – which I have applied throughout my career,” he said.
And what a career it has been. Doak, a Los Angeles native who still resides in the city, rose through the ranks at several high-end hotel chains. He served as president of Oceana Hotel Group, where he led the renovation and repositioning of its boutique hotels across the country. He also held top management positions with Morgans Hotel Group; the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, and the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.
More recently, he was managing director of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel for four years, ending in 2011. During his tenure, the hotel received numerous accolades including: Best Hotel Spa, Readers’ Choice Awards, from Condé Nast Traveler, 2010; Greenest Spa Makeover, from Angeleno Magazine, 2010, and Top 50 Hotel Spas – U.S. Mainland, from Condé Nast Traveler.
One of his greatest professional achievements, he said, occurred in 2010, when Loews Hotels honored him as Managing Director of the Year. After that service with Loews Hotels, he joined CIM Group last summer as first vice president of hospitality. CIM Group is a full-service urban real estate and investment firm with more than $9.5 billion in assets, including The Hollywood & Highland Center. Doak, who is married and has two children, has been heavily involved with the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, serving as chairman of the board from June 2010 to August 2011 and previously as vice chairman and a board member. During his tenure on the board, Santa Monica received more than 50 awards, including being named as one of National Geographic’s “Top 10 Beach Cities in the World.”
The seeds for his interest in hospitality were planted at home. “I grew up in a household where my father worked with students,” he recalled. “We always had people there. I kind of had an idea I wanted to be in business, and I gravitated toward the hospitality side because I always wanted people to feel comfortable.”
He chose Cal Poly Pomona, “because it had a football program and a hotel school.” He lived on campus for part of the time, serving on student council and as athletic commissioner. He also ran the study hall for football and basketball players, and had several jobs, which segued into post-graduation positions.
Overall, Doak said he felt prepared for the professional world when he graduated. “The range of coursework really hit every aspect of the hotel in