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 industry,” he said. “I received well-rounded and focused
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