JT Richardson believes in being a team player. Working as corporate director of project management at a company like Crescent Hotels and Resorts allows him to see hotel renovation projects from all angles, from initial designs and budget plans to completion and reopening. Crescent is an operations-driven company, and with such a wide span of construction stages and responsibilities, Richardson appreciates being able to trust in the expertise of his teammates. “I’m huge on the team mentality,” he says. “I am able to lean on others, and l let them lean on me.”
Richardson is no stranger to the hotel industry. He brings 10 years of experience to the table, much of which he gained while working alongside Marriott as a third-party field project manager. The majority of his projects spanned the West Coast, and during that time, he learned from experiences working with senior project managers at Marriott Architecture and Construction. He had the opportunity to develop skills and contacts that would serve him throughout his career. “It was a trial by fire,” Richardson explains. “It was a steep learning curve, but I was grateful to have the experience and the training from my colleagues as well as the Marriott Architecture and Construction team.”
Now, working at Crescent, Richardson’s most recent projects are a testament to his passion for design and team player attitude.
Marriott Tribute in Embassy Row, Washington, DC
Located in Dupont Circle, this Marriott Tribute will be called the VEN. It found thematic inspiration from the neighboring embassies: the owners of the hotel and Crescent worked with Baskervill Architect to design the VEN to feel like a fictional Scandinavian country. The hotel emphasizes clean lines and features stunning woodwork on the walls and ceilings in the lobby and restaurant.
The lower level design is inspired by the Northern Lights and will include a gallery that displays work by local artists to give the hotel a creative atmosphere, something that is atypical for DC. The renovations have a planned completion date of December 2020.
Another testament to Richardson’s expertise is the Valley Forge Embassy Suites, a Hilton Hotel located outside of Philadelphia. While the Embassy brand tends to maintain a uniformed look, the owner of Valley Forge tasked Richardson and the Crescent team to infuse the property with the special care, attention, and originality that one would look for in a personal residence.
Richardson guided the entire project, from pricing and design to the completion stage. This property draws inspiration from the owner’s Texas roots, featuring plenty of metal, stone, and woodwork. Once complete, the hotel will have 20-foot metal canopies throughout the atrium, and a wall dispensary showcasing 16 different types of wine.
Sheraton Bay Point Project
Richardson and his Crescent team are also responsible for the renovations of an enormous Sheraton Hotel property located on Bay Point in Panama City, Florida. The owners invested over $31 million in renovations that resulted in a stunning beachside spa hotel, complete with a Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course. Richardson explains, “Ownership had a vested interest in opening by November 1, 2020, and in July, we were still down to bare studs in some major areas.” Despite this, the team hit its completion date. Once open, the project would win a top renovation award from Marriott. The resort was hitting its stride when Hurricane Michael struck Panama City in 2018, forcing the property almost back to square one.
Richardson and his team spent the following months on-site tackling the incredible challenge of getting the property back up and running as soon as possible. The resort required remediation from the ground up to limit future damage as ramifications from the storm continued to impact the property.
As the middleman between the owners, the contractor, and the insurance company, Richardson ensured that everyone remained aligned and satisfied through the duration of the project. “On projects like Bay Point, you are pushing so hard to hit major milestones. Thankfully, Crescent has fantastic engineering and procurement teams that I was able to rely on,” says the project manager, reiterating the importance of support and teamwork. “Everyone has their role and a particular strength. We are all working different aspects of the project, but by the end there is a collective sigh of relief and shared feeling of accomplishment.”
Richardson’s team philosophy helps him navigate the complicated logistics involved in managing renovation projects that cover all the stages of development and execution. He knows to trust the knowledge and experience of each of his team members so he can manage all the moving parts that are necessary to get the job done.
When talking about his leadership strategy, Richardson employs a coach mentality. “I try to develop a game plan for the team, and utilize every member in their strongest position,” he says. This is how he is “able to kick it across the finish line.”