Big-Picture Guy at Marriott: A Profile of Lenny Jachimowicz

Big-Picture Guy at Marriott: A Profile of Lenny Jachimowicz

First part of a 4-part article on Lenny Jachimowicz’s rise from plumber’s helper to global VP at Marriott

By Ronald Kovach, Managing Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: For Jachimowicz, a Business Result Must Drive ProjectsPt. 3: Jachimowicz’s Move Through the Ranks at MarriottPt. 4: Self-Improvement Ethic, Leadership Were Key for Jachimowicz

At age 19, Lenny Jachimowicz, one of seven children of a Philadelphia cop, was already a kid full of energy and drive, and with an affinity for multi-tasking. He was working three jobs: playing drums in a band, running the plumbing business his uncle had passed along to him, and working as a maintenance helper at a Marriott hotel. In 1972, the hotel was one of only a dozen or so Marriotts in existence. “There was a guy walking behind the plumber carrying a plunger — that was me,” is how he tells it. He was learning how to take chemical readings and blow down the boilers, educating himself about boiler room systems. For the spirited Philly kid, it was fascinating stuff, and it was the start of a journey that would take him “from boiler room to boardroom.”

Today, Jachimowicz, as vice president of engineering, facilities and guest experience, global operations, for Marriott International, is responsible for about 2,000 hotels, and Marriott, by one reckoning, has become the third-largest hotel company in the world by number of rooms (660,000). And now, with 43 years at Marriott, Jachimowicz is an unusual study in how to get way ahead in facility management and operate effectively at a high level for a long time — all without a formal college degree. In his case, it seems, the success ingredients were intellect and curiosity, a commitment to educating himself and broadening his skills, polished people and presentation skills, and a passionate brand of leadership. The guy commands a room.

Jachimowicz’s arena — the hospitality industry — presents special challenges to a facility manager. The happiness and comfort of millions of constantly changing customers is king, and everything is a 24/7 operation. “For someone paying $500 a night in a Ritz-Carlton,” he says, referencing one of Marriott’s 19 brands, “that building’s got to be right, things have to work, the experience overall has to be spot-on.”

Big-Picture Guy

It’s a very complex business. Marriott itself owns very few of its properties; instead, it manages for other owners, typically under long-term management contracts. It is also a franchise company, where a building has Marriott’s brand but is managed by others.

The company, which earned about $14 billion in revenues in fiscal 2014, has a global empire of 4,300 properties scattered among 81 countries and territories. Jachimowicz is paid to be a big-picture guy, developing strategies and leading development for both managed and franchised hotels in key areas such as engineering and facilities, guest experience, and in-room technology (specifically focusing on entertainment). His main facilities areas encompass asset management, which includes preventive maintenance and capital planning, and human capital development, which includes training, changing demographics, compensation, and recruiting. Another area is energy and sustainability, and here the company’s targets are to reduce both energy and water consumption per occupied room by 20 percent by 2020, compared to a 2007 baseline. Other areas of responsibility: improving facility efficiency and risk management.

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  posted on 9/18/2015   Article Use Policy

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