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About Wankawala
Board of Directors
Nandkishor Wankawala
23 years of lodging experience
Mr. Wankawala co-founded The Wankawala Organization (TWO) in 2005 with his son Mihir Wankawala. Mr. Wankawala responsibility is to oversee hotel operating strategy and performance. He is also responsible for financial administration and audit and compliance for all the properties. Prior to starting TWO, he was involved in owning an independent 20 room motel which he bought in 1993 while practicing law at his law firm in India. He still manages his law firm with other advocates.
Mr. Wankawala is graduate of South Gujarat University in India with degree in Bachelor of Law, LLB Advocate with concentration in taxation.
Venkat Raja
Venkateshwaran Raja is a real estate investment professional with over thirty years of institutional investment management experience. He has a superior track record in investment performance that spans several market cycles. He founded Ayer Capital Advisors, Inc. in 1998 and provided investment management services to major institutional clients – New York State Common Retirement Fund, RREEF – Deutsche Bank real estate investment group, GMAC Institutional Advisors, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He is currently an Independent Advisor to Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies Group. Prior to Ayer, Mr. Raja worked for over 18 years at Equitable Real Estate Investment Management Inc. He founded the Capital Markets Group at the firm and was a pioneer in commercial mortgage securitization. He was a Portfolio Manager of Separate and Pooled Accounts for corporate and public pension funds. He served on the Board of Directors of Equitable Real Estate’s Capital Markets and Merchant Banking subsidiaries and Hines Corporate Properties. He has completed over $ 3 billion in real estate transactions.
Raja has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Management Team
Mihir Wankawala – CEO & Founder
Mr. Wankawala founded the Wankawala Organization (TWO) in 2005 with acquisition of its 1st property in Carlisle, PA. Mr. Wankawala specializes in making value-added, opportunistic investment in lodging and hospitality real estate sector. As chief executive officer, he provides overall strategic guidance for hotel operation as well oversees investment criteria for new acquisitions. He is responsible for acquisitions, market and investment analysis, brand positioning, and joint ventures. Prior to co-founding TWO, he worked at Verizon Communications as an accountant in their Philadelphia office where he handled all aspect of accounting functions.
Graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia with Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with concentration in accounting.
Lifetime member of Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA)
Tara Ditt Betz, CHA – Vice President Hotel Operations
Ms. Betz has the direct responsibility in maximizing the value at each property by providing in-depth operational strategy and asset management leadership. She has experience and broad knowledge of front office, housekeeping, food & beverage and sales & marketing operations and procedures. Tara has worked both full service convention hotels and focus service properties. She is actively involved with the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau where she has served as Chairperson of the Board of Directors. She serves on the Regional Advisory Board for the Choice Hotels Owners Council and is the current chair of the Regional Co-Op Marketing Committee. Ms. Betz is a graduate of Central Pennsylvania College with a degree in hotel/restaurant manager with a minor in travel and tourism.
She has earned the coveted Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) designation from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute..
Aziz Chakouk – Corporate Controller
Aziz, who has been with the Wankawala Organization for more than six years has accumulated a mix of financial & operations management experience and more than eight years of technology management & consulting background is responsible for direct supervision of all accounting and financial functions of the corporate reporting. Aziz’s other responsibilities include supervision of the monthly close process, monthly, quarterly and annual financial reporting to lenders & investors.Other duties that Aziz takes care of are supervising of monthly & quarterly reporting, monthly, quarterly and annual preparation of a reforecast, annual preparation of a budget, assist in the preparation of quarterly tax projections and annual tax return preparation and all treasury administration.
Krishma Patel – Corporate Office Manager
Krishma, who has graduated from Holy Family University with a BA degree in accounting, maintains office services by organizing office operations and procedures; preparing payroll; controlling correspondence; designing filing systems; reviewing and approving supply requisitions; assigning and monitoring general managers functions.Designs and implements office policies by establishing standards and procedures; measuring results against standards; making necessary adjustments. Keeps management informed by reviewing and analyzing special reports; summarizing information; identifying trends. Achieves financial objectives by preparing an annual budget; scheduling expenditures; analyzing variances; initiating corrective actions.
Nayya Patel – Staff Accountant
Nayya earned her bachelor’s degree in BSBA from Drexel University. She handles the daily accounts payable duties and our end of the month bookkeeping. She also addresses issues and maintains relationships with our general managers and vendors.Nayya also maintains and balances an automated consolidation system by inputting data; scheduling required jobs; verifying data.Analyzes information and options by developing spreadsheet reports; verifying information.Prepares general ledger entries by maintaining records and files; reconciling accounts.
Asghar Kasim – Director of Human Resources
Asghar earned his bachelor’s in Economics from Rutgers University. His vital roles with the organization include implementing human resources strategies by establishing department accountabilities, including talent acquisition, staffing, employment processing, compensation, health and 401K benefits, training and development, records management, safety and health, succession planning, employee relations and retention. Develops human resources operations financial strategies by estimating, forecasting, and anticipating requirements, trends, and variances; aligning monetary resources; developing action plans; measuring and analyzing results; initiating corrective actions; minimizing the impact of variances.
Derrek Davis – Food & Beverage Director
Derek started his culinary career at the age of 12 working at a sandwich shop owned by a family friend. He studied culinary arts and restaurant management in college. Derek went on a whirlwind apprenticeship working for some of the finest chefs in the nation at the time, from Gilbert LeCoze at LeBernardin and GeoffryZakarian at Le Cirque and Gerard Panguad in New York, to Jean Louis Palladin in D.C. Derek has also traveled extensively through the worlds wine regions and has even worked in multiple wineries, form picking grapes right on up to working on the bottling line. This lifetime of experience has made him into one of the leading chefs and restaurateurs of the Philadelphia region. Derek has trained and mentored countless chefs and managers along the way and his imprint can be found in just about every corner of the area.This lifetime of experience has made him into one of the leading chefs and restaurateurs of the Philadelphia region. Derek has trained and mentored countless chefs and managers along the way and his imprint can be found in just about every corner of the area. He was one of the very first practicing what they now call ‘farm to table” and organics. It is simple common sense cookery to him. The most seasonal, local, and uncomplicated foods is what he loves to offer and the vivid colors and full flavors is what turns him on.
Tifany Cooper – Director of Design and Construction
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