Remembering Jay

Publisher Allen Rolleri and I wrote personal pieces in the August 21st issue of Hotel Business, shortly after Jay Schultz’s passing on August 1. We told of our meeting him, working with him and being mentored by him—and of our friendship with him. There’s so much to be said—perhaps, too much that could be—so for this, our cover story, “Remembering Jay,” we decided that the best tribute to him is having the industry he loved so much describe the mark he made on it and the legacy he leaves…and return the love.

It’s no surprise to anyone who knew him well that Jay was a family man first, but also very much a Hotel Business family man. We reached out to his wife, Mary Jo, and asked her to share with our readers some thoughts about the man she shared 30 years of marriage with—and shared with the hotel industry.

Christina Trauthwein, Editor-in-Chief

I met Jay on December 1, 1986. He was the new advertising salesman for a local hometown newspaper, and had come into my office hoping to sell an ad. As he left the building, I turned to my coworkers and said, “I am going to marry that man.” I went to my supervisor, begged him to buy an ad from “this guy,” even if I had to pay for the ad myself. Thankfully, he listened.  Jay sent me flowers to thank me the next day…he proposed on our third date, and we have been together ever since. He was a closer even back then.

I am confident when I say that our family was Jay’s first love, but anyone who knew him, knows that Hotel Business magazine and the ICD family were a very close second. We learned how to share him with all of you very quickly. The entire hospitality industry was with us every weekend, came with us on every vacation, because when an idea struck, wherever that may be, Jay had to “get it down.” The ever-present pen and date book in his back pocket (you all know how old school he was), made many a sale, from across the country—or even across the world. I could tell many stories about what a consummate salesman and leader he was, but you all know that already. I have received so many letters and cards recalling just how loved and respected he was in the industry, both personally and professionally. His family treasures these notes, and will look back at them over the years and remind us just how much of a giant he was to anyone who knew him. Jay had a philosophy that he taught to our son from a very young age: “When you can look yourself in the face as you shave in the morning, you know you are living your life the right way.” His family will carry on that philosophy, carry on Jay’s legacy of kindness, generosity, loyalty and, most of all, love for his “other” family. ICD is a part of our lives forever.  Jay’s loyalty to them was repaid tenfold during his long illness, and that is something that will never be forgotten. His love for his coworkers was reciprocated and obvious, both before and after his death. That will stay with us longer than any flowers or cards—or even the ink used to print the next issue of Hotel Business… which, of course, I will have to read, cover to cover, because Jay wouldn’t have it any other way. Still the best closer in the business!!

Mary Jo Schultz

The industry lost an icon in hospitality media. I lost an iconic friend. I lost someone who I looked up to in many ways. I lost a friend who was always available to comfort me at any time. I lost someone who cared for me, and he showed me how to be a family man. I would not be surprised if a majority of the people in our industry feel the same way as I do.

Jay and I grew up in the industry together. He was a dedicated father and husband, and he always reminded me and everybody that family comes first. Jay was always humble, giving, caring and patient. He had an unforgettable personal touch. Every time I saw him, I got that special “Jay hug” that I will always remember. Jay cared, and he cared about others more than himself.

Jay was instrumental in changing the landscape of hospitality media in many ways. His contribution to our industry is remarkable. I will never forget his contagious smile and humble presence—a brilliant mind who continued to offer guidance to his team, industry and us until the last day of his life.

Jay will be missed but always remembered. He will always be in our lives.

Rajiv Travedi
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Jay was always getting the most out of life, and truly loved our business and the people in it.

I first got to know him almost 20 years ago when he invited me to participate in a think tank with several other industry leaders about the future of IT in hospitality. We spent several days together, and I got to know him as someone who asked a lot of questions and really listened to the answers. This was in the early days of our company when we were not so well known, and he always gave us the opportunity to show ourselves in a positive light and get some important exposure. It was clear to me that he was most interested in building long-term relationships, and he has been a close friend ever since.

Whenever I’d see Jay, he was eager to share what was going on in his world, and he was genuinely interested in what I had to say. We’d discuss wives, kids, current events and business, and his caring attitude was so strong, that you felt he was a part of your own family.

My life is richer—and our industry is better and stronger—because of Jay Schultz.

Gerry Chase
Chase Hospitality Advisors

Jay was a quietly inspiring figure. I remember the first time I met him, and how astonished I was by his knowledge of—and his deep relationships in—the hospitality field. We met over cocktails and I was impressed that he knew more about my firm, Baskervill, than I did at that early stage. He knew every detail of a highly secretive project we were working on in Manhattan and proceeded to teach me more over martinis than I’ve learned in years of practice. I left the dinner party thinking this is a brilliant man—and that impression was reinforced each time we met. A great light has gone out, but his legacy will endure for generations.  

Gary Inman

Over the last 20-plus years, we had the genuine pleasure of knowing Jay. He was a regular at The Lodging Conference, as well as every other hotel industry event. We knew when we walked into an event that Jay would be there because he was always there—he never missed a conference, a trade show, a dinner or a fundraiser. We would embrace, discuss business, share information and talk about our families. Clearly, Jay was passionate about hotels, about his beloved magazine, about his colleagues, and all the people who make up this close-knit part of the hospitality community. It was always inspiring to see Jay at all the events despite his illness. He refused to give up and he demonstrated incredible spirit and unwavering bravery by continuing to show up. He loved the industry, and we loved him. Farewell Jay. We will miss you! 

Harry Javer and Liz Wolff
The Lodging Conference

Sitting down to write a tribute to Jay was a task I never thought I would have to do. You see, our story begins years ago when I took leadership for hospitality sales at Simmons. My basic hospitality experience was around the 100-nights-a-year I “personally” stayed in a hotel room.

Our journey began when I was introduced to a guy named Jay Schultz who had just joined Hospitality Design magazine. You may find this remarkable: Our first meeting was not Jay selling me ad space. We spent our time just talking about the industry and how our team could make an impact. That day began my personal journey with Jay, and a friendship lasting many years. He was a mentor to me.

While Jay was the consummate salesperson, he was a wonderful friend. I remember the day he called to tell me about his cancer. We talked about family and the journey he would be on with the disease. During his recovery, we spoke often, sharing his progress and his goal of returning to work. He is one of the most positive people I have ever met. 

Never did a conversation occur when we did not talk about faith, family and the NFL…specifically, the Jets. You might ask why would a guy from Georgia engage in a conversation about the Jets—because I am a Giants fan, better yet, an “Ole Miss” Eli Manning fan. So, we had multiple discourses on the virtues of the two teams. I included, here, the photo he sent me of this monster banner he placed in his yard for Game Day.

I saw Jay in person for the last time at the ALIS Conference this year. “He wanted to visit.” I walked into the lounge and there he sat in his sport coat patiently waiting for me. His first words were, “How are you doing? How are the kids?” We talked about life, his and mine. We talked about industry stuff.  Then we hugged and said our farewells.

Jay Schultz was one of the kindest people I have ever called friend. His strength during his long illness is an example for all of us. 

I am pretty sure heaven has a hospitality publication by now.

Steve Tipton

Jay Schultz was that rare combination: A classic gentlemen, quiet, understated and even old-fashioned in his sensibilities. But, at the same time, dynamic, broad thinking, open to and at the vanguard of change in the industry. He was a remarkable human being and industry leader.

In the more-than-two decades I knew and worked closely with Jay, he was unfailingly cheerful, optimistic and forward-looking. He had nothing but good things to say about others, he took every business seriously and saw the potential in every conversation, whether it took place with the 20-something founder of a technology start-up company, or a seasoned hotel veteran who had made a great fortune many times over.

That’s because Jay never measured the worth of an idea, a person or an enterprise in dollars alone. He was an arbiter of excellence; he was thoughtful, measured, open and saw the potential for mutual upside everywhere. You never felt like you were imposing on his time because Jay Schultz gave everyone his due and saw value in every association he had. And he had many!

Jay was also a consummate salesman, and understood that Rosetta stone of great sales: That a salesman, ultimately, never sells a product or service—he sells himself.

Jay did a lot of great selling and built a thriving business to show for it.

He was also a great family man and loved to dote on the activities and achievements of his loved ones.

Lots of things will never be the same without him—media tours with clients, coffee breaks at hotel industry conferences, and the occasional commiseration at Citi Field as together we watched our beloved New York Mets suffer another difficult defeat.

Our industry was richer for Jay’s work and presence. It’s a blessing for all of us that we knew him.

Michael Frenkel

When one says business is a good excuse to make friends, this was truly the case with Jay. Jay and I met in 1993 and have remained close ever since. A friend, a confidante and a remarkable gentleman, Jay knew exactly what was important to his customers and never ever pushed, just gently guided and advised. There is a huge void in the hospitality industry with Jay gone, and an even larger one personally with the untimely loss of this wonderful man, who I was honored to call a friend.

David Goldstone

I have been lucky to work alongside many colleagues in an industry that I love.  Jay and I worked together on many different things over the years, but he was much more than a colleague. I was lucky enough to call him a true friend—and I counted our friendship not in years but in decades.

Jay was a person who genuinely cared and always took the time to find out what was happening in your life. Even after his health was failing, he worried about the well-being of his friends. Even when things were at their worst, I would try to focus him on the issues with which he was dealing and he would turn it into what was important in my life, often including counsel that he thought might be helpful. People thought of Jay differently because he treated them differently. If there was something that was important to me you could bet that Jay would make the time to get on a plane and be there. I always wanted to do a little extra to help him out not only because that’s what he did for others, but because he was such a good soul.

He was also a first-rate media executive who always did the right thing, usually going above and beyond. Even if I advised him to miss an industry event in order to focus on himself, I could generally expect to see him at the event anyway. Because he loved what he did so much and loved his industry so much, it was too important to him to let the challenges that he was having in life get in the way of his involvement.

Jay was a good person and a good friend. I was blessed to have him in my life and will miss him very much.

Michael G. Medzigian
Watermark Capital Partners

Jay was an active and creative member of the advisory board for the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference. One story that comes to mind was Jay’s enthusiastic response when the idea for the conference to recognize and honor a hotel industry person was first presented to the advisory board. Jay immediately grabbed the idea and supported it wholeheartedly.  He thought big—and creatively. A video, a portrait, a cover story in Hotel Business. All those ideas were his and came immediately to him and flowed easily. His enthusiasm and positive attitude were contagious.

Jay, thank you for your enthusiastic support and wise guidance. RIP knowing you were appreciated and that you made a positive difference!

The Hunter Team

I am grateful to be a proud member of our hotel fraternity. It is because of Jay that I was introduced and allowed to become part of this wonderful group of men and women. From the first day I met Jay—and although I was very unimportant not only within the industry but to him and his business—Jay treated me as an equal, and actually as an important person. Through the years, Jay became a friend in every way. I loved his passion for his talented son and his never-ending good humor. He returned every call, and never failed to greet and make my wife feel important at every event. He was a true ambassador for our industry. His last several years were not easy, but his determination, courage and always-positive attitude gave us all strength and hope. To me, he is an uncelebrated icon of our business—irreplaceable but never to be forgotten.

Richard Millard
Trust Hospitality

Until we meet again, Jay. You were a thoughtful difference maker. A kind man who lived with integrity, perseverance and purpose. In addition to all those who knew you personally, you made an indelible impression on the hospitality industry. You made a difference by being intensely aware of—and drawing attention to—all the happenings in our changing world, and you’ve been a part of that change by engaging so many into the conversation. For that, I’m grateful. More impactful to me, and I’m certain many others, I’m most privileged to call you friend. I will miss you greatly.

Bill Linehan
RLH Corp.

I miss Jay Schultz. Our entire industry misses Jay Schultz. His profound example of personal courage and dignity remain with us. In the good times, he was a huge supporter of and friend to the hotel business and to all of us. In the hardest of times for himself, he was a huge supporter of and friend to the hotel business and all of us. He never faded from the field, so to speak.

Jay helped my career over time in so many ways: interviews; panel assignments; stories about deals and companies where I worked. Always generous with his time and always up for a dinner group at a conference, Jay engaged consistently with me. While I was away from the industry for several years, Jay got me involved with his in-law Henry Schwartz, who owned the Elmhurst Dairy on Long Island—the largest and last dairy in the immediate New York City area. We discussed possible master plans for its redevelopment, and I appreciated Jay’s trust in me. Then, in 2012, when I decided to come back to the lodging business, he added me to the cover of the magazine and wrote a story, as well as announcing that I was back and joining The Marcus Corporation. This was quite an “assist” to help me relaunch.

Thank you, Hotel Business, for including me to help honor Jay’s life  and career.

Bill Reynolds
MCS Capital – The Marcus Corporation

When Melissa and I started Magnuson Worldwide back in 2003, one of the first people in the industry to come forward and offer help and encouragement was Jay Schultz. At the time, we were a home-based, start-up company with a concept little understood. I’ll never forget how earnest, elegant and sincere Jay was in helping a small company.

I don’t know how he managed it, but over the years, Jay always was there and always stayed in touch. I remember one time I ran into him late at night in the Salt Lake City Airport, waiting for a flight to Spokane, WA. I asked him where he was going, and he said, “I’m coming to Spokane to see you!” He was the kind of guy who just got on a plane and got things done.

Melissa and I will miss Jay tremendously, and extend our love to his wife, Mary Jo, and his son, Jamie.

Tom Magnuson
Magnuson Worldwide

In all of my years in this industry, I have been so very fortunate to meet so many wonderful people. Of all of those, I place Jay at the very (very) top of this list. To be sure, he accomplished so very much in his professional life. A wise counselor to many—a mentor to many more—and a friend to all. I trusted, completely, in his judgment and suggestions on matters related to the business. And, he was never wrong. He was very much like an “in-house” media director. And did the role well. But, this relationship morphed into him becoming a dear friend. His thoughtfulness was beyond compare. Knowing that I am a JFK “fanatic,” he never missed an opportunity to send me a book…or piece of memorabilia he might find at a garage sale or auction. Magazines, books, pins and buttons, albums and more. Even near his end, he scooped something up he saw somewhere, and sent it. The point being, of course, is this: He was an amazing human being who has impacted scores of us—in many ways. It is not hyperbole to say: Jay, you will be greatly missed.

Eric Danziger
Trump Hotels

I will always appreciate Jay’s desire to network and connect people to each other. He had this great ability to join together both the like-minded, as well as individuals who see the world differently, in order to create great conversation and sort through some of the challenges in our industry. At a time when so many of us feel disconnected and rushed through life and work, Jay was always taking a moment to acknowledge the things that bind us together. I am better having known Jay, and will always appreciate and admire his unique contribution to our industry.

Diana Dobin
Valley Forge Fabrics Inc.

Jay loved people—and in return, he was loved by many people.  I am enthusiastically one of them.

Jay was what I describe as an “old-fashioned modern man.” His values and character were solidly traditional—his handshake and his word were his bond. But his vision was contemporary and cutting edge. He didn’t just think about doing things, he acted. For example, he implemented innovative improvements in how Hotel Business delivered the news and engaged readers—such as new cover styles like multi-wraps and fold-outs.

Every day didn’t smile on Jay, but he smiled on every day of life. He always had a positive outlook that was infectious. His attitude and character usually entered the room before he did.

As publisher of the hotel industry’s most prestigious trade magazine, Jay was always being asked for favors—a lower ad rate, a better ad position, more prominent story coverage. He always remained fair, ethical, impartial, unbiased.

Because so many people wanted special treatment from Jay, I found it especially fun and satisfying to do special things for him and with him.

My fondest example of this involves his beloved New York Jets football team. During one of Jay’s visits to Atlanta—where my wife, Rita, and I live—we took Jay and his guests to watch his Jets play our hometown Atlanta Falcons. What Jay did not know until the elevator doors opened at the stadium: We arranged to be on field level for pre-game warm-ups by both teams. His complete surprise and pure joy are a vibrant memory for us—even now.

Humility is for the living, so let me describe Jay properly even if it may mean being politically incorrect. In fact, Jay would probably really enjoy me being politically incorrect! Here goes: The simple fact is that some people are better than others. They’re smarter; they work harder; they’re more creative thinkers; they’re more clever; they are more fun; and they are harder to replace. Jay Schultz was one of those people. Death ended his life, but not our relationship.

Peter G. Mathon
Mathon & Associates

It was  always a pleasure talking with Jay—and meeting with Jay was like meeting your best friend. We were fortunate to have had Jay as an ambassador for our industry. So Jay, I will do a little rewrite on an old Irish prayer:
The road has risen up to meet you.
The wind will be forever gentle on  your back.
The sun will always be warm upon  your face,
And the rains will always be soft upon your fields.
For now God holds you in the palm of  His hand.

                                                David Tibbs
D Tibbs & Assoicates Inc.

Watch out tribute video at

In his words

Jay loved having the chance to write a column in Hotel Business. Never seeing it as a chore but rather an opportunity—and one that he often sought—he loved sharing his stories, his opinions and his insights with the industry he loved so much. Here, in his own words, are some of those perspectives—excerpts from his column—he offered in his beloved magazine.

On Kirk Kinsell’s promotion at IHG…
By no means was I surprised by this news. To many throughout the industry, it had never been a question of if, but always when, Kinsell would take the reins of the company’s largest operating region. On a personal level, I was happy to hear that Kirk was coming back to the states. Back in the mid ’90s, he and I collaborated on a number of franchise development marketing initiatives. Mind you, this was during a time that most trade advertising concepts were about as exciting as watching paint dry… By far, my favorite project was a Field of Dreams—“Build it and they will come”—advertising concept featuring Kirk in an open field posing next to a Four Points Hotels sign.

In a column titled “Hotel industry could use more of a woman’s touch”…
Sallie Krawcheck’s departure earlier this month from Bank of America Corporation is just one more example of the ongoing difficulty women executives have had securing, as well as maintaining, C-level jobs in the hospitality, finance and real estate fields. Krawcheck…leaves a noticeable void of women holding senior-level positions in the aforementioned industries. One could definitely say that Krawcheck’s untimely departure is a classic example of “taking one step forward and two steps back”… I took into account the male versus female ratio at any of the hotel industry investment conferences: Enough said… These events are overwhelmingly dominated by men. It seems that, as an industry, we could do a better job of recruiting, promoting and retaining the best and brightest female executives. There’s little question that our industry has a tremendous amount of female talent within its ranks…

On asking the industry to step up to make IHMRS better…
This will be my 24th straight year attending the show. There’s one thing that has always been consistent for me: The feeling that nothing could be better than being in the world’s greatest city during the fall. That feeling has not necessarily subsided, but I must admit the excitement and buzz leading up to the show has waned a bit over the last few years. Let’s face it, IHMRS isn’t what it used to be. I frequently talk about how the show once was. It was the time when the entire marketplace would convene to recap the year just wrapping up, and begin planning and forecasting for the year to come. Both exhibit floors, upstairs and downstairs…seemed to be filled wall to wall… My intention here isn’t to live in the past, point fingers, nor put the sole responsibility for the show’s decline on the shoulders of the management company (GLM), its owners, the AHLA, or the Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC) and the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association… My objective is to challenge the entire industry to work on a solution together.

On casinos aiding a revival of New York’s famous Catskills region…
…For more than a century, families from the New York Metropolitan area spent their summer vacations at hotels and resorts spread throughout the upstate New York counties—simply known as the Catskills… At its high point, there were more than 1,000 properties operating throughout the region… Over the years, scores of iconic entertainers honed their skill on hotel stages throughout the region. Unfortunately, in the mid- to late-1960s, declines at many Catskills resorts were apparent… The 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s took more of a dramatic toll on the more lavish establishments… The good news is the region may be positioned for a revival. I am not naive enough to think the Catskills will ever recapture its glorious past. However, casinos, a couple of resorts along with a conference center or two, combined with a few limited-service properties surrounding each, may at least provide a glimmer of the regions’ historic past.

On Hotel Business and its place in the market (in 2012)…
…I can report and, perhaps, even brag a bit that Hotel Business is ranked as the hospitality industry’s number-one publication in advertising market share. Needless to say, winning has always brought me a tremendous amount of personal and professional satisfaction; however, this year, reflection needs to be added to the list of emotions as I look back at Hotel Business’ outstanding campaign. It’s been just about 18 months since being diagnosed with an illness that made 2011 one of the lonest and most trying years of my entire life… I think of how each team member not only went out of their way to cover for me during my illness, but how each went above and beyond. They did not allow an extremely difficult business environment stand in the way of Hotel Business having one of its best years ever. Leading in market share is an honor we do not take lightly. We accept this recognition with great pride and humility, understanding such an honor reflects the invaluable support of so many members of the great industry.

On his love of lists and how the hotel industry should be represented…
Anyone who reads this column knows I am a big fan of lists… Fast Company’s annual “Most Creative People” caught my eye. The ranking is described as “a celebration of business innovators who dare to think differently. The ones taking risks and discovering surprising new solutions to old problems.” The lineup is a diverse group of executives representing multiple areas of business, technology, entertainment, etc. So do you know where I’m going with this? I’m sure you do. The hotel industry is not represented on this list. One can take this in a number of ways: 1) Is there no person from our ranks worthy of consideration? or 2) as an industry, are we overlooked? I do believe we have not spent a lot of time “tooting our own horn” on some of the wonderful and cutting-edge accomplishments we have realized over the past few years. It’s time to start bragging and getting the message out that the hospitality industry is just as creative as any other industry.

On the annual Green Book…
Allow me to clear up any confusion: The Hotel Business annual Green Book has absolutely nothing to do with sustainability. As a matter of fact, the only thing “green” about the Green Book is the color of the cover and the ink used to print it. This is truly an example for one to “never judge a book by its cover.” Nope, simply put, green is the color of money and our objective when creating the publication years ago was to offer our readers all of the facts, figures and analysis needed for them to maximize the revenue (money) generated at their respective properties.

On advocating for a worthy cause: Stand Up to Cancer…
…SU2C is a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get therapies to patients quickly and save lives. The “Stay the Night, Join the Fight” campaign encourages travelers to turn a basic task—booking a hotel room—into a fundraising tool. For every hotel stay reserved through, Room Key has committed to donating $1 to SU2C. In regard to the campaign, it was Jim Burba and Bob Hayes of the Burba Hotel Network (BHN) who initiated the relationship between Room Key and SU2C, and became the venture’s leading advocates as well.

On the cover story interview with the chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts…
I have been a fan of The Walt Disney Company for as long as I can remember. First, as a child… years later, as my business career was starting off, I took an interest in the Disney brand. I read everything I could get my hands on. I became fascinated with Disney as a business… There was never a detail too big or too small. I do have my Disney name-dropping story. In 2006 while at ALIS, I had the opportunity to sit next to Michael Eisner during a luncheon celebrating his Lifetime Achievement Award. He was engaging, and even a bit chatty. Who knows, this may have had something to do with his recent exit from Disney—and consequently, a little less stress in his life—but I got to spend an hour with him. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

On attending many industry events…
It’s that time—time to start racking up those frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty club points. It’s show time. If you think about it, if an industry executive were so inclined, he or she could literally attend an event, or even two, per week… I bet you’re waiting for me to say next that there are too many conferences and conventions. On the contrary, I feel that each of these events is important and that there is room for each one. They are the most economical and efficient way to network. Is it possible to attend them all? Of course not. I do, however, recommend that you go to one or two. As I tell anyone who will listen: The only way to be truly successful in this market is to create and maintain relationships with everyone involved in the decision-making process. The easiest way to accomplish this is to be out there pressing the flesh.

On the industry prevailing, despite tough times…
…I can think of several sayings that appropriately describe the trying times that continue to plague certain aspects of our industry. These expressions include “when the rubber hits the road”; “the moment of truth”; “survival of the fittest”; “that’s what separates the men from the boys” and, of course, “…the women from the girls.” On the surface, they seem like clichés, but each is rooted in the stark reality that in times like these, making the right decisions can be the difference between success and failure. Many of these decisions can be gut-wrenching, particularly with regard to moves like employee salary and benefit reductions, layoffs and furloughs. However, for the sake of survival, these decisions have to be made. I think it’s safe to say those who adapted and developed strategies for “the new normal” economy are in a much better position to succeed than the companies that kept their heads buried in the sand… The days of pure patronage and relationship deals have been deemed a thing of the past. Just for clarification, I am not saying relationships are any less important in today’s environment. What I am saying is: Relationships are one piece of the puzzle. The reality is a relationship without a better mousetrap just won’t cut it any more.

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