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Alan E. "Al" Gallo, CHAE ('82)

President & CEO
Health Club at Travis Place (Houston)

Lectured April 3, 2014

Al Gallo was born on Chicago's South Side, around 123rd and Halsted, in what was once a European neighborhood made up of predominantly Italian, Polish, Lithuanian and Jewish families. He literally grew up as a "hotel brat" and has been fortunate to be around hotels throughout his life. His mother worked in accounting at Sherwin Williams Chicago paint factory, but his father, who retired from Hilton Hotels after 35 years of service, worked at the Fontainebleu in Florida, the Conrad N. Hilton Hotel in Chicago, The Palmer House in Chicago and the Hilton Los Angeles Airport.

Al's first brush with the hospitality business began while he was still in high school, when he took a job at The Left Bank French Restaurant as a dishwasher and prep cook. During this time, Al also worked at Chicago's Conrad N. Hilton Hotel—now the Chicago Hilton and Towers—on Michigan Avenue. At the Hilton, Al worked as a front desk agent, a union banquet waiter and, one summer, he worked alongside his brother as a bellman under the supervision of his father, who was then the assistant manager.

After high school, Al's father made him aware of a scholarship for Hilton employees and suggested that he apply to the University of Houston's Hilton College. As fate would have it, he was accepted and awarded a full scholarship. During his time at Hilton College, Al worked part-time at the Renaissance hotel (formerly Stouffer's) as a night auditor, which is where he caught the "accounting bug."

Following graduation in 1982, Al took a position as controller for The Savoy Hotel, earning $7 an hour. He went on to work in controller positions at Mariner Hotels and Rosewood Hotels (The Remington) before venturing out on his own to start Gallo's New York Style Pizzeria in Plano, Texas. The pizza business did not work out as well as planned, so he got back into the hospitality business he knew best. In 1988, he earned the credential of Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE).

Al then held a variety of positions for The Woodlands Corp., including controller, GM of the resort, GM of the country club and, lastly, controller of The San Luis Resort & Condominiums. His next stop was Del Lago Golf Resort and Country Club, where he served as general manager. Finally, he went to work for the Redstone Companies, where he has been for the last 14 years.

His many accomplishments include being named CFO of the year in 2009 by The Houston Business Journal. He has also served as chairman of The Woodlands Kiwanis annual prayer breakfast, and is an ordained deacon from StoneBridge Church in The Woodlands. Al has taught Hospitality Financial Planning as an adjunct lecturer for Hilton College's graduate program and was chairman of the Houston Chapter of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals.

He has three children who are all proud University of Houston Cougars. Chris ('09) has a degree in computer programming; Rachael ('08) graduated Cum Laude from Hilton College; and Grace is in her third year at Moores School of Music, where she plays the drum in the Spirit of Houston marching band.