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John Emery Named Chief Executive Officer of The Great Lakes Companies; Owner, Operator of Destination Resorts
Under the Great Wolf Lodge Brand Name 
MADISON, Wis., December 15, 2003 — The Great Lakes Companies, Inc., a privately held real estate development, ownership and management company, specializing in family destination resorts with signature indoor waterparks under the Great Wolf Lodge® brand name, today announced that John Emery will join the company in January 2004 as chief executive officer.  
 
“We have established the Great Wolf Lodge brand concept with four resorts open in the Midwest, two under construction and five in early development,” said Craig Stark, Great Lakes president.  “John’s role will be to help us take advantage of the substantial growth opportunities available to us in today’s marketplace.  

Demographics and leisure travel patterns are at the core of a growing trend toward family-oriented vacations, usually within driving distance from home, which is creating an exceptional growth opportunity for our concept and brand.”
 
“Great Lakes has all the key components necessary for growth,” Emery said.  “It has a well-recognized brand with a loyal following in its markets, is a skilled resort operator and has substantial ownership of all of its properties.  This combination allows the company to control its destiny, especially as the resort and hotel industry show positive signs of a rebound.  The brand has a unique niche, which we believe has substantial domestic and international growth potential.”

Emery, 39, is the former president and chief operating officer of Interstate Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHR), the nation’s largest independent third-party management company with more than 300 hotels in six countries.  He joined the company, then called CapStar, in 1995 when it owned four hotels and managed 40 properties.  Following a successful IPO, the company acquired more than 120 hotels and completed several major mergers, ultimately creating Interstate and MeriStar Hospitality Corporation (NYSE: MHX), the nation’s third largest real estate investment trust.  Emery was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility and scope at both companies, and is a former president and chief operating officer of MeriStar Hospitality.
 
Prior to that, Emery was a senior manager with the accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche, LLP.  He is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech.  

Emery serves on the Pamplin College of Business advisory council at Virginia Tech, and is executive director of Stone Circle Foundation, a private, non-profit organization that addresses women and children in need.  He is a former member of the board of directors of Interstate Hotels & Resorts and MeriStar Hospitality.

Founded in 1992, The Great Lakes Companies, Inc. owns and operates destination resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge brand name in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Kansas.  Each property offers 250-300 suites and between 33,000 and 100,000 square feet of indoor waterparks.  

Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark resorts offer families a first-class, year-round, weather-proof, drive-to family destination.  The northwoods-themed, log lodge resorts include amenities such as themed restaurants and gift shops, spa, arcade, atrium lobby and massive, state-of-the-art indoor waterparks.


 
Contact:
Erin Payne
Great Lakes
(608) 251-6400
Also See: The Great Lakes Companies Breaks Ground on $54 million Blue Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Include 40,000 square-foot Indoor Waterpark / July 2003
Hotel Waterparks Grow Throughout Midwest, Product Ready for National Expansion / Bill Haralson and 
Jeff Coy / April 2002
Wisconsin Developers Building $48 million Great Wolf Lodge and Water Park Resort in Lightfoot, Virginia / December 2003


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