Our Team

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Jerald P. Eichelberger
CEO, CFO & Director


Jerry co-founded Essex and its affiliates and has served as an officer and director since inception. He previously was a co-founder of a residential land development and construction firm, has served on the boards of community organizations and most recently the Foundation Board of the Villa of Hope.  Jerry is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and received an MBA from the University of Rochester. His primary activities involve the strategic and financial direction of the company and acquisition and disposition of properties.

Barbara J. Purvis
President and Director


Since joining an affiliate of Essex in 1983, Barbara has held numerous positions of increasing scope and responsibility, including COO and CFO. She has served on the Microtel Franchise Advisory Committee, is a member of the management committee for the Greater Rochester Housing Partnership Tax Credit Funds and serves on the boards of several community agencies.  Barbara graduated from Northern Arizona University and earned an MBA from the University of Rochester. Her primary activities are business development and relationship management.

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John Kattato
Vice President of Operations


John joined Essex in 2003 as a Regional Manager. In his current position, he is responsible for directing the activities of the operations team. Prior to joining Essex, John spent five years as a full-service general manager with MeriStar/ Interstate Hotels and Resorts and ten years with Konover Hotel Corporation as a general manager, where he participated in pre-opening, acquisition and distressed property task forces. John has served on the ITT Sheraton Front Office Advisory Board, Radisson's Regional Marketing Association Board and has been an officer and board member of the Rochester Hotel Association. He earned a degree in Hospitality Management from Niagara University and holds the designation of Certified Hotel Administrator.

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Keith W. Shugerts
Director of Hotel Development
and FF&E


Keith joined Essex in 1994 and is responsible for coordinating all capital improvement projects, as well as activities related to the development and construction of new hotels. He also oversees the purchasing of interior and exterior items such as furnishings, fixtures, equipment, appliances and landscaping. In addition, Keith has provided oversight for residential operations. He is a past president of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Hospitality Alumni Society and a board member of the RIT Alumni Network. Keith holds a BS degree in Hotel & Resort Management from RIT.

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Jonathan R. Clark


Jonathan joined Essex in 2012 and currently oversees the accounting operations and financial reporting for the Company and the portfolio properties.  Previously he served as Hotel Portfolio Controller for Essex.  Prior to joining Essex, he held a number of hotel operations positions and also served in the dual role as head of human resources and accounting for two full-service hotels. Jonathan graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BS degree in Hotel & Resort Management and an MS degree in Service Leadership & Innovation.

Cheryl Huhn
Corporate Director of Revenue


Cheryl joined Essex in 2018. She is responsible for working alongside each hotel team and the brands’ revenue management departments to optimize rates, manage room inventory and strategize business mix to drive revenues and improve market share.  Prior to joining Essex, Cheryl spent 14 years as the Revenue Manager for the Strathallan DoubleTree by Hilton in Rochester.  Before that she served as the Corporate Director Revenue Management for E.J. DelMonte hotels, was an Area Director of Reservation Sales for Marriott World Wide Reservation Center, and was a Portfolio Revenue Manager for IHG Hotels.  She has a degree in Hotel Management from SUNY Delhi and also attended the University of South Carolina for Hospitality.

Chris Mellone
Director of
Hotel Performance


Chris has been with Essex since 2008, serving as General Manager for the Hampton Inn in Webster, New York and is now responsible for driving top line performance for the entire portfolio and addressing operating needs of specific properties. Prior to joining Essex, his past roles include Assistant GM and General Manager for Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Residence Inn by Marriott, Radisson Hotel and Suites, and Homewood Suites by Hilton. While Chris was GM at the Webster Hampton Inn, the hotel won two Lighthouse Awards (2010 and 2012) and Circle of Excellence. Chris began his career at Embassy Suites in Syracuse before graduating from Canisius College with a BS in Hospitality Management. He has also studied abroad at Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland and holds the designation of Certified Hotel Administrator.

HR Works, Inc.
HR Consultant

Essex contracts with HR Works for much of its human resource needs. HR Works provides the knowledge and expertise that enables Essex to stay abreast of the ever changing requirements of administering to its employees. You can learn more about HR Works by visiting www.hrworks-inc.com.