Published on:

Tom Callahan (1955-2016) — The passing of a great friend and hotel industry star

30 August 2016

We were greatly saddened to learn that on August 23, 2016, Tom Callahan of PKF and CBRE succumbed in his battle with cancer.

Tom was great friend and a giant in the hotel industry. Our friend and colleague, Jack Westergom, founder and CEO of Manhattan Hospitality Advisors summed things up pretty well in an email that said:

Tom was one of the most capable, knowledgeable, decent, honest, nice guys in our business. He was the poster boy for demonstrating that you could be highly effective and a good person at the same time. Tom enriched everyone’s life that he touched and left them feeling good about having gotten to know him. His great spirit will live on.

A memorial service has been scheduled for Saturday, September 17 at 10:00 AM at St. Hilary Catholic Church located at 761 Hilary Drive in Tiburon, California. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

Below is the notice released today by Tom’s colleagues at CBRE.



Date:      August 30, 2016

To:         CBRE Hotels, VAS and San Francisco Professionals

From:     Chris Kraus, Kevin Mallory, Scott Biethan and Thomas McDonnell

Subject:  Tom Callahan – In Memoriam

Thomas E. Callahan passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 23, at his home in San Geronimo, California after a courageous battle with cancer. Tom is survived by his wife Kathy Callahan, and his children Sarah (20) and Paul (19).

Tom was born on April 18, 1955 in Spokane Washington and graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration.

Following graduation, Tom began what was to be a long and fulfilling career with the Pannell Kerr Forster accounting firm. Over the years he served as Partner in Charge of the PKF offices in Dallas, Houston, Boston and Los Angeles. In 1992, Tom and a number of PKF partners split from the tax and accounting firm to form Pannell Kerr Forster Consulting, which was soon recognized as the premier hotel advisory and valuation firm in the United States. Tom served as Chief Executive Officer of PKF Consulting USA and the Partner in Charge of the San Francisco office.

In 2014, Tom guided the sale of PKF Consulting USA to CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG) where his role was Senior Managing Director and National Practice Leader for CBRE Hotels, a specialized advisory group within CBRE. Tom also served as a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Ashford Hospitality Trust (NYSE:AHT), a self-administered Real Estate Investment Trust.

Tom’s accreditations were numerous. He was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a member of the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE), a Member of the Appraisal Institute (MAI) and Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS). He was a true giant within the national and local San Francisco hotel scenes. Tom was a frequent guest speaker at industry conferences and his opinions and wisdom were often quoted in national and industry publications.

Tom will be remembered not only for the number of lives he touched throughout his professional career but also for his youthful and infectious spirit, which he shared with his many friends and colleagues on golf courses, sailboats, ski slopes, snowmobiles, and around restaurant tables.

Chris Kraus
Managing Director
CBRE Hotels’ Consulting

Kevin Mallory
Senior Managing Director
Global Head, CBRE Hotels

Scott Biethan
Senior Managing Director
CBRE Hotels’ Consulting

Thomas McDonnell
CBRE | Valuation & Advisory Services

This is Jim Butler, author of and hotel lawyer, signing off. Why don’t you give us a call (or send an email) and let us know what you working on? We would like to see if our experience might help you create value or avoid unnecessary pitfalls. Who’s your hotel lawyer?

Our Perspective. We represent hotel owners, developers and investors. We have helped our clients find business and legal solutions for more than $71 billion of hotel transactions. As of June 30, 2016, we have closed more than $1 billion of EB-5 financing for our clients, and sourced more than $700 million for their projects.

As a client, our unparalleled experience means that you get:

  • better, faster, more cost-effective results
  • greater certainty of execution while avoiding costly missteps or missed opportunities
  • added credibility from our experience and reputation
  • greater confidence that you will get the best deal possible

If you would like chat about how we might help you achieve your hotel goals–with EB-5 financing or otherwise– please contact Jim Butler. And of course, there is no charge for our initial discussion.

Jim Butler