Flagship Services Corporation (FSC), headquartered in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is dedicated to the management and development of hotel and resort properties.
Flagship Services is the owner-operator of the Verdanza Hotel, a member of Summit Hotels & Resorts of the Preferred Hotel Group, in Isla Verde.
Flagship Services’ portfolio also includes Owner Representation for Four Seasons Cayo Largo Resort in Puerto Rico’s east coast, as well as other hotel and resort properties in the Caribbean region.
Flagship Services Corporation was established in1986 by Richard E. Abati, an experienced hospitality professional. The firm operated as an independent hotel development and operating company in Texas, taking on projects for the Resolution Trust Corporation in numerous states, as well as projects for private entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico.
Abati brought to Flaship Services the expertise acquired as a senior executive for American Airlines’ Flagship Hotels subsidiary, later renamed Americana Hotels, Inc. He was instrumental in the financial turnaround of several Americana Hotel properties (including the Americana San Juan) in the early 1970’s.
In 1991, Richard Abati, teamed up with Rick Newman and, together with Flagship, took on the reengineering of the financially-troubled Sands Hotel & Casino in Isla Verde, a tourist area of San Juan in Puerto Rico. Through their efforts, the Sands became one of the strongest competitors in the market
In 1997 the Sands was purchased by Donaldson Lufkin & Jennrete’s (DLJ) Real Estate Capital Partners I (RECP I), which retained Flagship as operator and project manager for a major renovation of the property. Flagship further strengthened the property’s position, developing it into a financial success. In 2000, having reached its targeted financial objective, the property was sold to the InterContinental Hotels Group.
Today, Flagship Services Corporation, presided by Rick Newman, is a versatile hospitality organization with expertise in a range of areas that include operational, marketing, and development services to individual investors, lenders, and developers.
Flagship’s philosophical approach to successful hospitality management is guided by three overreaching principles.
Revenue sources, labor costs and each line item expense is calculated and justified before incorporation into the final plan. Using the best technology and software programs available, Flagship is able to create a blueprint to guide day-to-day financial activities of the property.
Fredrick “Rick” Newman
President and Chief Operating Officer
Rick Newman’s expertise in project management rests on a notable trajectory of supervising several major hotel renovations and redevelopments.
He was Vice President of the Sands Hotel and Casino from 1991 to 1996 and Vice President of Operations of The San Juan Grand Beach Resort & Casino from 1996 to 2000, while also holding the title of Vice President of Flagship Services Corporation (FSC). During his tenure with San Juan Grand, he was the lead project manager for the 1997 renovation of the property. Together with Richard Abati, he spearheaded the restructuring of the property’s finances and its marketing re-positioning, making the San Juan Grand one of Puerto Rico’s most successful hotels.
Newman has also maintained oversight of construction management projects including the redevelopment of the former Sands Hotel & Casino; the Ritz Carlton San Juan Resort & Casino; and the then closed, former Carib Inn Hotel, presently the Verdanza Hotel.
Recently, Newman has taken on the challenge of the restoration/renovation of Four Seasons Cayo Largo Resort, a major resort/residential development on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. Scheduled to open in 2018 this world-class resort community will feature a championship golf course, European spa, high-end residential villas and a luxury hotel.
Rick Newman’s noted career in the hospitality industry has been marked by recognition from his peers and the business community at large.
His longstanding trajectory of stewardship includes a comprehensive range of leadership and executive roles, including:
In addition, he has testified regularly and extensively before the Puerto Rico Legislature on a variety of issues related to the business of tourism.
• In 2000 and again in 2003, named Hotelier of the Year by the membership of the PRTHA
• Tourism Executive of the Year by the Puerto Rico Chapter of the Sales & Marketing Executives Association
• The Zenith 2000 Award by the PRCC for his dedication to the growth of the tourism industry in Puerto Rico
• Three two-year terms as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association (PRHTA).
Newman has been published extensively in and out of Puerto Rico; his writings range from the business of tourism and its impact on the economic and financial wellbeing of Puerto Rico, to fraud detection, crisis management, and substance abuse in the workplace.
Vice President Finance
Roberto Rodríguez is responsible for oversight of the financial cycles of the properties operated by Flagship.
Roberto served as the Assistant Comptroller of the Sands Hotel & Casino and later as Director of Finance for the San Juan Grand Beach Resort & Casino until 2002. In both posts, he was responsible for the financial cycle of a $60 million business and played an important role in the development and implementation of the hotel and the casino financial procedures.
During his tenures at the Sands and the San Juan Grand, Rodríguez was instrumental in designing cost control procedures for the food and beverage department, as well as labor productivity analyses for more than four hundred employees.
He was subsequently appointed to the position of Casino Manager at the San Juan Grand, where he remained until the property was sold to the Bass Group (owners of the InterContinental Hotel & Resorts) in 2000.
Roberto then assumed the challenge of developing and implementing the finance and renovation plans for the acquisition of the former Carib Inn by Flagship Services Corporation. He was the project manager for all financial aspects of the renovation and construction, in addition to taking on a number of operational responsibilities. The property opened as the Holiday Inn San Juan in December 2004, now the Verdanza Hotel, having been completed on time and within the $17,000,000 renovation budget allocated.
Currently, Roberto has responsibility over the design, management, and implementation of accounting policies and procedures, as well as the supervision of the financial functions of FSC owned and operated ventures.
Fredrick “Ricky” Newman Jr.
General Manager, Verdanza Hotel - Member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Lifestyle Collection
Having grown up in the world of hospitality, this second generation hotelier is the youngest hospitality professional to climb to the position of general manager of a major hotel in Puerto Rico.
Ricky Newman is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Tourism Management. His career first took him on a professional tour of hotel operations. Over the course of five years, he served as Food and Beverage Manager and later Resident Manager of Rincón Beach Resort, an upscale 118 room boutique resort on Puerto Rico’s west coast.
Ricky then joined the team responsible for the pre-opening of the new Holiday Inn San Juan – and following a stint as Food and Beverage Manager of the Caparra Country Club, a renowned social and sports club with a sixty-year history, currently managed by FSC – he was named General Manager of the Holiday Inn San Juan in May of 2007. Since then, he has successfully focused his energies on further strengthening the position of the property and in 2009 was part of the Strategic Team that led the re-branding of the property as the only full-service independent hotel in the San Juan Metropolitan Area – Verdanza Hotel.
Under Newman’s leadership, Verdanza Hotel has firmly positioned itself as a new brand of hospitality with signature features unique to a hotel in Puerto Rico, such as The Muse, the only creative room for corporate meetings in a hotel in Puerto Rico; a charging station for electric vehicles; and a pet program complete with PawsPark, an open space for traveling pets to play and exercise off leash under the supervision of their owners.
Ricky Newman’s management of Verdanza Hotel has earned it numerous recognitions including the Destination Team Spirit award by Meet Puerto Rico and the Preferred Hotels Group GIFTTS (Great Initiatives for Today’s [Tomorrow’s] Society) ‘Pineapple Leader Award’ for outstanding commitment to social and corporate responsibility, as well as several Top Hotel awards by Orbitz, Expedia, Hotels.com and The Culture Trip. Most recently, Verdanza Hotel earned three 2016 TripAdvisor Excellence Awards, one each for the property, its signature restaurant and its newest culinary offering, the Burger Bar.
A promising professional on the rise, in 2007 Caribbean Business named him one of the 40 Under 40 Executive Leaders. Selected annually, this is considered an elite group of business men and women who, more than having achieved business success before reaching the magical age of 40, are considered likely to be Puerto Rico's business leaders of tomorrow.