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Honoree Headshot

Chris Winterhalter

Chief Executive Officer
Hotel Rehabs

Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 2010
Industry Group Specific: Hotel Renovation

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Growing up in a small town in Ohio, Chris Winterhalter had a noticeable entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. “I enjoyed creating and running several small ‘businesses as the years went on – everything from lemonade stands and building bird feeders and cornhole boards to snowplowing, lawn cutting and landscaping in my community,” he said.

After college, Winterhalter worked a corporate job and then founded a company specializing in distressed multi-family redevelopment and historic residential renovations. “After bootstrapping my way through multiple real estate investment ventures, Hotel Rehabs was formed,” he said. “I have always wanted to do things differently and go against the grain and Hotel Rehabs was no different.”

Hotel Rehabs is a national turn-key hotel renovation contractor specializing in branded projects, including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and IHG. The principals have completed more than 95 projects totaling over 13,100 guest rooms throughout the company. Since its inception, Hotel Rehabs has shown a consistent track record of robust growth with a compound annual growth rate of over 52 percent.

The firm was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list for the sixth time and has expanded to have offices in Cincinnati and Phoenix, in addition to its Chicago headquarters.

According to Winterhalter, leadership isn’t about a destination; it’s about continuing to make yourself better by recognizing your faults and your failures. “It’s about being able to tell your team you screwed up,” he said. “It’s about focusing on moving forward instead of focusing on what went wrong.”

Hotel Rehabs is focused on moving forward under the leadership of Winterhalter. “Our journey of growth over the last three years has stemmed from the rebuilding of the hotel industry following the pandemic in addition to expanding on our existing pre-COVID plan,” he said. “Faced with labor shortages, supply chain challenges and growing inflation, we were not without scars and bruises, however we fought through to get to the other side.”

The firm has grown from a GC only company into turn-key specialists, offering everything internally from GC services and FF&E procurement to architecture, design and engineering services.

“Though the hotel renovation industry can present unexpected obstacles, I approach each challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow,” said Winterhalter. “Success isn’t made by following the status quo or doing the bare minimum. Success and progress are driven by risk takes who are willing to push the envelope and think outside the box.”

For continuing to find success by thinking outside of the box, Winterhalter has been named a titan.

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