Specialty Search International’s research and recruitment professionals are led by the following management team with over 35 combined years of recruiting experience:

Ronald D. Folkman – Founder and Chairman

Ron founded SSI in 1989. He received his college degree in Hotel Management from Webber International. For fifteen years prior to 1989, he was in executive leadership positions for both Food and Beverage and the Rooms Divisions. Ron managed Hilton, Hyatt, and Fairmont hotels throughout the country, including numerous openings. He additionally ran independent high volume restaurants as a General Manager. In addition to recruiting, he also manages day-to-day operations, internal training, company marketing, and client relations for all the locations.

To contact Ron directly, please dial toll free (866)789-2673, extension 227 – St. Petersburg, Florida office.

Greg Birkmeier – President

Greg’s experience in hospitality recruiting began with Specialty Search International in 2000. He has proven effective in partnering with clients in creating solutions to their most critical staffing needs and focuses on many of SSI’s top repeat clients, as well as new client development. His ten years of industry experience included operations and sales positions with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and The Renaissance Hotel Company.

He was the Director of Sales and Marketing at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, Assistant Director of Sales and Marketing at The Ritz-Carlton, Kansas City and National Sales Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. Prior, Greg was a National Sales Manager, Catering Sales Manager and Restaurant General Manager at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel. He began at The Renaissance Waverly Hotel as a Management Trainee upon graduation from Purdue University with Honors and Distinction (Summa Cum Laude).

To contact Greg directly, please dial toll free (866)789-2673, extension 222 – Tallahassee, Florida office.

Jim Coffey – Vice President

Jim has 25 years of progressive operations, sales and marketing experience in hospitality. His leadership roles began in operations at a four-diamond hotel in New Jersey and after three successful years, Jim transitioned to the sales organization. His sales experience spans across the spectrum of Marriott International brands, including a national sales role with The Ritz Carlton Hotels of Atlanta, followed by sales leadership roles with Noble Investment Group and Dolce Hotels and Resorts. Most recently, Jim was Senior Director of Corporate Sales with Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, where he oversaw the full-service domestic sales organizations and shared services team.

To contact Jim directly, please dial toll free 866.789.2673, extension 230 – Mid-Atlantic office.

Michelle Ruggiero – Staffing Manager

Michelle joined SSI in 2010. She has extensive experience in luxury retail having worked as a manager for Ralph Lauren in Tampa for many years. She attended the University of South Florida for Business Management and as the Staffing Manager, assists the various SSI office locations in identifying talent globally. Michelle also manages the firm’s website development and postings for Job Openings.