It started in 1926, when John “Jack” McKibbon Sr. and his brother, Marvin McKibbon, had the idea to open a grocery store in Gainesville, Georgia, and opened a Piggly Wiggly franchise.
That entrepreneurial mindset led to other businesses under the McKibbon name, eventually evolving into a hospitality company with Holiday Inn franchises, in Georgia.
McKibbon Hospitality now has four arms to its business, with its hotel development and management vertical being the major focus. Today, it has about 3,200 employees and, in August, acquired its 100th hotel. Its collection of hotels is largely made up of Hampton, Hilton and Marriott properties. All told, McKibbon has 24 different brands under its management.
John McKibbon, III, took over in the early 1990s. He has since stepped down from the c-suite and is chair of the company’s board of directors.
But the McKibbon name still stands in the next generation of leadership with his son, J.B., who is currently president of McKibbon Equities. He, along with Randy Hassen, chief executive officer of McKibbon Hospitality, Joe Taggart, president and chief financial officer and Bruce Baerwalde, president, comprise the four executives who are leading the charge of McKibbon, into the future.
Hassen has been with McKibbon for 32 years. He started in Athens, Georgia, as a houseman, a bellman and housekeeper. Throughout his career with McKibbon, he has worked in every department from entry level and, now, up to the c-level.
He moved to Tampa, in 1994, and was introduced to Taggart’s dad, Joe Sr. After he graduated, he became general manager for his first hotel. A few years later, McKibbon opened a Courtyard Marriott in downtown Tampa where Hassen became general manager.
“J.B.’s father was on the cutting edge of opening Courtyard Marriott’s and Residence Inns. He was one of the first franchisees in the southeast,” says Hassen. “The company went through a lot of growth at that time.”
Baerwalde has been with McKibbon for 28 years. Like Hassen, he got his start in the hotel world by polishing floors and maintenance-type work, working the midnight shift. “I drank a lot of coffee,” he says, semi-jokingly. Also, like Hassen, he spent time being a general manager at McKibbon properties.
“I’ve been partners with Randy through a lot of [the company’s] growth,” Baerwalde says. “We’ve been through quite a bit of stuff.”
J.B. has been with McKibbon for six years. As an adult, he started in the industry at Apple Hospitality, based out of Richmond, Virginia, where he was an asset manager. But, like his leadership counterparts, his first experiences at McKibbon, growing up, were mopping floors.
“I don’t know what they told my GM at the time, but they worked me pretty good,” says J.B.
His first project with McKibbon was the Hyatt House, in Tampa, and his second project was a Hyatt House in Orlando, which opened earlier in 2023.
“Strategically, my goal is to raise capital and place capital,” he says.
Taggart joined McKibbon in 2019. Previously, he spent about 20 years in the banking business. He was part of the team that built USAmeriBank, which was sold to Valley Bank in 2018. Following the sale, he says he knew he wanted to move out of the banking space and into the real estate space.