Agnelo A FernandesChief Executive Officer
Mark HoffmanChief Financial Officer
Heidi SkaalandCorporate Controller
Merrick DresninCorporate Director of Human Resources
Frank SoukupCorporate Director of Marketing
Jessica JacobsonCorporate Revenue Manager
Karen GallerCorporate Director of Info Technology
Dennis WilsonGeneral Manager | GVL
Terry HanleyGeneral Manager | TVR
Ruggs CoteDirector of Camps
Agnelo A Fernandes
Fernandes’ specialty lies in turning around asset performance and establishing brand reputation and value creation. Throughout his career he has outperformed the market, leading with setting a strong workplace culture, crafting a sustainable growth strategy and fostering innovation. With more than 30 years of global leadership experience, Agnelo has helped position independent luxury resorts in the US, Caribbean, Central America, and Asia. A thought leader within the hospitality industry and luxury lifestyle segment, Agnelo has been frequently invited to share his transformational perspectives on leadership, service culture, growth strategy, communications, global marketing and branding. His experience spans across hospitality, spa and wellness, real estate, travel and tourism, and restaurants.
Fernandes serves on Visit California’s Marketing Advisory Board and is the immediate past chair of the Branding Committee, overseeing the strategic brand position of the state of California. Along with the executive committee, he chaired the deployment of the $110 million ‘Dream Big’ brand campaign that represented California as the leading destination. Fernandes also serves on the Executive Committee for the HSMAI Board of Directors and is the immediate past chair of the HSMAI Foundation, where he focused on attracting, developing, and retaining talent in the hospitality industry.
Agnelo has been recognized as an industry thought leader and is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including Lodging Magazine’s Best and Brightest Hotel Innovators and Visionaries; Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Resort Marketer of the Year and Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing and Revenue; i-Lead Leader of the Year by Two Roads Hospitality, and the prestigious ‘Spirit of Lowe’ Award by Lowe and CoralTree Hospitality.
Heidi has been with Cote Family’s Accounting/Finance team for over twenty two years. She started as a Staff Accountant and continued along the financial path in the roles of Senior Accountant, Accounting Manager, Grand View Lodge Resort Controller and was promoted to Corporate Controller in June, 2019. Heidi is responsible for the Finance Management over the entire Cote Family Destinations. Heidi is an active community participant and has served on multiple boards including the CLC Accounting and the Nisswa Library Advisory Boards. Before bringing her talent to Cote Family Destinations, she graduated from Bemidji State University with a major in Accounting and a minor in Business Administration. Outside of the office, Heidi’s hobbies include yoga, biking, paddle boarding and boating the Gull Lake Chain.
Educated in the law, Merrick transferred that skill-set into Human Resources, and has been a Human Resources Executive for over eighteen (18) years. Merrick currently is the Company Director of Human Resources for Cote Family Destinations, a growing organization overseeing resorts and related activities in both Minnesota and Arizona. He also continues to consult providing both strategic and tactical human capital management guidance to his clients. He had previously opened and assisted in the successful operating of the highest profile hotel in the country – Trump International Hotel, Washington, DC. Prior to that, he served as the Vice President of Human Resources at United Service Companies, where he had partnered with key business leaders to reshape the “people management” approach of the organization. He had previously held the position of Vice President of Human Resources at Rivers Casino where he helped orchestrate the successful opening of the property in July 2011. Prior to Rivers, he left California in 2007 for Illinois when recruited by the Hyatt Hotel Corporation to lead the HR team at the Hyatt Regency Chicago through a time of labor unrest and challenge. He had previously led HR at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, a California 4-Diamond hotel/gaming destination, for five (5) years, opening that property. Merrick earned his BA from UC Santa Barbara – double majoring in history and anthropology. He earned his JD from American University (Washington College of Law). Merrick has his Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certification, and has taught/advised at Kendall College, DePaul University and Georgetown.
Frank Soukup is the Director of Marketing for Cote Family Destinations. He also serves on the Brainerd Chamber Board of Directors, Hospitality MN Board of Directors, and the Hospitality MN Education Foundation. Frank’s areas of expertise include advertising, marketing, web direction, videography, photography, SEO, social media, and more.
Frank has been a freelance artist for over 32 years, creating innovative marketing and graphic concepts for many companies including Grand View Lodge, Tanque Verde Ranch, ProfitPro Ag, Rapala, Miller Nitro, Bitterboy Activewear, Turck, Golden Care Financial, United Way, and much more. He is an internationally produced artist from illustrating children’s books to creating publications in conservation agriculture.
Jessica Jacobson serves as Revenue Manager of Cote Family Destinations. She oversees yield management, forecasts revenue performance and strategy adjustments among other duties. Jacobson has been with the Cote Family Destinations company for over 10 years and has performed roles as Reservations Supervisor, Family Reunion Sales Manager, Reservations Manager, Front Desk Manager, and Guest Services Manager. She graduated on the President’s List from St. Cloud Technical College with an AAS in Advertising. While at SCTC she was president and presenter of a student organization called American Advertising Federation (AAF). AAF is a student run, in-house advertising agency. After graduation, she started her career at US Bank as a Banker. Originally from Cold Spring, MN, her hobbies include traveling, running, biking, and camping. She has served on the Pequot Lakes Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter for nine years and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce.
Terry Hanley serves as the General Manager of Tanque Verde Ranch. Terry is responsible for day-to-day operations, employee satisfaction, guest satisfaction, assisting in maintaining the property, driving revenues, expense control, budgeting, and if the roads flood, cooking breakfast!
Terry carries an array of hospitality experience. He started in Calgary Alberta, with a family-owned restaurant business. After 11 years in the food and beverage industry, he began his first hotel job at Westin Calgary. Terry quickly moved from the Food and Beverage side of things to explore more on the hotel side. After a good three years, Terry received another great opportunity to work at the Westin Maui. Here, Terry worked with the front desk, housekeeping, profit improvement, and Service Express for almost seven years. He then moved to the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, before transferring to Portland, Oregon, where he was General Manager of The Four Points by Sheraton.
Terry was born in Alberta, Canada, and moved to Calgary when he was three years old. He considers Calgary home. In his free time, Terry enjoys traveling, golfing, ice skating, hiking, and spending time with his two sons.
Samuel Ruggles Cote serves as Executive Director of the Cote Family Destinations two childrens camps – Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hubert. As a third generation camp director, Ruggs follows his family’s legacy and passion for camp and its mission with children from around the world. Cote has been actively involved from his years as a young camper to his present leadership position, where he served as Camp Director for 13 years before becoming Executive Director.
Cote has been an active member of the American Camp Association since 1997, the ACA Standards Visitor since 2007 and volunteer at Excelsior Elementary. He graduated from DePauw University in 1993 where he majored in Economics and was treasurer of his fraternity. Ruggs continues the Cote Family’s tradition of excellence in camping and youth development.