Staff Review
Russ Tanakaya
Adjunct - Instructor of Hospitality & Tourism Management

Division/Department: Culinary Arts, Nutrition, and Hospitality & Tourism, Hospitality & Tourism Mgt (see Culinary), Technology & Aviation Division
Phone: 3143

    Mr. Tanakaya has over 35 years of hospitality industry experience, and has been managing hotel businesses for over 29 years. He has varied industry background, starting with the Hyatt Corporation in Phoenix, Arizona. He has worked with an independent hotelier in San Antonio, Texas the “La Mansion” hotel group, and presently continues a 22+ year tenure with the Hilton Corporation, and Hilton franchises. His assignments with this group include hotels in Baltimore, Santa Monica, Glendale, San Diego, Ontario, and Brea, California. Russ has managed several brands under the Hilton umbrella – Hilton, Doubletree Guest Suites, Doubletree Golf Resort, Red Lion, and Embassy Suites. Mr. Tanakaya has several recognitions with this group including the highest individual award given to a Hilton Team Member, the “Spirit of Pride,” Food & Beverage Director of the Year, the Doubletree Crystal Cookie for outstanding community work, and two national Embassy Suites awards for customer service and total quality management. Mr. Tanakaya has been recently awarded a position on the Embassy Suites Circle of Leadership, a select group of only 5 General Managers in the entire country for 2011. At the Embassy Suites international convention in 2011 Mr. Tanakaya was awarded the Hervey Feldman trophy as General Manager of the Year. His current position is with the Windsor Capital Group, owner’s of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Brea – North Orange County where he is the General Manager.


    In addition to his industry work, Mr. Tanakaya is involved in many aspects of the community. He is currently an adjunct instructor at Glendale Community College where he first started teaching “Introduction to Hospitality” in 2001. In this position, Russ mentor’s students in the Glendale College Hospitality Internship program, and hosts tours several times a year at his property in Brea. Russ coaches his hotel team by partnering with them as instructors of Junior Achievement at the Brea Junior High School. He has been involved for many years in the “Every 15 Minute” program partnering with schools in Glendale, Chino Hills, Yorba Linda, and Brea. Mr. Tanakaya has been appointed to the Board of Governors for the Japanese American National Museum headquartered in Los Angeles. His award winning Rotary project teaching thousands of Glendale high school students about racial tolerance earned him this distinguished position where he has served for the past 8 years. Russ is a Board Member of the Brea Rotary where he serves as Director of Community service, including projects, “Head Start,” Brea Senior Center, BreAl, and has been known to spend time “ringing the Salvation Army Bell” during the holidays! Mr. Tanakaya is a leader in area business, currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Brea Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps his most important community activism however is his role as cashier at the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes minor league baseball snack bar where he fundraises for his son Christopher’s band and drumline. Russ’ personal time passion is for outstanding achievement in high school music where he and his wife Beth of 27 years, spend most weekend’s following their daughter and son in musical competitions.


    Mr. Tanakaya holds a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management of the University of Houston.