Acacia Hospitality

Experience leads to a wealth of possibilities

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leadership team

Acacia Hospitality features a host of industry leaders to guide, manage and maintain your organization.

Todd Nelson, Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Nelson has spent his entire career as an owner of restaurant and resort businesses, and has developed extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry. His hospitality industry career began at the age of 19 with the purchase in 1980 of an existing nightclub facility in Wisconsin Dells. Within two years, he purchased an adjacent pizza restaurant and quickly expanded the combined operations to provide total seating for up to 600 people in an Italian cuisine, family-oriented restaurant, banquet and nightclub facility. In 1997 Mr. Nelson opened the Ramada® RainTree Resort & Conference Center, a 157 room, 11,000 square foot indoor waterpark facility in Wisconsin Dells. Convinced of the opportunity to seize market share in the area with a dominant destination resort hotel and waterpark, Mr. Nelson sold the RainTree property in 1998 to fund his development of the Kalahari Waterpark Resort and Convention Center. He opened the first Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin in May 2000, followed by Kalahari Resort in Ohio in May 2005, and the most recent location, Kalahari Resort in Pennsylvania which opened in July 2015.

Bill Otto, Executive Vice President

Bill brings more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry to his role as Executive Vice President, most recently consulting for a variety of high-profile hospitality and higher education projects in Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin, including a yearlong assignment with the renowned University Club of Milwaukee. His expertise includes 18 years at the Marcus Corporation - a leader in the lodging and entertainment industries. He joined Marcus Corporation in 1993 and served as Senior Vice President, Operations and Chief Operating Officer before moving into the role of President, Marcus Hotels in April 2001, where he remained until November 2011. Today, Bill works with operations across the Nelson-family businesses in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, Sandusky, Ohio and Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania including Kalahari Resorts and Trappers Turn Golf Club. Bill also leads the business development of the company reviewing potential acquisitions, sites for future Kalahari Resorts and opportunities for 3rd party management of hotels and resorts for owners and developers. Bill serves on the Board of Directors of Preferred Hotel Group, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Messmer Catholic Schools in Milwaukee and the Hickel Investment Group. Bill is Past Chairman of Visit Milwaukee, State of Wisconsin Governor's Council on Tourism and the Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association.

Mary Bonte-Spath, Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Spath joined Mr. Nelson in 1990 to assist him in operating his expanding restaurant and nightclub business. She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the state of Wisconsin since 1983 and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Her previous experience includes eight years as a CPA with a regional accounting firm in Madison, Wisconsin. Mary leads the Finance Department staff of 35 people and advises the Information Technology and Human Resources Departments. She spends the majority of her time working with the owner on new project development, investments and financing, managing all of the condominium associations, assisting the in-house broker in selling real estate, risk management and advising existing operations. Ms. Spath has a BBA in Accounting and an MBA in Decision Support Systems.

Steve Pine, Director of Development

Joining Mr. Nelson in 1988, Mr. Pine has a background in marketing and public relations and has been instrumental in the development of the Kalahari Resort. He has had the unique opportunity of learning every operational position in order to train and step in when vacancies occur. His previous experience includes five years as head of a marketing department and eight years with the Wisconsin Dells Visitors and Convention Bureau. He has been involved with the development of several of the owners’ businesses and currently heads up the company’s development department. Mr. Pine was involved in developing the Sandusky project’s opening marketing strategy along with the public relations and advertising firms. 

Traci Jones, Corporate Human Resources Director

Traci has spent the last 25 years in the hospitality industry with 20 plus years in Human Resources.  After earning a BBA in Communications she began her Human Resources career.  Traci has a proven track record of success in: Employee Relations, Workers’ Compensation, Diversity, Affirmative Action Planning, Compensation and Benefits, Recruiting, Change Management and Compliance.

Kevin Shanley, Chief Revenue Strategist & Yield Executive

Kevin began his hospitality career in 1990 and has extensive experience in the operational as well as sales & marketing disciplines. He has held positions from Restaurant Manager to Food & Beverage Director to Hotel and Resort General Manager with IHG, Starwood and Radisson Hotels in addition to his experience at Kalahari Resorts. Kevin joined the Kalahari team in 2000 as the original resort’s Director of Sales, was named the brand’s Corporate Director of Sales in 2007 and now provides strategy and oversight of all revenue activities for the brand. Kevin is a member of the State of Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Meeting and Convention Committee and serves as Chairman of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau meeting and convention committee.

  • Todd Nelson, Jr. - Director of Operations

  • Travis Nelson - Finance Manager

  • Natasha Lucke - Corporate Development/Interior Design

  • Armando Monterroso - Corporate Director of Food & Beverage

  • Adam Fisk - Corporate Marketing Director

  • Cary Brandt - Corporate Creative Director of Entertainment

  • Kari Johnson - Corporate Director of Finance and Administration

  • Daylene Stroebe - Corporate Development/Design Manager

  • Judson Branch - Corporate Executive Chef

  • Randy Birchfield - Corporate Director of Procurement

  • Greg Gogola - Corporate Director of Information Technology

  • Nikki Coyle - Corporate Director of Retail

  • Jeff Beckwith- Corporate Director of Facilities

  • Terry Wex - Corporate Counsel

  • Thatcher Robertson - Corporate Director of Waterparks

  • Nikki Severson - Corporate Director of Spa Services