Mitch Patel (’91,’93)

Category: Awards

2016 Alumni Professional Achievement Award Winner

Mitch Patel is founder, president, and CEO of Vision Hospitality Group, a Chattanooga-based hotel and management company. Today, Vision holds a growing portfolio of 37 premium select and full-service hotels affiliated with the Hilton, Marriott, and InterContinental brands, including The Edwin, the company’s first luxury boutique hotel.

Patel has led Vision to be the recipient of many awards and industry media recognition in the fields of development, community service, design, and achievement. Most recently, Vision received the Marriott International Partnership Circle Award, Marriott International Developer of the Year Award, Marriott International Serve 360 Award, the Developer of the Year Award for the Hampton Brand by Hilton Worldwide, and the Multi-Brand Developer of the Year Award by Hilton Worldwide.

Of his career, Patel says, “It’s amazing how my career came full circle. I guess hospitality was always in my blood, and I just didn’t know it. I really believe I found my passion.”

His father, Ish Patel, came from India with $8 in his pocket to work on his PhD in food microbiology at the University of California at Davis. While Ish worked as a research scientist in a pickle factory, his wife and family ran an 11-room hotel in Stockton, California. Eventually, when Pately was in the fifth grade, the family moved to Cleveland, Tennessee, to run a Scottish Inn, which Ish owned and operated for 24 years. “I grew up in the business,” says Patel, “but it was the last thing I wanted to pursue as a career.”

After graduating from the Tickle College of Engineering with a BS in 1991 and a master’s degree in 1993, Patel became a project engineer in Atlanta. In 1996, he seized an opportunity to manage the construction of the Homewood Suites by Hilton at Hamilton Place in Chattanooga. He found that he liked the process of building hotels and the hotel business itself. Thus, he began to build Vision Hospitality Group, focusing on premium brands, high-level design, and enthusiastic customer service. “If you focus your time and energy on your people and take care of your people,” says Patel, “then everything else takes care of itself.”

Patel serves on many boards, including the Marriott International Franchise Advisory Council and the Hilton Worldwide Owner’s Advisory Council. He is also a member of the boards of the Benwood Foundation, the River City Company, and the UT Chattanooga Foundation. He also serves as Vice Chair of the Chattanooga Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and is an advocate for ending human trafficking in the hospitality industry. In the past, he has served as a board member of the Chattanooga Chamber Board Executive Committee, the St. Nicholas School, Girls Preparatory School, Arts Build, Friends of the Festival, and the Governor’s Tennessee Business Roundtable.