MERRILLVILLE │Schererville resident Erin Bertollini is the new general manager of the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville.
It’s sort of a homecoming for Bertollini, who served as the Radisson’s director of operations from 2009 to 2011 before becoming general manager of another White Lodging Services Corp. hotel, the Marriot Midway in Chicago.
Now he’s back in the region to run the Radisson and is excited about it.
“I was asked to come back and was happy to do so,” Bertollini said. “I love this hotel.”
Bertollini believes the Radisson plays an important role in the community and is excited about its current $1.7 million renovation project. All 343 guest rooms are getting remodeled with new wall vinyl, carpeting, high-definition 37-inch flat-screen TVs and desk chairs. New linens already have been added.
Guest corridors will feature new, sconce lighting, wall vinyl and carpeting.
The project is scheduled for completion by the end of March.
“Business is strong and we’re looking forward to a much stronger 2014,” Bertollini said. “All signs are it’s going to be a great year, especially coming out of renovation.”
Bertollini said the hotel is heavily involved in charitable causes and he hopes to personally become more active in the community as well.
“Working in the community where I live is probably the most exciting about being back,” he said.
Bertollini said his wife and three children were ecstatic about him working closer to home. One of the first things his 8-year-old requested was a birthday party at the Radisson so they can swim in the pool.
Bertollini could have moved to Chicago when he took the Marriot Midway job but chose not to.
“My kids fell in love with the area,” he said. “We really love the community.”
Originally from Detroit, Bertollini, 37, moved to the region after being hired by the Radisson in 2009. He’s been working in the hotel industry since age 15, starting in the kitchen of a Hilton hotel.
“I loved interacting with people,” he said. “When I went to college at Michigan State University, I became a hospitality business major.”
Bertollini believes the Radisson is a gathering place for the community.
“We do a plethora of events and in my opinion we’re the hub for entertainment in the area, with our comedy club banquet facilities and the Star Plaza Theater.”
Bertollini said he loves the hotel because its founder, Dean White, used it to help grow his empire.
“There’s a lot of history and the rich tradition with that,” he said.