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Ken Walles named new president of LI hotel association

Ken Walles, owner and operator of the Oceanside

Ken Walles, owner and operator of the Oceanside Beach Resort in Montauk, will serve as the new president of the Long Island Hospitality and Leisure Association. He will replace sitting president Mike Johnston next spring. Photo Credit: Long Island Hospitality and Leisure Association

Ken Walles, owner and operator of the 30-room Oceanside Beach Resort in Montauk and former vice president and general manager of the 1,700-room Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan, has been named president of the Long Island Hospitality and Leisure Association.

Walles, who has worked more than 40 years in the hospitality industry in markets across the country, was voted in by the industry group Thursday night during a meeting. He will replace sitting president Mike Johnston next spring.

“I see the opportunity to grow the organization, to be a voice on the Island,” Walles said. The association provides information and support to hoteliers and tourism businesses across Long Island.

Walles currently serves as the 50-member group’s board secretary. Walles is stepping down as president of the Long Island chapter of Skål International, a global tourism industry group, to take the position.

Johnston, who helped revive the industry group in 2013 after it went dormant for several years, announced plans to step down from his post Thursday evening.

Walles is “very active in the association, so he’ll make a good fit,” said Johnston, adding that his replacement’s career mirrors his in many ways.

Johnston previously served as president from 2004 to 2008, before the group stopped meeting in 2010. After helping “resurrect” the organization, Johnston said, he thought it was time to move on.

“Now I can sit back and help,” said Johnston, who will remain on the nonprofit group’s board of directors.

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