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OTO Improvement mourns the lack of CEO Corry W. Oakes III

SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA — Corry W. Oakes III, co-founder and CEO of OTO Improvement, handed away unexpectedly on Sunday, August 7, abandoning his beloved spouse, Amy, and their three daughters Ashley, Elizabeth and Lauren.

“Corry was a beloved chief and a pricey good friend to so many in our neighborhood and our trade,” says Todd Turner, co-founder and VP/Actual Property at OTO Improvement, which is a part of The Johnson Group. “His influence on our lives is as immeasurable because the grief we really feel and the love for him and his household.”

Oakes and Turner, together with Jim Ovenden, offered their initials to call the resort growth and hospitality administration firm they based alongside George Dean Johnson Jr. and the late H. Wayne Huizenga in Could 2004.

George Dean Johnson Jr., Oakes’ long-time mentor and enterprise accomplice, and Geordy Johnson and Susanna Johnson Shannon shared an announcement on behalf of The Johnson Group and the Johnson household: “Corry was extra than simply the consummate skilled and chief within the lodging trade. He was an incredible neighborhood servant, a mentor to all he labored with, a loving father and household man, and a most trusted advisor on so many alternative ranges to our household. Phrases can not describe how deeply he will likely be missed.”

A local of Lawrenceville, Georgia, Oakes moved to Upstate South Carolina in 1985 to attend Wofford School, the place he performed exterior linebacker for the Terriers. After incomes a bachelor’s diploma in enterprise economics, he held roles of accelerating duty with Johnson’s WJB Blockbuster Video after which Prolonged Keep America, the place he served as President and Chief Working Officer. As an NYSE-listed lodging chain, ESA thrived below his management, turning into the fastest-growing owner-operated resort chain in lodging historical past previous to its sale to Blackstone. OTO Improvement was based on the very day the ESA sale closed.

Devoted to his alma mater, Oakes served as a member of Wofford’s Terrier Membership Board of Administrators, President’s Advisory Board and Wofford School Board of Trustees from 2009-2021. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 2019-2021.

“Corry’s influence on our neighborhood will stretch far past the 37 years he’s been a Terrier,” says Wofford School President Nayef Samhat. “Future generations can have alternatives for a Wofford training and for worldwide journey, research and internships due to his legacy. He was a champion for pupil success, devoted to the tutorial mission, and we are going to at all times bear in mind his dedication, generosity and love for Wofford School.”

Funeral preparations are forthcoming. Within the meantime, OTO Improvement appreciates all colleagues, staff and associates conserving the Oakes household of their prayers.

Phrases of help are pouring in from neighborhood and enterprise leaders, together with the next:

“I used to be lucky to satisfy Corry practically 20 years in the past. He was as fantastic a person as I’ve ever recognized — heat, type and big-hearted. He performed advanced enterprise negotiations with none of the acrimony typical of some hard-driving entrepreneurs. He had a powerful, light means about him that made you smile. He nearly appeared from a special period of grace and honor and goodness. You knew you may belief his phrase. You knew that he cared about being truthful. You knew he took care of those he liked. And also you knew he at all times put others first. Could his reminiscence be a blessing for all of us. He actually confirmed us the best way.” — Jonathan D. Grey, President & COO of Blackstone Group

“Corry was a person who displayed full integrity in enterprise, and unbelievable generosity and beauty in individual. I and everybody at Hilton really feel so blessed to have recognized this glorious man and can proceed to do all we will to honor his legacy.” — Christopher J. Nassetta, CEO of Hilton

“For years, now we have had the privilege of working with Corry and appreciated his dedication to glorious lodges and distinctive individuals. He served with distinction as a member of our Advisory Councils, and we benefited from his insights and his capability to work to succeed in consensus on difficult points. We appreciated Corry’s long-standing friendship, enterprise acumen and his humanity. He will likely be deeply missed.” — Anthony Capuano, CEO of Marriott Worldwide Inc.

“In a enterprise based mostly on relationships, we depend none greater than that which we loved with Corry. His focus, readability and the extraordinary means he was in a position to present suggestions with a set of wonderful concepts and inputs helped us all at Hyatt be higher. On a private stage, I already miss him deeply as a good friend. The trade misplaced a fantastic one who meant a lot to so many.” — Mark Hoplamazian, CEO of Hyatt Lodges

“My deepest sympathies exit to Corry’s household and the Johnson Group. Corry was a fantastic enterprise accomplice, however extra importantly he was a fantastic husband, father and good friend. He will likely be dearly missed by all.” — Greg Carmichael, Government Chairman of Fifth Third Bankcorp

“It was a fantastic privilege to work with Corry in enterprise in addition to for our neighborhood and observe firsthand his highly effective management. He genuinely cared about others and made everybody really feel vital. Corry touched so many individuals and had an immeasurable influence on their lives. He will likely be tremendously missed.” — Benjamin Wall, Managing Companion of WJ Companions

“Corry was an trade titan, however the true measure of his success was his care and concern for individuals and neighborhood. He was an encourager, compassionate chief and a lover of all issues Spartanburg. His instance calls all of us to attempt for higher.” — Allen Smith, President/CEO of OneSpartanburg

“I’ll bear in mind Corry for his heat handshake and understanding nod of help; it at all times meant a lot. Corry was dedicated to quiet and beneficiant neighborhood philanthropy, significantly when these efforts have been in help of his staff who have been affected by hardship. He will likely be tremendously missed.” — Troy Hanna, President & CEO of the Spartanburg County Basis

“Corry’s passing is a extreme blow to our neighborhood. As a enterprise chief, job creator and engaged citizen, he was fairly particular. His management at Wofford, within the lodging trade and in quite a few civic endeavors will likely be sorely missed. Corry liked his household, his teammates and he liked Spartanburg. This can be a enormous loss.” — Former Spartanburg Mayor Invoice Barnet

“Corry was a stalwart champion for Spartanburg. He was a catalyst and visionary for downtown progress and a fantastic steward of our establishments. The robust firm he constructed and the numerous lives he touched will guarantee his optimistic influence on this neighborhood lasts lengthy after his passing.” — Chris Story, Spartanburg Metropolis Supervisor

“The Oakes household and our household have been very shut as now we have seen our children develop up collectively by way of the Spartanburg Day Faculty and past. Corry was an superior father, husband, good friend and businessman. We are going to miss him terribly.” — Jack McBride, CEO of Contec Inc.

“Corry lived a life in service to his household, the neighborhood he liked and the OTO group. He at all times gave the most effective of his time and his skills to others. As a gifted listener and chief, he elevated each encounter to a memorable and affirming occasion.” — Halsey Prepare dinner, CEO of Milliken

About OTO Improvement

OTO Improvement, a part of The Johnson Group, is an award-winning, fast-growing resort growth and hospitality administration firm. Based in 2 004 and partnering with the Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott manufacturers, OTO’s trade management place is anchored by a portfolio of wonderful lodges staffed by distinctive individuals. The corporate at the moment owns and/or operates ~70 lodges comprising roughly 8,000 room keys. OTO’s development is targeted on creating new lodges in high-barrier-to-entry markets; buying and repurposing present resort properties; and increasing administration contracts with purchasers starting from publicly traded REITs to non-public fairness corporations to high-net-worth people. For extra data, go to

Diane Jackson
Public Relations Supervisor – OTO Improvement
OTO Improvement

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