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On Island Profle: Stanley Selengut

Oct. 19, 2007 — Maho Bay Camps and Concordia Studios and Eco-tents developer Stanley Selengut recently added another award to his already considerable number of accolades for environmental stewardship.
He is the 2008 recipient of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants Pioneer Award. He'll accept the award at an Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles in January 2008.
Selengut said the award came as a big surprise because it comes from people he called heavy hitters in the hospitality industry. He said they are major international consultants who control the industry, a departure from the "tree-hugging community with little resorts" that has often honored Selengut for his trend-setting environmental work at his St. John properties.
He said the hotel industry, which is a big consumer of the world's resources, is catching on to the need to go green.
"Green is now being embraced by developers and owners and is being discussed in the boardrooms of the largest companies in the travel industry," ALIS chairman Jim Burba said in a news release.
Selengut said emerging countries like China, Russia and India are "barreling along" building hotel properties.
"There's starting to be a real shortage of materials as the industry grows," he said.
He said this mean that conserving non-renewable resources is becoming a necessity.
Selengut is one of those tree-huggers with little resorts. He started with Maho Bay Camps, which opened in 1976. In the late 1980s, Concordia Studios opened. Harmony Resort, adjacent to Maho Bay Camps and with its buildings made of recycled materials, came next in 1993. The Concordia Eco-tents followed with the first ones opening in the late 1990s.
The Concordia property continues to grow. A restaurant and yoga pavilion opened this year, and Selengut said he plans 15 villas complete with air-conditioning.
Selengut is shifting operations to Concordia because the lease on the land under his Maho Bay Camps operation runs out in 2012. While he said he hopes a group like the Trust for Public Land will step in, he isn't counting on it.
He owns the land at Concordia, which he said was why he was willing to put more money into developing the villas. He said he also plans to provide management services for those villas and others in the area.
Selengut said he's also proud of the trash to treasure work at Maho Bay Camps. He initiated ways to use items that would be normally be recycled in places where shipping wasn't a major expense into attractive and useful items. They include objets d'art made out of recycled glass and aluminum cans as well as clothing made from fabric that started its life as hotel sheets. And scrap paper and clothes dryer lint became attractive homemade paper.
He said he's often embarrassed by all the attention given to his environmental work because he didn't initially have that goal in mind.
"I'm an entrepreneur. Maho's been profitable since the day it opened," he said.
By trade, Selengut is a civil engineer. Born in the Bronx, New York, he graduated from New York University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering.
He started his career in the 1950s when he created a company that imported South American native crafts. The company eventually sold products to 1,100 stores and employed over 2,000 Andean Indians.
This led to a job as a consultant to the John F. Kennedy administration, working in Latin America for the U.S. State Department and as a consultant in industrial development for the Economic Opportunity Office.
Consulting for the Rockefeller family first brought him to St. John and its V.I. National Park.
Now 78, Selengut is nearly blind due to macular degeneration. While it's slowed his activities since he can't drive and he can't see his notes when spreading the word about how to build environmentally-friendly resorts, it doesn't seem to have dimmed his spirit.
And he and his wife of 35 years, Irma, still travel to St. John.
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Oct. 19, 2007 -- Maho Bay Camps and Concordia Studios and Eco-tents developer Stanley Selengut recently added another award to his already considerable number of accolades for environmental stewardship.
He is the 2008 recipient of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants Pioneer Award. He'll accept the award at an Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles in January 2008.
Selengut said the award came as a big surprise because it comes from people he called heavy hitters in the hospitality industry. He said they are major international consultants who control the industry, a departure from the "tree-hugging community with little resorts" that has often honored Selengut for his trend-setting environmental work at his St. John properties.
He said the hotel industry, which is a big consumer of the world's resources, is catching on to the need to go green.
"Green is now being embraced by developers and owners and is being discussed in the boardrooms of the largest companies in the travel industry," ALIS chairman Jim Burba said in a news release.
Selengut said emerging countries like China, Russia and India are "barreling along" building hotel properties.
"There's starting to be a real shortage of materials as the industry grows," he said.
He said this mean that conserving non-renewable resources is becoming a necessity.
Selengut is one of those tree-huggers with little resorts. He started with Maho Bay Camps, which opened in 1976. In the late 1980s, Concordia Studios opened. Harmony Resort, adjacent to Maho Bay Camps and with its buildings made of recycled materials, came next in 1993. The Concordia Eco-tents followed with the first ones opening in the late 1990s.
The Concordia property continues to grow. A restaurant and yoga pavilion opened this year, and Selengut said he plans 15 villas complete with air-conditioning.
Selengut is shifting operations to Concordia because the lease on the land under his Maho Bay Camps operation runs out in 2012. While he said he hopes a group like the Trust for Public Land will step in, he isn't counting on it.
He owns the land at Concordia, which he said was why he was willing to put more money into developing the villas. He said he also plans to provide management services for those villas and others in the area.
Selengut said he's also proud of the trash to treasure work at Maho Bay Camps. He initiated ways to use items that would be normally be recycled in places where shipping wasn't a major expense into attractive and useful items. They include objets d'art made out of recycled glass and aluminum cans as well as clothing made from fabric that started its life as hotel sheets. And scrap paper and clothes dryer lint became attractive homemade paper.
He said he's often embarrassed by all the attention given to his environmental work because he didn't initially have that goal in mind.
"I'm an entrepreneur. Maho's been profitable since the day it opened," he said.
By trade, Selengut is a civil engineer. Born in the Bronx, New York, he graduated from New York University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering.
He started his career in the 1950s when he created a company that imported South American native crafts. The company eventually sold products to 1,100 stores and employed over 2,000 Andean Indians.
This led to a job as a consultant to the John F. Kennedy administration, working in Latin America for the U.S. State Department and as a consultant in industrial development for the Economic Opportunity Office.
Consulting for the Rockefeller family first brought him to St. John and its V.I. National Park.
Now 78, Selengut is nearly blind due to macular degeneration. While it's slowed his activities since he can't drive and he can't see his notes when spreading the word about how to build environmentally-friendly resorts, it doesn't seem to have dimmed his spirit.
And he and his wife of 35 years, Irma, still travel to St. John.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.