Hay-Adams president starts a new chapter

December 23, 2012

Thomas Heath is away, but we found some newsy tidbits to pass on in his absence.

Kay Enokido is retiring as president of the Hay-Adams hotel at the end of this year, after 23 years there.

Enokido, 71, oversaw the iconic hotel’s $20 million renovation in 2000 and the addition of its rooftop venue a few years later. In 2005, she founded the hotel’s popular author series, which began as informal gatherings of friends and has evolved into an elaborate affair with long waiting lists. Ron Chernow, Joyce Carol Oates, Maya Angelou and John Grisham have all been featured guests.

“As an independent hotel, we don’t have a lot of the things that chain hotels do — a big swimming pool, underground parking, concession stands,” she said. “But we have something that nobody else has: Our location and our history. So I thought, let’s do something that celebrates the culture of this hotel.”

Enokido, formerly a photojournalist in Tokyo, began working at the Hay-Adams as an owner’s representative in 1989. She became the hotel’s president in 2005.

“There’s never a good time to retire,” Enokido said. “It’s hard to let go. But things are just so wonderful, the hotel is doing so well — and that’s why it’s OK to leave.”

— Abha Bhattarai

A power-ful start-up

District upstart Melon Power has been purchased for an undisclosed sum just eight months after the company began building software that helps commercial properties better assess their energy conservation.

The company is the brainchild of Craig Isakow, an entrepreneur who first moved to Washington in 2009 to work for the Energy Department. There, he helped oversee $13 billion in stimulus funding for state and local governments to pursue renewable energy projects.

In April, Isakow began crafting a way for property owners to more easily calculate a score that indicates a building’s degree of energy efficiency. The prototype took second place in the Energy Department’s Apps for Energy Challenge in May.

Melon Power, whose only full-time employee is Isakow, has now been bought by WegoWise, a Boston-based firm that analyzes the energy consumption and overall performance of buildings. Isakow said he will work for the company from the District, which he said has been “trailblazing” in the push for greener buildings.

“There’s a lot of opportunity being based down here given the strength of the Washington market,” Isakow said.

— Steven Overly

A firm of their own

After years as analysts at first BB&T and later Lazard Capital Markets, Michael Lewis and Michael Smith are starting a new consulting company.

The two jumped to Lazard in fall 2010 after eights years analyzing the defense, aerospace and government services markets at BB&T. But Lazard this month opted to shutter its defense group, leaving Lewis and Smith to rethink their options.

They’ve just established the Silverline Group — named in part for the new Metro Silver Line that will connect Tysons Corner, where the firm is based, to downtown D.C. Now finalizing a logo for the two-man shop and planning a Web site for early January, Lewis and Smith envision the business as a consulting firm for public and private companies in aerospace, defense and government services.

Within about a year, they plan to register as brokers so they can handle mergers and acquisitions.

— Marjorie Censer

Open house

Dan M. Tangherlini, acting administrator of the General Services Administration, pitched developers last week on Federal Triangle South, an area with five federal buildings including the completely empty Cotton Annex and the Forrestal Building, headquarters of the Energy Department — which Tangherlini said is incredibly inefficient energy-wise.

“There is a certain irony to the Department of Energy building,” he said.

Old friend Harriet Tregoning, the D.C. planning director Tangherlini worked closely with under then-mayor Adrian Fenty, stood up with an interesting question: Would the GSA consider swapping some of its valuable land for building services that it otherwise cannot afford, such as the build-out of Department of Homeland Security headquarters at St. Elizabeths hospital? “That is absolutely the kind of thing we’d love to hear about,” Tangherlini said.

Proposals for Federal Triangle South are due Feb. 4.

— Jonathan O’Connell

More parties

Don’t put away that holiday finery quite yet. Washington’s bevy of law firms is sending out invites for luncheons, receptions, and viewing parties for the Jan. 21 inauguration of President Barack Obama. Among them are Skadden Arps — which in 2005 had former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist as its luncheon speaker — Covington & Burling, Crowell & Moring and K&L Gates, which are hosting lunches, parade viewings and other soirees for clients, employees and invited guests.

— Catherine Ho

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