Entrepreneurs of the Year

Andrew Firestone & Jess Parker

Award Sponsor: Raymond James

In 1994, while studying at the University of San Diego, Andrew Firestone was introduced to the hotel business courtesy of “Shilo Inns” in Portland, Oregon. Andrew held various positions in both operations and development for the 52-hotel, independent chain before pursuing institutional finance at BancBoston Robertson Stephens in San Francisco, where he would eventually manage the trading activity of a $500 million portfolio for the firm’s largest private client broker team. In 2008, Andrew was hired as director for Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, which has a portfolio of high-end hotels and golf courses, including both Four Seasons and Rosewood Resort properties.

In 2014, when Andrew and Jess Parker founded StonePark Capital, Andrew took responsibility for overseeing the entitlement process and equity raise for each project, working closely with local government and community groups to ensure that StonePark projects were positioned appropriately within the community.

In addition to his daily duties at StonePark Capital, Andrew serves as a member of the La Quinta Brand Council and as a board member for both Visit Morgan Hill and Visit Santa Barbara. Andrew is also active in the philanthropic community, supporting a variety of organizations focusing on youth and family programs, shelter and food insecurity, the environment, and the arts.

After a decade of experience in private equity and public equities research, Jess Parker began his hospitality career by leading the $14 million purchase of the 70-room El Prado Inn in downtown Santa Barbara. He also served as project manager and oversaw the recent $30 million expansion and rebrand of the property as a 122-room Courtyard by Marriott.

Jess also led the development of StonePark’s three ground-up projects in San Luis Obispo, Morgan Hill, and Santa Rosa as well as the acquisition and rebrand of the Waterman Hotel in Santa Barbara and Hotel Cerro in San Luis Obispo. In 2022, Jess managed the sale of the 104-room La Quinta Inn and Suites in Morgan Hill and protected the profits with a creative 1031 exchange into both the 31-room Waterman Hotel and a partnership interest in the 235-unit Miramar Apartments in Colorado. In addition to his hands-on role in development, Jess is also focused on identifying new hospitality investment opportunities.

Jess is vice president at his family’s charitable foundation, the Hutton-Parker Foundation, and has served on several nonprofit boards in Santa Barbara, including those for Antioch University and the SBCC Foundation.