the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions, typically in a particular domain. common sense. wisdom. understanding.

expert in planning, designing, and building large and medium scale new construction and renovation projects. owner's rep. hospitality specialist. go-to-resource. one-stop-shop for development services. 


Acumen Development Partners is a national provider of turn-key real estate development services with extensive expertise in upscale and mid-scale hospitality.


100  hospitality projects
50   non-hospitality projects
20,000   guestrooms built
1.2 Million   sf mtg space built
3 Billion  dollars development value
65   familiar cities
50   years partner experience

With Acumen, each part of the development process is managed with 360-perspective, acumen analyzes each challenge in a long-range context, troubleshooting forecasted outcomes before they affect the bottom line.

In any development project - especially hospitality - time is money. every decision must be weighed not only in terms of hard cost, but the cost of the time as well.

Remove the learning curve from your proforma. Build your next project Boldly With Acumen.


Market Analysis

Feasibility Assessment

Due Diligence Surveys

Franchise Coordination

Financial Services

Design Management

Cost Forecasting

Permitting Management

Construction Management

FF&E Procurment

Utility Negotiations

Technology Systems

Energy Management

MEP Coordination

Low Voltage LED Lighting

the acumen approach



Working closely with our network of top-tier design firms, Acumen presents options for designers that understand not only the brand, but the marketplace of the asset. 
Once a designer is selected, Acumen provides design management that ensures the design makes sense both financially and in terms of the market.
From large-scale luxury, to full service, to select service - Acumen has familiarity with each brand’s unique standards and has contacts at the brand itself. Our forte is custom design in challenging footprints.


Whether coordinating the interpretation of a geotechnical report with the structural engineer, devising creative and brand compliant ways to value engineer electrical distribution, assist the interior designer with furniture layout, or providing the contact information of a go-to resource for stone slabs - it’s all in a day’s work with Acumen.
To be successful at managing design in terms of construction, your project management firms needs to be able to think quickly on their feet, with knowledge of all areas of the development process. This, and more, is what you get with Acumen.



Most hospitality renovations occur in open hotels. As such, Acumen is no stranger to staying both out of sight and efficient while also managing crews to uphold a high standard of excellence.
In any open facility, appearance and conduct are key – which is why we require our crews to wear identifying shirts/badges, protective gear per OSHA standards, and maintain the utmost respect for hotel staff and guests. Acumen understands the standard work hours of the industry and we work with each property to set the level of expectation upfront.



Acumen’s project management excellence has produced awards, including project of the year from Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt.
Our team has been around the block, and as such we have good idea of what’s coming and how each decision may affect the success of a project.
Our group mixes traditional wisdom with cutting-edge agility. We cooperatively apply technology, relationship management, financial resources, and human capital to fix problems before they happen, and keep the project on the offensive.


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Acumen understands the value of time in the development business, especially hospitality. Before each project begins, we take time to understand the client’s expectations, discuss possibilities of schedule, get creative on phasing, and figure-out the best possible way to achieve our goals. 
Acumen insists upon weekly coordination calls throughout each project, and daily construction coordination meetings with the contractor.



Every Acumen project is assigned an on-site construction manager.
This individual is a constant set of eyes and ears to proactively ensure the construction team has what it needs from the consulting team, that the contractor is properly coordinating activities with the various subcontractors in terms of how it needs to be done for hospitality, that schedule is being maintained, and that the quality of the workmanship is something of which  the contractor, Acumen, and the client are proud.



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Mr. Laski is co-founder and Managing Principal  of Acumen Development Partners. Wielding more than 25 years’ construction and development experience across many successful businesses, Mr. Laski oversees field operations of all Acumen Projects and provides oversight to all corporate business functions.

Prior to Acumen, Mr. Laski was the founder of DCMI, a hospitality focused project management firm that provided project development and construction management services to Ownership groups and other third parties throughout the United States. During his time with DCMI, Mr. Laski managed the design, purchasing, and construction of nearly three dozen projects across various Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood properties. Mr. Laski is a renowned for his ability to achieve the unachievable. He is a go-to resource for some of the top ownership groups and franchisers in the hospitality business. His project bandwidth spans from $1 million projects to $250 million dollar projects, across 16 states. 

Prior to DCMI, Mr. Laski was Director of Project Services for Hyatt Corporation in Chicago, IL. At Hyatt, Mr. Laski protected brand integrity via managing the redevelopment of Hyatt Select Service projects nationwide. His responsibilities included the development of scope of work documents, generation of conceptual project budgets, production of CapEx plans and forecasts and management of construction implementation. 

Prior to Hyatt, Mr. Laski was Vice President of Design and Construction at Noble Investment Group, where he provided oversight on all of the company’s renovation projects nationwide. Prior to Noble, Mr. Laski worked as director with JA Jones Construction.



A native of Chicago, and seasoned veteran of the hospitality industry, Ms. Garza is the ‘grease’ on the wheels of the Acumen Machine. A corporate leader in the firm, and reporting directly to the managing principals, Ms. Garza provides a variety of support services including project coordination, marketing, purchasing management, contract administration, and business development. Ms. Garza has garnered over 18 years of specialized experience in the hospitality and residential industries and has completed an extensive number of projects in the Chicago area.

Prior to working with Acumen Development Partners, Ms. Garza served as Vice President of Design at Interior Image Group (IIG) in Dyer, Indiana. Her strong organizational background assisted in implementing streamlined project methods, employee performance standards and strengthening team engagement.

Prior to IIG, Ms. Garza worked for American Hotel Register for eight years. Her responsibilities included leading a large team of interior designers and FF&E project coordinators on a variety of hospitality, government and residential projects. She also partnered with company-wide sales, marketing and merchandising teams to design and promote new FF&E product and design service offerings. 

Ms. Garza received her Master of Arts from Ball State University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Harrington College of Design. She is certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, is a registered interior designer in the state of Illinois and holds a LEED Green Associate credential. 



Part of Acumen’s value-add to its clients is its relentless pursuit of perfection in construction quality. Since 2009, Ms. Housel has led that effort for the company. Ms. Housel works directly with general contractors and subcontractors throughout the construction process, from mechanical, electrical and plumbing rough-in to final finishing, to furniture placement and turnover. Using Acumen’s proprietary product delivery system, Tracie manages all construction quality assurance, including the tracking of turnover progress by area, punch list execution, and client acceptance.

Ms. Housel also acts as liaison between Acumen and a variety of project stakeholders, including consultants, franchisers, and facility operators to insure the requirements of each entity are met or exceeded.

Ms. Housel is an undergraduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill  and holds a Master's degree from Georgia State University. She is an active member of Associated Builders and Contractors as well as The Fails Management Institute.





Mr. Knowles brings over 10 years of construction management and real estate experience to the Acumen team. He has built an excellent track record in developing strong working relationships with project stakeholders resulting in successful construction experiences for all members of the project team. Adept in every aspect of the development cycle, Mr. Knowles meticulously manages construction activities to ensure each project is running smoothly from pre-construction to close-out. His portfolio includes over $300 million in hospitality, mixed used and luxury residential projects across the United States.

Prior to Acumen, Mr. Knowles provided commercial and residential broker services for Axis Realty Inc., Blackhawk Builders, Mitchell Homes, David Martin Homes, Ray Hunter Construction and Paramount Community Builders.

Mr. Knowles is a graduate of Gwinnett Technical College and is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Georgia.




Johnny Hilfiker brings over 18 years of construction management experience to the Acumen team. His portfolio consists of nearly $200 million in boutique & resort hospitality, retail, industrial, and government commercial construction. Johnny effectively manages all aspects of the construction process to ensure projects are on time, and within budget.

Prior to joining Acumen, Hilfiker served as a project manager with SRS Construction. Specializing in luxury hospitality, Mr. Hilfiker excelled in leading teams of subcontractors to suceess. .

Prior to SRS, Johnny was with WDG Construction, specializing in municipal, industrial, and assisted living projects.  There, Mr. Hilfiker honed his direct leadership style which is 'to the point', and makes expectations clear to all parties. 

Prior to WDG construction Johnny was with Kite Realty Group, a publicly traded leader in retail developments across the United States.

Mr. Hilfiker attended Oklahoma Baptist University and earned a Bachelors in Business Management from the Paul Dickenson School of Business.