Hydrothermal Initiative members

The committee of global experts have been selected for their personal expertise and innovative abilities, experience and willingness to freely invest their time in an industry about which they care passionately.

cassandra cavanah

Founder, Cavanah Communications, United States

Cassandra heads up Cavanah Communications, a public relations, marketing and consulting agency with a specialty in spa and wellness. Cassandra is part of the PR team for the Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the annual gathering of international leaders to positively shape the future of the $3.7 trillion global wellness economy, and works throughout the year for both GWS and GWI spreading the word about wellness research and initiatives to the global media. Cassandra spent 10 years living in the UK and served as the Executive Director of Spafinder Wellness Europe for six years. In addition, she co-authored and edited the Guide to Hydrothermal Spa & Wellness Development Standards for the Global Wellness Institute's Hydrothermal Initiative.


Sammy gharieni

Founder & CEO, Gharieni Group, Germany

Sammy Gharieni founded the Gharieni Group 25 years ago.  The company has emerged as a leading European manufacturer of high-end spa and medical furniture beds and equipment. Today Gharieni exports to more than 70 countries around the globe. Committed to continuous improvement, Gharieni is ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified, with production in Germany.


Oliver W. Hasenfuhs

Managing Director, SnowBOX GmbH &  Founder of Snow Industries Network, Germany

In 1997 Mr. Hasenfuhs was co-founder of snow promotion GmbH, the mother company of SnowBOX GmbH. Since 2005 SnowBOX develops and provides snowmaking systems for event, spa and industry. Still new products are developed for the spa market to meet the customer’s expectations in cool treatments. Starting as professional ski&snowboard instructor during his economic university studies in the 1990th, he became one of the experienced experts for special snowmaking technologies in Europe. By founding the snow industries network in 2016 a new milestone is set for customer orientated distribution of snowmaking technologies considering the worldwide market requirements.


Robert Henry

Founder & Principal, RDH Architects, United States

Bob Henry is the founder and principal of Robert D. Henry Architects, an award-winning spa architecture and design firm based in New York. He is co-author of Spa: The Sensuous Experience. His design philosophy is devoted to the empirical experience; whereby visitors engage all their senses. His projects include The Setai-NY, Vdara Spa-Las Vegas and The Mandarin Oriental- Miami.


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Alison Howland

President, Spa Success Consultants, United States
 
Alison Howland is the President of Spa Success Consultants, specializing in unique projects with diverse needs.  Skilled in development, business, training and education as well as marketing, Alison knows that to create guest experiences that go beyond traditional spa treatments, incorporating the healing aspect of hydrothermal areas is imperative. From authentic hamams to outdoor hydrotherapy to sauna, steam and experiential showers, educating spa attendants, therapists and Spa Directors on promoting the proper use of hydrothermal areas is critical to safe, enjoyable experiences with a difference. 


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Rolf Longrée

Managing Director, Lux Elements GmbH & Co. KG, Germany

Since 1996 Mr. Longrée is Managing Director of Lux Elements, manufacturers of waterproof building materials ranging from wall lining systems for wet rooms and shower areas to freestanding monobloc building systems and prefabricated cabins and structures within thermal suites. Longrée has been involved in the spa industry for more than 30 years.


alister macdonald

Group Managing Director, Barr + Wray, United Kingdom

As Group Managing Director of Barr + Wray Alister MacDonald is responsible for controlling global operations and formulating the strategic development of the Group. With its Head Quarters in the UK and subsidiary offices in Dubai and Hong Kong B+W is a truly global player in the field of wet spa design and installation with projects completed in over 40 countries.  B+W client list now includes almost all of the world’s finest International Hotel Groups. Alister is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has held senior management positions in a number of engineering businesses over the past 25 years.


Frank Mason

CEO, Absolute Group, United Kingdom

Frank Mason is managing director of Absolute-Pools, a leading provider of specialist pools for the spa “wet-area,” which Frank sees as a vibrant area in which to play out his passion for “the expression of water in design.” Absolute-Pools offers design, manufacturing, installation and after-service capabilities. Frank’s goal is to keep the Absolute group at the leading edge of the pool and spa business.



stephan mayer-klenk

Managing Director, Kemitron GmbH, Germany

Since 2007 Stephan has successfully managed Kemitron, a family business specialising in the design and manufacture of high quality, hi-tech solutions for the spa and wellness industry. Fragrance and chemical dosing are the origins of the business which expanded this technology to create the globally popular Experience Shower and its many derivatives, both standard and custom, together with ranges of cosmetics. The range of Kemitron products now embraces post treatment sanitising systems, automatic fragrance dosing for saunas and steam rooms and emergency call systems. Stephan’s studies in the USA, extensive travel and a global network of partners continue to expand his wide and diversified knowledge.



amy mcdonald

Owner Principal, Under a Tree Health and Wellness Consulting, United States

Amy McDonald is the owner of Under a Tree Consulting and has designed world class wellness experiences over 30 years that support optimal health and sustainability on an international level. Specialties include turnkey development and operational consulting globally. An advocate of water’s healing properties, Amy has chaired the Hot Spring Initiative for GWI for the past 2 years.


veronica schreibeis smith

CEO & Founding Principal, Vera Iconica Design, United States

Prior to founding Vera Iconica Architecture in 2010 in Jackson Hole, Veronica Schreibeis Smith worked as an architect on four continents. Smith values adventurous experiences that are rooted in culture and landscape, and is passionate about promoting holistic wellness through intuitive design and thoughtful material selection. Vera Iconica, meaning "true likeness," focuses on creating and carefully designing experiences; the architecture is a means to this end.


Christian Sommerhuber

Managing Director, Sommerhuber GmbH, Austria

A fifth-generation member of the Sommerhuber Ceramic Manufactory, Christian Sommerhuber plays an integral role in maintaining the company’s position as Europe’s leader in heat-storage ceramics for cruise liners, hotels and private spas around the world. The company’s successful focus on design and hygiene garnered nominations for the European Spa Award in 2011 and 2013.


Frank Strobel

Director, International Sales, KLAFS GmbH & Co. KG, Germany

Frank Strobel has over ten years of experience in the spa industry. As director of KLAFS International Sales, the world market leader in sauna, pools and spa, he and his team are responsible for over 60 partners worldwide. He coordinates direct sales and collaboration with customers and partners, and always keeps a close eye on the market to detect and set trends.


Heinrich Unbescheiden

Vice President, Unbescheiden GmbH, Germany

For more than ten years, Heinrich Unbescheiden is vice president of Unbescheiden GmbH, responsible for sales, development and marketing. The company has been family-owned for five generations and manufactures hydrotherapy and spa equipment with the highest standards: sophisticated technology which harmonizes with clear and stylish design. Unbescheiden ranks among the world's leading suppliers of units and equipment for the spa sector.