Meet the Owners
Three generations of the Rembe Family have owned and help operate Los Poblanos. In 1976, Penny and Armin Rembe purchased one-half of the property from Albert and Barbara Simms, where they raised their four children and maintained the property as gentlemen farmers. In 1999, the second half of the property, which included La Quinta Cultural Center, came up for sale and was under threat of being developed. Together with their four children, they decided to reunite the properties and undertake a preservation plan to maintain the architecture, gardens, and open farmland in perpetuity. In their retirement, Penny and Armin ran the inn for five years. In 2004, their son Matthew Rembe became Executive Director, and continues to developed all areas of the business, from expanding the lavender spa product business to the addition of guest rooms, fine dining, and cultural programming.
Meet the Team
Matthew Rembe, Executive Director
Matt grew up at Los Poblanos and now oversees all aspects of the business on behalf of the Rembe Family. He worked as Director of Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art in New York City, where he became a specialist in the field of 20th Century Latin American Masters. Matt attended Syracuse University, where he obtained a BA in Spanish and received his MBA from the prestigious Thunderbird School of Global Management. His wife Teresa, and sons Mateo and Max have had a significant influence on Los Poblanos’s dedication to quality food and can often be found enjoying the myriad sights, sounds, and tastes of the Inn and Organic Farm.
Kerissa Dakini, General Manager
Kerissa has dedicated 16 years to the hotel and hospitality industry. Previously, Kerissa worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico at some of the top-rated properties in New Mexico, including Inn of the Five Graces a Relais & Chateaux, Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, Starwood’s La Posada de Santa Fe and The Historical Bishop’s Lodge Resort and Spa. Kerissa believes in excellence in operations and customer service property-wide and most importantly, exhibits a true love for people, guests and staff alike.
Marietta Crane, Director of Finance
Marietta grew up in Northern Virginia, but moved to San Francisco right after high school. She received her BS in Accounting and Finance from San Francisco State University. Subsequently, she spent almost 20 years in progressively responsible positions in finance in professional service organizations, most recently as the CFO of an international law firm with offices around the world. During that time she visited New Mexico frequently and fell in love with its beauty and diverse culture. A few years ago she decided to leave the high pressure San Francisco corporate rat race and move to New Mexico where she then spent over four years leading the finance department at the oldest and largest pistachio ranch in New Mexico. When the opportunity at Los Poblanos arose, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of one her favorite resorts in New Mexico. Marietta is now proud to be a member of the Los Poblanos family and is looking forward to contributing to its success.
Barb Swanson, SPHR, Director of Human Resources
Barb oversees all aspects of human resources for Los Poblanos. She has over 25 years of HR experience and received her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification in 2005. She had served as a VP of HR at an environmental service firm in Houston, Texas. She also was part of the Associate Development team at The Best Small Company to Work for in America as designated by the Best Place to Work Institute. Barb is committed to ensuring every employee is an engaged member of the team by partnering with the managers to provide an encouraging and open work environment. Barb is familiar with employment law and stays abreast of all regulations. She says Los Poblanos has a company culture that truly appreciates and works for the development of its people.
Lauren Kemner, Marketing Manager
Originally from Texas, Lauren joined Los Poblanos after working in the fashion industry in New York City for several years. The storied history, dedication to sustainability and tangible authenticity first drew Lauren to Los Poblanos, and she is thrilled to be part of the dynamic leadership team at the farm. She is inspired by the unique agricultural and culinary model, vibrant family history and genuine hospitality and hopes to strengthen and grow the Los Poblanos community by sharing these rich stories.
Amy Carrara, Design & Brand Manager
Amy was born and raised in Albuquerque and over nearly three decades, has worked in many areas of design and advertising. Amy worked with the Rembe Family over ten years ago and is so excited that she was able to return and now calls this her work home. With such beauty and inspiration around every corner at Los Poblanos, she feels that luck has fallen upon her and that this might be the most perfect place where a designer can spend her days.
Jonathan Perno, Executive Chef
A native New Mexican, Jonathan is now recognized as one of the leading chefs in the Southwest. He has been at Los Poblanos for over ten years and, with the Rembe family, helped shape its vision of Rio Grande Valley Cuisine. Jonathan has been nominated five times as a semi-finalist for a James Beard award and is a strong advocate of the Farm to Table philosophy. He is a butcher, farmer, beekeeper and has trained many cooks to become great chefs, many who now run kitchens of their own. He collaborates with organizations locally and nationally that are dedicated to improving the quality of food, soil and culinary technique.
Richard Garcia, Campo General Manager
Richard grew up in Albuquerque; however his many years of restaurant management temporarily took him to San Francisco to work in several of Wolfgang Puck's fine dining establishments. Returning to Albuquerque to raise his children, he has embraced the Southwest, New Mexican culture and the Los Poblanos mission.
Mauro Bettini, Director of Food & Beverage
Mauro was born and raised on the picturesque shores of Lake Como in northern Italy. He honed his skills and built his career working in some of the finest restaurants and hotels across Europe. Mauro came to the United States some 30 years ago to work as the General Manager of the historic Palace Hotel in Santa Fe. It was at the Palace that he met and married his wife, a native New Mexican, and together they built a family. Mauro left the Palace to establish his own restaurant in Taos, New Mexico – the critically acclaimed Stakeout Grill & Bar. Mauro attributes his success in business as well as in life to commitment, consistency, and personal attention to detail. Mauro’s diverse background and along with over forty years of experience in the industry, make him a valued and respected member of the Los Poblanos family.
Dylan Storment, Director of Wine & Spirits
Born and raised in Santa Fe, Dylan began working in restaurants in his early teens and quickly felt at home in the industry. Dylan’s passion for food, wine and fine dining brought him to Los Poblanos in 2008. Dylan started out as a server but quickly climbed the ladder to management. He has overseen the front-of-house dining staff and beverage programs for the restaurant and events at Los Poblanos. With over 20 years experience in hospitality and dining, Dylan was instrumental in the development and is now the Director of our Wine & Spirits program. Dylan is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Shaelyn Hesch, Director of Event Sales
As a fifth generation Santa Fean, Shaelyn's New Mexican roots run deep. After a 20 year stint in San Francisco, she returned to her beloved desert mountains in 2015 to join the team at Los Poblanos. During her time in the City by the Bay, she honed her skills at Fork & Spoon Productions, a boutique production company, planning, designing and executing distinguished events throughout Northern California. Shaelyn later owned and operated a floral design company where she worked closely with local growers to create custom, artistic arrangements for weddings, local businesses and private clients. With a passion for design, great food and wine, and gracious hospitality, Shaelyn's unique experiences bring a high level of attentiveness to our guests and organization, with a focus of creating exquisite and memorable events.
Melissa Rivera, Rooms Manager
Born and Raised in New Mexico, Melissa brings 10 years experience in the hospitality industry with an emphasis on guest services. Intrigued by the beauty and culture of Los Poblanos, Melissa knew this is where she belonged from the moment she first stepped onto the grounds. Passionate about the legacy and impact Los Poblanos has had on the local community, she is dedicated the preservation and history of the property. Her love for hospitality stems from an inclination to host those from near and far.
Bill Stimmel, Farm Shop Manager
An East coast native who fell in love with New Mexico after his first visit many years ago, Bill brings over three decades of retail leadership experience to Los Poblanos, with a particular focus on specialty foods. Before joining the Los Poblanos family, Bill spent the past five years at Whole Foods Market in store leadership, and previously owned a specialty food store in Ohio. Bill studied business and cultural geography at Bowling Green State University, and his passion for local product foraging and strong belief in the virtues of conscious leadership make him uniquely equipped to serve our guests at Farm Shop.
Karen Converse, Wholesale Lavender Operations Manager
Karen is a proud New Mexican and is native to the Albuquerque area. Her passion for the beauty, culture, and food of New Mexico drew her to Los Poblanos. She grew up in a local family business and left Albuquerque after high school to study Industrial Engineering at New Mexico State University. Karen has 20 years of extensive manufacturing and consulting experience. The better part of her career has been spent helping small manufacturers in New Mexico grow and strengthen their businesses. Karen recently earned her Masters in Engineering Management from New Mexico Tech. Karen is excited to join the wholesale lavender team where she can use her experience to help bring Los Poblanos Lavender to new markets.
Aimee Conlee, Director of Sales & Brand Strategy
From the moment she first experienced Los Poblanos eight years ago, Aimee Conlee has been entranced. Her love for lavender started when she spent time in the farm fields. Aimee’s family was in the business of manufacturing gourmet foods for national distribution, giving her a solid foundation for servicing wholesale partnerships. Holding a degree in International Business from Texas A&M University and certifications in Sound Healing from California Institute of Integral Studies, Aimee is proud of the thoughtful growth of Los Poblanos products. She looks forward to building the brand’s domestic and international partnerships and presence in the marketplace.
Wes Brittenham, Farm & Landscape Manager
Wes grew up in Albuquerque and has over four decades of horticultural experience. From plant nurseries and flower shops, to residential and large commercial landscape design, installation and maintenance, his background is as diverse as gardens can be. He is a landscape designer and his work ranges from austere contemporary with Asian influences to wild natural gardens. He works with Native and Adaptive plants using elements of water harvesting and conservation, permaculture, edible and medicinal plants, and plants for pollinators and wildlife habitat. He has always been a backyard farmer, growing vegetables, herbs and other plants that are appropriate for our southwestern environment. Here at Los Poblanos, he oversees all growing things, from the Historic Gardens to the newer more xeric and multi-functional landscapes, as well as the Kitchen Garden and our beloved fields of Lavender. As an artist and gardener, Wes is right at home with the history, culture, art and architecture that make Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm such a wonderful place to be.