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Gary Leopold and René A. Mack Recipients of HSMAI's Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations and the
Albert E. Koehl Award for Advertising and
Marketing Excellence
Will Be Honored at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Night in
New York City on Jan. 24, 2005

MCLEAN, VA (Nov. 4, 2004) – Recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions and lasting impressions on the hospitality and travel industry, the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) announces the recipients of its annual Winthrop W. Grice Award for public relations and the Albert E. Koehl Award for advertising and marketing excellence.

The 2004 recipients of these lifetime achievement honors, who will be acknowledged at the Annual HSMAI Adrian Awards Night on Jan. 24, 2005 in New York City, are René A. Mack, of Weber Shandwick, who will receive the Winthrop W. (Bud) Grice Award and Gary Leopold, CHME, of ISM, who will be honored with the Koehl distinction.

“The hospitality and travel industry is so fortunate to have the dedication of bright, caring and committed individuals who serve their profession and industry beyond compare,” states Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.

“These annual awards are HSMAI’s way of paying tribute to them, and hopefully encouraging others to make similar commitments to their careers, the discipline and the industry,” Gilbert adds.

Winthrop W. Grice Award

René A. Mack, president of the Travel & Lifestyle Marketing Practice at Weber Shandwick, is the 16th recipient of the Winthrop W. Grice Award.  Over a course of 23 years, his journalistic training, ability to develop news, feature and lifestyle stories with the national media has placed his clients above the fold, on covers and with the nation’s top network and affiliate TV and radio stations as well as moved them into pop culture.  His crisis and reputation management programs have “saved lives” according to Bob Sheets, former Director of the National Hurricane Center. 

Mack’s client list is a virtually “who’s who” in the travel industry: The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism; The Canadian Tourism Commission, American Airlines, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Beverly Hills, Hilton Head Island, Atlantic City,, Singapore Airlines, Avis/Budget and The Central Park Conservancy.

Mack joined Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading global public relations agencies, in 1996.  In the past eight years, he has grown the practice from one account to one of the largest in the nation and as Paul Holmes recently wrote in his Agency Report Card for 2004, “Perhaps the best big agency travel practice in the country.” 

At Weber Shandwick alone, he has helped clients earn two Silver Anvil Awards of Excellence and six PRSA Big Apple Awards; a CIPRA Award for Crisis Communications, the PR Week Award for Crisis Communications, IABC Ace Award, the 2003 Classic Telly Award, the 2003 PR News Award for the Best of Show, the 2003 Mercury Award Best of Show, and more than 100 HSMAI awards for tactical programs as well as eight Platinum Awards for the most outstanding entry in a respective category.

Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Mack was a vice president at Lou Hammond & Associates where he developed strategic public relations programs for a wide variety of travel destinations and consumer products.  Before that he worked at Porter/Novelli and began his career in 1982 at Peter Rothholz Associates, a three-person agency that specialized in tourism and consumer products.

He has created several recognized industry events and alliances, the most revolutionary being The Islands Of The Bahamas Weather Conference with the National Hurricane Center and U.S. meteorologists.  “Dealing with hurricanes” rather than avoiding them, this visionary program has literally changed the way the geography of the Caribbean is reported to the U.S. consumer and the world.  It has earned the respect and praise of weather experts and meteorologists and is considered one of the most important annual weather conferences.  Other alliances include Nickelodeon and The Islands Of The Bahamas, Chrysler and Hilton Head Island and an unprecedented segment on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno where Howie Mandel and American Airlines moved an entire studio audience in the middle of the show.

Mack continues to feed his journalistic roots and is going on his tenth year as the fine-dining restaurant reviewer for The Record in Bergen County, New Jersey.  He also written feature, by-lined articles and has his photography published in more than 100 publications, including USA Today, Travel & Leisure, The Boston Globe, The New York Post, San Francisco Examiner and the Dallas Morning News and has appeared on numerous TV shows.  He also has lectured on integrated marketing/public relations at the master’s level at Boston University, Columbia University and New York University.  Mack is also a former soloist and actor with the New York Metropolitan Opera. 

The Winthrop W. Grice Award was established in 1989 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to public relations in the hospitality industry.  It was named in honor of Winthrop W. Grice, CHME, a long-time senior marketing executive with Marriott, who was the award’s first designate.  Some of the other winners include: Virginia M. Sheridan, Lou Hammond, Bunny Grossinger, Priscilla Hoye-Scott, Herbert D. Kelleher, Stephan A. Wynn, Alan Fredericks and Donald Trump.

Albert E. Koehl Award

Gary Leopold, CHME, president and chief executive officer of the marketing and advertising firm ISM is the 29th recipient of the Albert E. Koehl award for advertising and marketing excellence.

Leopold first joined the company in 1984 when it was called Irma S. Mann, Strategic Marketing, Inc., and he has spent the last 20 years shaping it into what is known today as ISM, a firm that has won acclaim for its work for some of the world’s premier travel and leisure brands such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, American Express, Emirates, Barbados and Harley-Davidson.  Leopold also is principal of The Prism Partnership, LLC, which serves as ISM’s travel and hospitality industry consulting group.

Prior to joining ISM in 1984, Leopold was the corporate director of public relations for Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, responsible for the communications activities of 13 hotels worldwide.  Prior to joining the travel industry, Leopold was the director of advertising for the Osaga and Kid Power lines of athletic footwear. 

Leopold is an active member of HSMAI and has served as its elected chairman.  His term was marked by such accomplishments as the decision to expand the successful HSMAI Affordable Meetings® show to other parts of the country and reinvigorating the Board of Directors by engaging companies like American Express and reaching out to emerging firms like Expedia.

Leopold continues to serve on the HSMAI Board of Directors of the Americas and on the Board of the HSMAI Foundation.  He was the founder of the HSMAI Golden Bell Public Relations Awards and Golden Click Web Awards (both now part of the overall HSMAI Adrian Awards program), and was also one of the co-founders of the Annual HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala dinner.

Leopold wrote and edited the Art of Hotel Advertising, which was published by HSMAI, and has also written for the HSMAI Marketing Review, Successful Meetings, and Business Travel News among other publications.

Leopold’s work in advertising and marketing has garnered awards from many organizations, including HSMAI, The Direct Marketing Association, The New England Direct Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America, AH&MA, ASAE, and many others.

A highly-respected marketer, he has served as an advisor to many leading travel, hospitality and leisure organizations including the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Hong Kong Tourist Board, Canadian Tourism Commission, Wyndham Hotels, Red Lion Hotels, Metropolitan Detroit, and many others.  He is also a noted expert in travel marketing and has taught and lectured at many universities, colleges and private organizations. 

Leopold is on the Board of Directors of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, and has served on the Corporation of Curry College where he graduated in 1977, magna cum laude with a degree in Communications.

The Albert E. Koehl award was established in 1975 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to advertising and marketing in the hospitality industry.  A lifetime achievement award, it was named in honor of Albert E. Koehl, a pioneer in hotel advertising.  Past recipients include:  Horst H. Schulze, John J. Russell, Jr., CHME, Michael A. Leven, CHME, Richard Branson, Michael D. Eisner and Gordon “Butch” Stewart.

HSMAI is an organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry.  With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, while operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and sales and marketing management disciplines.  Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising nearly 7,000 members worldwide, with 41 chapters in the Americas region.

Tickets and table sales can be purchased by contacting Cass Bullock at phone: (609) 628-2348; fax: (609) 628-2819; or e-mail: or visit


Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International 8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300
McLean, VA 22102
phone (703) 610-9024
Also See: HSMAI to Honor Marilyn Carlson Nelson with the Grice Award and Stanley C. Plog, Ph.D. with the Koehl Award / January 2004
Bunny Grossinger Receiving the W. Grice Award and Peter Warren, CHME the Albert E. Koehl Award from HSMAI / November 2002

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