Hotel Online  Special Report


Benchmark Appoints Four Executives to the Senior Leadership
Team at the French Lick Springs Resort and Casino


THE WOODLANDS (HOUSTON), TEXAS, August 2005 - Benchmark Hospitality International has announced the appointment of four key executives to the Senior Leadership Team at the historic French Lick Springs Resort and Casino, located in French Lick, Indiana.

Benchmark assumed management of the resort in April of this year.  French Lick Springs Resort and Casino is part of a $240 million restoration and development program, which includes the historic resort, the equally historic West Baden Resort located nearby and the addition of a casino.

Appointed to the Senior Leadership Team at French Lick Springs Resort and Casino:

Scott Spurlock, General Manager

Scott Spurlock has been appointed general manager for French Lick Springs Resort and Casino.  Mr. Spurlock was previously general manager at Benchmark's Virginia Crossings Resort, located near Richmond, Virginia, where he led a remarkable turnaround in revenue generation and profitability.  During his tenure at the resort, it achieved the coveted AAA Four Diamond rating for the first time in its history.

An experienced hotelier, Spurlock brings two decades of professional hospitality management experience to his new position at French Lick.  Prior to his tenure as general manager for Virginia Crossings Resort, Spurlock was assistant general manager for the Cheyenne Mountain Resort and The Country Club of Colorado, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He also served for a time as director of marketing for Cheyenne Mountain Resort.

Early in his career, Scott Spurlock served as resident manager at Cheyenne's sister resort, Scottsdale Conference Resort, located in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Spurlock has also been previously employed at the renowned Graylyn International Conference Center of Winston Salem, North Carolina, the Westfields International Conference Center of Chantilly, Virginia, and at the Hastings International Conference Center, located in Hartford, Connecticut.

Mr. Spurlock is a graduate of Southwest Texas State University of San Marcos, Texas, where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and Political Science.  He and his family have relocated to French Lick.

Eric Whitson, Director of Sales & Marketing

Eric Whitson has been appointed director of sales & marketing for French Lick Springs Resort and Casino.  A long-time Benchmark sales executive, Whitson was previously director of sales & marketing at The Chattanoogan, located in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He was part of the pre-opening team for The Chattanoogan and was instrumental in its successful positioning within local and regional markets, including the key feeder market of Atlanta, Georgia.

Mr. Whitson has been honored by Benchmark with the company's "Director of Sales & Marketing of the Year" designation and the annual "Marketing Award."  His remarkable career with Benchmark spans nearly 20 years and includes successful positions at The Founder's Inn (Virginia Beach, Virginia), Lansdowne Resort (Lansdowne, Virginia) and The Northland Inn (Minneapolis, Minnesota).  A native of Minnesota, Whitson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BS in Business Administration.  He and his wife have relocated to French Lick.

Michael Cicutto, Director of Resort Services

Michael Cicutto has been appointed director of resort services for the historic property.  Mr. Cicutto was also a member of the Benchmark transition team at French Lick.  He served previously as director of operations for Benchmark Hospitality at The Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta. 

Mr. Cicutto brings considerable operations experience to French Lick Springs Resort and Casino, having served for 15 years in positions of increasing responsibility with International Conference Resorts, a company Benchmark purchased in 2001.  This included serving as resident manager at the Ocean Place Conference Resort of Long Branch, New Jersey, assistant general manager at the Graylyn International Conference Center of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and in diverse operational positions at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Cicutto is a graduate of The University of Colorado.  He and his family have relocated to French Lick.

Keith Schnulle, Director of Human Resources

Keith Schnulle is the new director of human resources for the resort.  Mr. Schnulle brings over two decades of experience in Human Resources management within a resort environment to French Lick.  Recently he was director of human resources at the Bay Point Marriott in Panama City Beach, Florida.  He has also served as corporate director of human resources for Wesley Hospitality of Atlanta.  Early in his career, Schnulle was employed by Marriott Hotels and Resorts, serving at the Marriott Orlando World Center, Marriott Lincolnshire Resort in suburban Chicago, and Chateau Elan Resort in Braselton, Georgia.  He is a graduate of Elgin Community College, located in Elgin, Illinois, and is the recipient of the professional designation of SPHR.  He and his wife have relocated to Orange County.

The French Lick Springs Resort and Casino
Built in the grand style of the turn-of-the-last-century, the French Lick Springs Resort and Casino and its mineral springs have tremendous historical significance as a signature resort.  The extensive financial investment by owners Cook Group, Inc., of Bloomington, Indiana -- the world's largest privately held medical device manufacturer, and the Lauth Property Group of Indianapolis -- one of the nation's leading development and construction firms, will ensure the historic preservation and total restoration of the important property and related amenities, with the vision to develop the Midwest's premier resort and gaming destination.

Existing French Lick Springs Resort and Casino amenities include 471 guestrooms and suites; more than 60,000 square feet of function space; seven food and beverage outlets; 18-hole, historic Donald Ross-designed golf course (which hosted the 1924 PGA Championship); a large equestrian center; several pools; six bowling lanes; a croquet court; five retail outlets; fitness center; a spa featuring 21 treatment rooms; and the famous mineral springs.

In addition to the casino, plans call for the development of the 3000-acre property, including the construction of a second championship golf course and a world-class golf instruction academy, plus numerous other amenities to attract guests and visitors to the secluded, scenic and historic resort community.  French Lick Springs Resort and Casino is managed by Benchmark Hospitality.

Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers and hotels both domestically and internationally.  For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at


The Woodlands (Houston), Texas

Ken Ellens 
(201) 758-2864 / (201) 758-2865-Fax 

Also See: Indiana Companies Cook Group and Lauth Group Join Forces to Develop $240 Million French Lick Casino and Resorts Project / April 2005
Benchmark Hospitality International Takes Over Management the French Lick Springs Resort / April 2005

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