Hotel Online  Special Report


 Thirty Two Benchmark VPs, Managing Directors & General Managers
Clean Up Museum's Rail Yard in Chattanooga
Move 96 Tons, Put Benchmark's Hometown Hospitality in Action Again 

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, May 2006 ... Thirty two of Benchmark Hospitality International's vice presidents, managing directors and general managers recently concluded their Annual General Manager's Meeting by donning work gloves, flexing their muscles and joining together to clean up the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum's East Chattanooga Rail Yard. 

The Benchmark executives, who were meeting at The Chattanoogan, Benchmark's urban resort located in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, put the company's nationwide community service initiative, Hometown Hospitality, in action by doing so.

"To be able to utilize this many volunteer man hours allowed us to deal with a major clean-up project that has been building for years," said Tim Andrews of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. "The Benchmark team jumped in and brought about an incredible change in the appearance of our yard and shop area.  We could not have done this without them and we were grateful for their help." 

The rail yard was covered with pieces of metal and other debris that had gathered through the years, which needed to be removed, organized, shrink wrapped and placed on flat beds for storage or disposal.  Much of the metal was old and rusting, so gloves were donated by Best Manufacturing for use by the Benchmark team members.

Fortified with a luncheon held prior to the clean up in a 1922 vintage Dining Car while riding across the museum's three-mile demonstration railroad, the Benchmark crew went forward with the belief that many pairs of hands make light work -- or at least lighter work.  After four hours, the job was done.  The Benchmark general managers had hand-lifted, organized, and stacked on pallets 96 tons of material!  The rail yard was clean and safe for visitors to traverse.  Benchmark once again demonstrated the merits of getting involved in the local community to effect positive change.

ON ENGINE, Front Row L to R:  Fred Julius, Mike Taylor, Matt Hoffman, Ellen Sinclair,  Joli Furda, Tom Cupo, Roy Young, Sean McLaughlin, Hal Powell, Bob Zappatelli.

Second Row L to R:  Davide Barnes, Jim Bullock,  Scott Spann, Brenda Weskamp, Sam Haigh,  Tom O'Shea.

Third Row L to R:  Dave Vogt,  Eric Adame, Scott Spurlock, Greg Parsons. 

ON CABOOSE, Front Row L to R:  Bob Boyle, Abid Butt, Laura Neumann, Ken Jesina, Tom Manno, Eileen Santoli, Stewart Weiner, Tom Murray.

Present for photo but not pictured: Patti Culwell  (photographer)

About the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

In 1959, a small group of Chattanooga rail fans, concerned about the disappearance of steam locomotives and passenger trains from the railroads of America, organized the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM).  In 1961, the TVRM was formally chartered as a non-profit, educational corporation.   The first eight years were devoted to collecting whatever equipment was obtainable by donation, while seeking a permanent site for construction of an operating railroad in the Chattanooga area. In 1969, this search ended successfully when the Southern Railway System gave TVRM a four-acre tract in East Chattanooga located adjacent to the original 1856 Southern main line.  Since TVRM is a volunteer, non-profit organization, what might have taken a commercial railroad about four months to complete took TVRM nearly 20 years.   For more information on the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, visit  

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

Benchmark Hospitality International 
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas   

Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax

Also See: Benchmark Appoints Scott Spann General Manager for The Chattanoogan / March 2005

Benchmark Opens the Chattanoogan Early and Under Budget / May 2001


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