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February 7, 2014 - The Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston, a non-profit group representing one of the largest industries in Southeast Texas, has elected Helen Bonsall, General Manager at Double Tree by Hilton Houston Hobby to lead the organization as its 2014 Board of Directors Chairperson. 

Other members elected to the executive board are John Keeling, Vice President Development Valencia Group as Chair Elect; Barry Shank, General Manager of Moody National Companies as First Vice Chair; Tom Netting, General Manager Hyatt Regency as Secretary; Shawn Gracey, General Manager of Hotel Derek, as Treasurer; and Alfredo Matos, General Manager of Wyndham Houston Medical Center, as Sergeant-at-Arms. 

Ms. Bonsall replaces Nelson Gumm, co-founder and CEO of AJR Media Group. Stephanie Haynes will continue as the organization's President. 

Currently the general manager for DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Hobby, Ms. Bonsall has a career in the hotel industry that spans nearly three decades. She began working in sales and catering for Holiday Inn in Beaver Falls, Penn, coming to Texas in 1980. She became general manager for Holiday Inn North in 1987 and moved to her current position in 2004 (the hotel was the Hilton Houston Hobby Airport at the time, converting to its present name last year).

She graduated from Edinboro State University in Edinboro, Penn, with a bachelor of arts degree in speech and communications. She has been active in the HLAGH since 1994, and is also currently vice president of the Harris County Improvement District Number Nine and is chairperson of the Public Safety & Security Committee.

While the position may be a voluntary one, the HLAGH Chair oversees an organization representing an industry which were it a single company, would be the largest in the area in employment, taxable income and economic impact. The organization has been especially valuable in helping government and emergency operation agencies coordinate lodging needs during hurricanes and other emergencies and has extended its efforts in educating the general public on finding available rooms in the region during emergency evacuations. It is an invaluable go-to organization in helping create packages to attract major conventions, sporting events and national and international conferences.

About Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston

With 300-plus members, the organization is made up of general managers and owners of hotels and lodging facilities, suppliers, service companies and consultants who sell and service the hospitality industry. This industry, which provides more than 89,000 jobs and more than $300 million in payroll, is one of the top contributors to the Houston economy.

Serving as the voice representing the hotel and lodging industry in the Houston area, HLAGH is active in governmental affairs, education, tourism and charitable efforts. Among Ms Bonsall's responsibilities will be coordinating advocacy efforts and educational programs as well as its charitable efforts - the organization provides scholarships to the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.

The organization works closely with the Greater Houston Conventions and Visitors Bureau to promote Houston as a convention and tourism location. For more information, call the HLAGH at 713-437-5250 or visit its web site,   

Contact: Mark G Hanna, CUSTOMER FIRST


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