Dave Hinton, founder of Chicago-based hinton+grusich, died on March 22 at the age of 68, his company announced last week.
Hinton launched hinton+grusich — a national sales organization representing upscale hotels, destinations and hospitality suppliers — in 1986 as one of the industry's first hotel sales representation firms."I have been so very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from and with my father," said Hinton's son, Kevin, who serves as CEO of hinton+grusich. "He was a self-made man with great vision and conviction, sales and business acumen, a great sense of humor and a talented storyteller. He was fiercely proud of the company he worked so hard to build. I am so proud of all that he accomplished for and within the hotel industry, and of the encouragement and mentoring he provided to so many people during their careers."A former board member for the Association Forum of Chicagoland, which presented him with its Supplier Partner Service Award in 1987 and its John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award in 1989, Hinton — sometimes called "Father Showcase" — is credited as the founder of Holiday Showcase, the organization's annual trade show for associations based in the Midwest."Dave had the rare qualities of a natural-born leader," Association Forum CEO Christie A. Tarantino, CAE, said in a statement. "His charisma, street smarts and political savvy led to the success of almost every initiative he took on. His networking skills and ability to influence even the most stubborn leaders are legend. He was an industry 'insider' with a larger than life presence, an air of class, a gentle spirit and a huge heart."Hinton, who lived in the Chicago suburb of La Grange, Ill., was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara, and is survived by his five children, nine brothers and sisters, and numerous nieces and nephews.