Chuck Hinman, general manager of the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn, was recently awarded Lodging Operator of the Year by the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA) at its annual Hospitality Conference in Seaside.

Hinman has worked in the hospitality industry all his life, beginning as a dishwasher at age 16, but mainly in hotel management in Seattle, Portland and Hood River, according to an ORLA press release.

He’s managed the Hood River Inn since early 1990, shortly after it was acquired by owner group D.M. Stevenson Ranch.

DMSR is made up of family members descended from D.M. Stevenson. The ownership group now operates the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn in Hood River and the Best Western Plus Columbia River Inn in Cascade Locks, as well as their sister restaurants and affiliate properties under Hinman’s leadership.

In accepting the honor at an industry awards luncheon on Sept. 17 in Seaside, Hinman credited much of his success in gratitude to dozens who have helped him along the way, including key staff members.

“I feel fortunate to be supported by so many, and I humbly accept on behalf of our entire team,” Hinman said. “My message to my peers here is to first and foremost, choose quality when given a choice, even though it may come at the expense of the bottom line. It’s easy to say, ‘That’s good enough’ or ‘Okay,’ but I try to model this philosophy when running businesses, making improvements, or choosing staff and their benefits.”

Kathleen O’Connor-McNew, director of sales for the inn, agreed, saying, “Chuck is the quintessential host. When he walks in a room he pays attention to who is present and makes every guest feel welcome and important.”

“He’s created a great family culture among staff that feels good every day you come in. He also makes a point of having consistent, daily connections with our guests that make him exceptional at his job,” said Mark DeResta, executive chef and food and beverage director.

Oregon Hospitality Awards recognize “outstanding individuals who go above and beyond, raising the bar for excellence in performance, service and commitment to the industry.”

Hinman served as Chairman for Oregon Lodging Association from 2008-2009 and as a board member on and off for close 12 years, assisting with the merger with the state restaurant association in 2010.

For further information about ORLA’s 2019 hospitality awards, or to view the video about Hinman’s award, visit

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