Advisory Board

Advisory Board

Mike Handler

25+ years in the hospitality window coverings industry. Owner of Contract Decor International. Led company through acquisition in 2017. Currently Managing Director at Valley Forge Fabrics. Founder of Cruise for Life, a 501c3 charity which combined my passion for sailing with raising money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Advisory Board

Heather Scott

Heather Scott has been immersed in the hospitality industry for nearly two decades, working in both design and sales. Upon graduating from Harrington Institute of Interior Design in 2001 she launched into her career with two U.S. based giants in the industry, Looney & Associates and Forrest Perkins. Her competitive nature led her down the path of sales where she quickly learned how important networking is and joined the NEWH Dallas Board. All of this experience, guidance from mentors, and support from family, gave her the courage needed to launch PROOF. In her own words, “I find creative and professional inspiration on a daily basis due to the many facets of the hospitality industry I’m exposed to with PROOF. This is what I’ve worked so hard for, the excitement and pride that comes with the collaboration between client, our environment, the manufacturer and myself.”

Being a part of the Hospitality Cares team is truly an honor. This industry is full of individuals and companies ready to rally for the well being of each other and Heather is thrilled to be a part of it all.

All that being said, her brightest accomplishment thus far is her family; husband Neal Scott, daughter Vivienne Winter, two wonderful bonus children, Copeland and Abby, and three little rescue dogs. Life is good.

Advisory Board

Stephen Perkins

Stephen Perkins is a partner in HotelStudio, a Washington DC and Dallas hospitality design firm focused on unique properties for which story is important.  Stephen has been designing hotels, core and shell, and interiors, for about forty years.  In 1998, he was a founding partner of ForrestPerkins, a firm for which he shared leadership for fourteen years.  Stephen lives in Washington DC.

Advisory Board

Alan Benjamin

Alan Benjamin is the world’s leading hospitality Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) expert. He is founder of Benjamin West, the FF&E and OS&E purchasing firm based in Boulder, Colorado, with offices in Chicago, Dallas and London. Benjamin West provides its services to owners, brands, and operators in 40 countries and six territories.

Mr. Benjamin became a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) in 2000 and assisted the organization in determining the FF&E budgets for the ISHC’s CapEx 2000 report, the industry’s reference for Capital Expenditures.  In partnership with the Hotel Asset Managers Association (HAMA), he later co-chaired the next three ISHC CapEx studies in 2007, 2014 and 2018.

In addition, he has been published and quoted in all major media and his speaking engagements include all the major global conferences. Mr. Benjamin served on the Board of Gifts-In-Kind International now called Good360 (, one of the largest charities in the world and was honored to receive the 2015 Chuck Pinkowski award for outstanding member service from the ISHC. Mr. Benjamin currently serves on the non-profit Hospitality Cares Advisory Board.
Mr. Benjamin graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Colorado, College of Business. 
Advisory Board

Lee Szromba

I am currently the President of Light Annex, we are the sister company of iWORKS. Our division specializes in corridor and guest room lighting for the luxury hospitality market.

My entire professional career has revolved around lighting in one way or another. Over 20 years in the residential market and now approaching another 20 years in the hospitality sector.

 I pride myself as being the go-to source for my clients when problem/challenging lighting situations arise.

 Outside of work I enjoy the outdoors, cycling, skiing, surfing… basically any human powered activity.

Advisory Board

Mitch Parker

Mitch Parker is a Partner of The Parker Company, Co-Directs the FF&E Division and has been with the company for over 35 years. Mitch acts as a Partner Administrator for FF&E projects, and is currently responsible for corporate sales and marketing and all operational aspects of the company including IT, HR and Accounting. Mitch is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts.

Advisory Board

Mitch Zerg

Owner / Manufacturer’s Representative / MZA

Native of Los Angeles in the Design/Hospitality industry for over 40 years, Mitch serves the best interests of all parties involved.  He brings with the most positive energy to all his experience, expertise, compassion, and trust.  With the highest emphasis placed on customer satisfaction and his beloved staff’s personal and professional development, Mitch’s network is inhabited by like-minded people and companies continually seeking to create, develop, and bring to fruition every clients vision.

Advisory Board

Walter Rice

Walter Rice is a Director of Sales for Kimball Hospitality. In this role, he coordinates the purchase and manufacturing design, of casegoods and upholstered product for hotel guest rooms and public areas. He works externally with owners, purchasing groups, and designers. Internally, he manages the criteria of the project with product development and customer service.

Walter began working in electronics before starting his career in furniture. He started running a multi-head drill in 1983 for Kimball Office and worked his way through inventory control, CNC programming, and engineering before transferring to hospitality furniture in 1996 as a design engineer.

Walter’s experience in engineering custom furniture for Kimball Office gave him a drive to get to the front of the process to help designers bring their furniture dreams to life, with as little disappointment as possible. He has continued that theme throughout his journey in hospitality. Communication being key; he organized a design training session for the design engineers to more fully understand design elements and the terminology used by designers.

In 2001, Walter migrated to Project Management, working on hundreds of projects, from award winning, historic traditional properties and hotels in tropical locations, to new modern buildings, with the latest in luxury amenities. In 2018, he moved into the Sales Director role with a focus on high end, custom furniture.

Walter’s goal is to leave everything better than he found it and create unique solutions that make the customer smile. Projects are a personal source of pride. But even more important are the friendships he forms along the way.

Outside of work, you can find Walter involved with his church, playing with family, or finding an adventure that involves height and/or speed. He is the master of the quick vacation. He likes public speaking, running, biking, pushing the limits of formulas in Excel, and he is still working on the infamous first book.

Advisory Board

Mark LeClair

Mark LeClair is a Manufacturers’ Representative for a small portfolio of hospitality companies. He feels a strong calling to be present for those battling life’s struggles. Mark lives in Colorado with his wife, daughter, and two sons. He is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys any chance to celebrate the outdoors.

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