Hinton+grusich, the Chicago-based national sales organization representing upscale meeting hotels and destinations, announced that its founder Dave Hinton passed away March 22.

Having begun his career in hotel sales in 1966 at The Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., Hinton launched hinton+grusich, one of the industry’s first hotel sales representation firms, in 1986, along with colleague Bill Grusich, who serves as the firm's current president. Kevin Hinton, son of Dave Hinton, is the firm’s current CEO. Dave Hinton retired as president in 2003.

A press release issued by hinton+grusich recalled Hinton’s longtime involvement with the American Society of Association Executives, and his vision for an educational and networking event in Chicago to complement ASAE's Springtime in the Park trade show held annually in Washington, D.C. That vision became the Association Forum of Chicagoland’s Holiday Showcase, launched in December 1988. Quoted in the press release, Christie Tarantino, executive director of the Association Forum, said, “Dave had the rare qualities of a natural-born leader. 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.”

Kevin Hinton stated, "I have been so very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from and with my father. He was a self-made man with great vision and conviction, sales and business acumen, and a great sense of humor, and he was 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."

Among his other accomplishments, Hinton served a multi-year term on the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau board of directors, and earned a place in the Meeting Professionals International Chicago Area Chapter Hall of Fame by receiving the Individual Hall of Fame Award in 1993.

Dave Hinton resided in the Chicago suburb of La Grange, where he lived for 38 years, and where he and his wife Barbara raised their family. He is survived by his five children, nine brothers and sisters, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Colleagues, friends, and family may visit a memorial Web site to share tributes. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the David and Barbara Hinton Scholarship Fund at St. Ignatius College Prep High School, 1076 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608. This endowment was established in 2000, after Mrs. Barbara Hinton passed away, to provide a perpetual scholarship for minority students in need. Find more information at the hinton+grusich Web site.