Best Western Board Of Directors Elects Officers

Three Best Western International hoteliers have been elected officers of the global hotel giant’s board of directors for the 2001 fiscal year.

Serving as chairwoman of the seven-member board is Cindy Binkele, a California hotelier who served last year as vice chair. The new vice chairman is Ken Smotherman and serving as secretary/treasurer is Lowell Cruse.

Elected to the board in 1997, Binkele is co-owner of the Best Western Somerset Manor & Monterey Café in San Luis Obispo, Calif., a Best Western property since 1963. Binkele is active on the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau. She was former vice president of the California Restaurant Association, Central Coast Chapter. In addition to her Certified Hotel Administrator designation, Binkele holds AH&MA certification from Cal Poly University in managing front office operations, managing human resources in the hospitality industry, principles of food and beverage operations and managing service in food and beverage operations. Binkele is a graduate of Bakersfield College where she majored in sociology.

Vice chairman Smotherman, CHA, opened his first Best Western hotel in 1976 and during the past 23 years, he has owned three Best Western hotels. He currently co-owns and operates the Best Western Old Main Lodge in Waco, Texas. He has also served on various Best Western member committees. Smotherman is a graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana where he earned a degree in business administration.

Secretary/treasurer Cruse, CHA, was elected to Best Western International’s board of directors for a three-year term that began Dec. 1, 1999. Cruse owns the Best Western Villa Inn in Lawrenceburg , Tenn. A 20-year Best Western veteran, Cruse has served in leadership roles as a co-chair and member of Best Western member committees. Cruse holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas.


Best Western is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors, elected by Best Western member hoteliers in seven geographic regions in North America. Each region or District has an average of 300 Best Western properties. Board members must be Best Western member hoteliers and they serve a three-year term as a director and may be re-elected once.

Other members of the current Board include Mark T. Brown, John Van Duyn, Mike Scholz and newly elected board member Nayan Patel who replaces the retiring David Huff.

Best Western International is the world’s largest hotel brand with nearly 4,100 hotels in 82 countries and territories. It is a membership association of independently owned and operated hotels that provides marketing, reservations and operational support to its member hotels.