Scott Stinebaugh is a spartan. But as an MSU student, his focus was business, not the university’s well reputed hospitality program.

“I never had any idea I would wind up in hospitality,” says Stinebaugh, director of sales and marketing for the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit. “But I wound up in a Hilton training program right out of college. It wasn’t really what I wanted to do, but I was intrigued by it. And that was the beginning, in 1987. So I’ve been doing this for a long time.”

Stinebaugh, a Plymouth native, joined the Northfield Hilton after completing the training program. From there, he joined the Hotel Pontchartrain in downtown Detroit as a group sales manager.

“The Pontch was independently owned then, and it was the go-to luxury hotel in metro Detroit at that time—the Townsend hadn’t been built,” Stinebaugh says. His three years at the Pontch inspired a love of the city. After stints at the Riverplace Inn, the Dearborn Ritz-Carlton and the St. Louis Ritz-Carlton, he returned to the city, joining the Westin Hotel Renaissance Center in 1994. That was the beginning of Stinebaugh’s career with Westin hotels, which next took him to the Southfield property and then to open the Detroit airport’s hotel. A few years later, he learned about the new hotel opening in the Book Cadillac building. 

“When I heard this was going to be a Starwood project, I raised my hand very high,” he says. “It’s been one of the most fulfilling and gratifying projects I’ve done in my career. I’ve always had a soft place for the city in my heart, which maybe goes back to when I worked in the city early in my career, when people weren’t as supportive of the city. I knew how special this project was going to be and that Detroit was on the cusp of making that turn, so it was just really very exciting.”

Stinebaugh, the father of three grown children (all Spartans themselves), today lives in Royal Oak and enjoys traveling and doing cross fit. He says he looks forward to continue to develop his career and take on more responsibility.

“I could see myself as a general manager; I think I’ve always had aspirations of that,” he says. “When you get into the hotel business, it’s a 24/7 operation. So there’s always something happening. My personality thrives on working with people. The business world has evolved into a lot of working from home. I’m just not sure that’s for me—I like the human contact, to be able to interact with people. A lot of times in our business it’s managed chaos, which I kind of enjoy. It’s never a dull moment.” 

First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 

 

A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above. 

 

Karen Totaro returns to the Midwest to run Detroit’s Huntington Place.