Helm appointed to board of world's largest hotel chain
From Staff Reports

Dec. 5, 2004 -- Only seven people on Earth sit on the governing board of the world's largest hotel chain. Guess where one of them calls home?

Charles Helm has officially assumed duties as a newly-elected director on the governing board of Best Western International, the world's largest hotel chain.

Helm, a Sulphur Springs builder, developer and operator who owns Best Western Trail Dust Inn and several other properties, joined the Best Western International Board in November as the new director for District V. He is one of seven directors on the board, each representing one of the organization's seven geographic regions in North America and has oversight responsibilities for all operational aspects of the lodging chain. Best Western International currently has more than 4,100 hotels in 80 countries and territories.

"The scope and breadth of the Best Western system are unmatched by any other lodging organization," Helm said. "As the largest hotel company in the world operating under one brand, Best Western is a force in every market segment and nearly every country and continent."

"As director, my job is to enhance member value and profitability by enabling members to effectively compete in their marketplace," Helm said. "I see Best Western as a viable product for a long time to come, and I am excited about the opportunity to help plan the future of this hospitality leader."

Helm was unanimously elected for the position by the membership of District V, which is made up of more than 300 Best Western properties in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Along with his responsibilities as director, Helm also serves as liaison for the company's membership development committee and the supply committee, one of the hospitality industry's largest. Helm also serves as a member of the organization's audit and international marketing committees.

Helm has been an active Best Western member since the early 1980s. He was a Best Western governor for nearly 15 years and has served on several advisory committees including membership development, supply and executive marketing.

He and his wife, Sharon, currently own and operate the Best Western Trail Dust Inn in Sulphur Springs. They are co-owners, developers and operations partners in the new Best Western Crown Colony Inn & Suites, which opened last June in Lufkin.

In addition to Best Western properties, Helm and his family own and operate the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Greenville and the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Mount Pleasant.

A new LaQuinta Inn & Suites is under construction in Greenville and another LaQuinta Inn development is planned in Mount Pleasant for 2005.

Helm is a past member of the board of directors for the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association and Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce. He has previously served as director and board president of both Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation and Hopkins County Regional Civic Center. In 1992, Helm was named Hopkins County Citizen of the Year.

He has also been a long-time member of Hopkins County Industrial Foundation and serves on the board of directors of Alliance Bank.

Helm is a graduate of Sulphur Springs High School and East Texas State University, where he earned a degree in marketing and finance. Charles and Sharon Helm have two children, Monica, a freshman at Texas A&M University in College Station, and Chase, who is a junior at Sulphur Springs High School.

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