Damian Riley-Smith - Chairman
Damian Riley-Smith is the Managing Director of Paragraph Publishing, owners of the Scottish Hotel Awards. He founded Scotland Magazine in 2002, Whisky Magazine in 1998, and has developed Paragraph as a media business which specialises in producing magazines, web sites, events, awards and conferences.
Scott Taylor - Special Advisor
CEO of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau until 2015, Scott Taylor began his career in hotels, gaining early success with the Cesar Ritz Award in 1988. He went on to manage three city centre hotels, as well as a spell marketing Forte Hotels. Most recently, as director of the Glasgow Convention Bureau from 1998, he has been at the forefront of growth of the city’s convention business. He established Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, and as Chief Executive steered the company to win Best UK Convention Bureau every year for the past decade, securing more than 3,500 conferences. He led the award winning brand “People Make Glasgow”, and is proud to have been in the bid team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. As CEO of Advance City Marketing, he advises towns and cities worldwide on strategy for destination marketing organisation, convention bureaus and is a technical bid advisor.
Gary McLean-Quin - Honorary President
Gary is Honorary President of The Scottish Hotel Awards scheme which he founded in 2003. A resident of Edinburgh, Gary comes from a rural background in west Scotland and was educated at Glasgow and St Andrews Universities.
Christine White - Membership Manager
Christine has worked at senior level within the Corporate Hospitality and Events Industry for over 15 years, with specific expertise in Quality Assurance, Customer Service Benchmarking, Sales, PR and Marketing.
Through her intrepid customer focus, the Paintball Industry saw the first 4 and then 5 star Visit Scotland Activity Centre, more than 20 years after its birth – a leap that pushed the industry into credibility after years of stigmatic press.
Turning her focus towards the Hospitality Industry once more, Christine is delighted to join us as Membership Manager of the Scottish Hotel Scheme.
Christopher Coates - Managing Editor Scotland Magazine, Editor ScottishHotelAwards.co
Christopher is editor of Scotland Magazine and Editor of ScottishHotelAwards.com, and in this capacity is also a specialist judge for a number of Awards categories.
Anita Ujszaszi - Operations Manager
Anita started hospitality work in Germany, working in 4 Star hotels while studying for a qualification in International Management. Following this, she moved to the US and worked in private catering in Baltimore, Maryland.
Not long after finishing her degree, Anita relocated to the beautiful Isle of Skye where she had to opportunity to work with Anne Gracie and Ken Gunn in building up Duisdale House Hotel for five years. Via Banchory she moved to Edinburgh, where she lead a team of customer service agents for Citibank.
In April 2015 she has then joined the Scottish Hotel Awards and Paragraph Publishing full time as Awards Coordinator.
Anita has been a member of the Scottish Hotel Awards judging panel for three years.
Vivien Devlin - Chair of Judges and Research Judge
Vivien, a member of the Guild of Travel Writers, will carry out research and judging visits and additionally will chair the final decision-making sessions. Vivien will be supported in her role by one of our Senior Judges, Ken Scott.
David Welch - Research Judge
David Welch has been a General Manager for over 30 years, his experiences have mostly been in Edinburgh and Birmingham. His final positions in Edinburgh saw him managing the ‘Crowne Plaza latterly the hotel became the Radisson’ on the Royal Mile for over 5 years. David then moved to ‘The George Hotel’ on George Street where he was the General Manager for over 9 years and subsequently after the acquisition of the ‘Central Hotel’ in Glasgow, re-named ‘The Grand Central Hotel,’ David was appointed Regional General Manager. Within both the Principal Hayley Scottish properties David was heavily involved with their complete refurbishment with a combined capital investment of c £30m.
His passion for excellence in standards and the subsequent profit growth has stood both of these hotels in prime condition and as a testament to the confidence in these iconic hotels both are receiving additional investment. The George Hotel is now emerging from a further £20m development programme.
David continues to live in Edinburgh and when not offering advice to other hoteliers, he enjoys his time walking 2 very large puppies and has 2 grown up daughters also living in Edinburgh. Something tells me his life is going to change somewhat as he will become a grandad for the first time this summer!
Renata Parolari Fernandes - Research Judge
Renata Parolari Fernandes is the founder of Five Star Magazine & Media, a media company and award-winning publication about unique luxury hotels and luxury travel experiences. Renata is an active industry journalist nominated as UK media pioneer in 2011 and an experienced marketing specialist for luxury hotels.
Denis MacCann - Research Judge
Denis MacCann, immediate past Chairman of the Greater Glasgow Hotels Association (GGHA) is an internationally experienced hotelier with multi brand exposure and a proven successful track record in operating, marketing and managing brands.
Starting his career in the Caribbean, as assistant food and beverage manager at Curacao Caribbean Hotel and Casino, two years later he was appointed food and beverage director at La Belle Creole (Conrad Hotel) at St. Martin, French West Indies.
After four years in the Caribbean he returned to the UK to the as conference and banqueting director at the famous Albany Hotel Glasgow. Denis then owned and operated his own fast food franchise business for four years with outlets in Glasgow and Stirling.
He returned to hotels in the position of general manager for Hilton, firstly at East Kilbride Hilton and subsequently at Aberdeen Treetops Hilton.
Denis spent over nine years working for Maurice Taylor and the Chardon Management Company, during which he was appointed the opening general manager of Hotel Indigo Glasgow and remained in charge for four years. The hotel quickly became recognised as one of the leading hotels in Glasgow, picking up the Glasgow Hotel of the year 2012 and Scottish Business Hotel of the Year 2015 at the Scottish Hotel Awards. He introduced the successful Marco Pierre White franchise to the business in 2013.
In late 2014 Denis moved to the 5 star Radisson Blu Glasgow and saw it through the record years of 2014 and 2015. Overseeing the development of an ambitious five year capital plan which included introducing international brand expansion through an innovative tenancy deal.