Leadership

Our Leadership

Founded in 1970, ACCESS Destination Services sets the standard for excellence in award-winning destination management services in North America. We are your single source for everything from creative program design and unique special event production, to transportation logistics, corporate social responsibility programs and recreational activities. With national reach and local expertise, our professional team will meet your objectives and exceed your expectations for corporate, incentive and association groups.

Christopher H. Lee, DMCP, Partner & CEO
Chris began his destination management career in the early 1980′s, working for ACCESS Destination Services (then named California Leisure Consultants) in San Diego and Los Angeles. In 1989 Chris purchased the San Diego office and became President of that operation. He is a Co-founder and Past President of the Association of Destination Management Executives, a contributing author to “The Guide To Successful Destination Management”, and the 2006 Destination Management Professional of the Year honoree. Chris was also named one of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry by Meeting News Magazine. He is a featured speaker and serves on numerous advisory boards in the hospitality industry.

Candace Bisconte, DMCP, Partner – Orange County
Candi began her destination management career in 1978 with ACCESS Destination Services (then named California Leisure Consultants). Over the next ten years, she held operations, sales, and management positions with the company in San Diego, Palm Springs and Orange County. In 1989, Candi and her husband Greg purchased the Orange County office where she continues to serve as Partner.  As one of the founders of ACCESS, Candi represents over 20 years of experience in destination management and event production.

Barbara Smith, DMCP, Partner – Palm Springs
Barb began her destination management career in 1976, with ACCESS Destination Services (then named California Leisure Consultants). She excelled in sales and management roles in all of Cal Leisure’s offices before purchasing the Palm Springs office in 1988 with her husband Ken, where Barb served as President. The Smiths are destination management veterans. Barb is well known and respected across the country as a destination management expert.

Mary Carvotta-Trexler, Partner – Northern California
Mary Carvotta-TrexlerMary’s background includes over 20 years of national event, meeting planning and destination management experience combined with nationally recognized expertise in event design and aesthetics. Prior to joining ACCESS, Mary was one of the founding principals of Perfect World Events, a San Francisco destination management company. Mary managed the firm’s corporate sales initiatives, proposal development and creative teams. Mary’s diverse background and unmatched experience is partnered with an enormous amount of creativity, knowledge and professionalism. A Bay Area resident since 1995, her hands-on knowledge of the region with its unique and diverse offerings enables her to develop customized programs tailored to every client’s needs.

Rob Elliott, Partner – Northern California
Rob brings more than 25 years of domestic and international event management experience to ACCESS Northern California. Prior to joining ACCESS, Rob was one of the founding principals of Perfect World Events, a San Francisco destination management company, where he managed the company’s program operations and marketing efforts. Additionally, Rob’s credentials include having directed event management and implementation activities for a blue chip roster of clients including NBC Sports, Nike, NBA, and many others. He also served as managing director of a joint venture between the NBA and Host Communications in Geneva, Switzerland; established Pamplona Marketing and Events, a lifestyle marketing company; and presided over Sport and Social Clubs of the U.S.

Greg Bisconte, Partner – Orange County
Greg spent twenty years in real estate development and commercial property ownership and management before entering the meetings industry. In 1989, Greg and his wife Candi purchased the Orange County office of ACCESS Destination Services (then named California Leisure Consultants), and he became Vice President and General Manager of that office. He continues to serve in that capacity today. In addition to his local management role, Greg oversees the I.T. systems of ACCESS Destination Services, ensuring that we are constantly equipped with the latest technology to provide superior service, quick response time, and immediate access to program information and resources.

Ken Smith, Partner – Palm Springs
Ken was involved in the commercial building industry in the San Diego, Orange County and New England areas for over 15 years before joining his wife Barb, in 1988, as an owner and General Manager of ACCESS Springs (then named California Leisure Consultants). Ken is currently a partner in ACCESS and is actively involved on a local level with the business and hospitality community.

Jennifer Miller, DMCP, General Manager – San Diego | Los Angeles | Arizona | Las Vegas
Jennifer Miller began her career in the hospitality industry over 14 years ago as a meeting planner/account executive for a local incentive travel firm. In 2000, Jennifer joined ACCESS San Diego as a Program Manager. Then, as Director of Operations, she managed a team of program managers and was responsible for all client program operations and key account management. In 2004, Jennifer was promoted to General Manager of the San Diego office based on her client satisfaction record, leadership skills and business acumen. Jennifer is especially proud of leading a team of business professionals and growing the San Diego office which has twice been named by the San Diego Business Journal as one of “San Diego’s Best Places to Work.”

Gary W. Marr, CMP, LES, Partner – Chicago
Starting in his teens as a buffet runner for his mother’s catering business, Gary eventually found himself the Senior Director of Catering in Chicago’s largest convention hotel, the Hyatt Regency Chicago for over 13 years. He was also a national trainer with Hyatt in Catering Sales & Marketing, Event Design and Creativity. Prior to Hyatt, Gary spent 20 years with Marriott Hotels spanning the country. While opening the Maui Marriott he fell in love with the design and creation of major themed events and business theatre where he says that he learned from the best of the best in the special events and Destination Management industries. He is an industry recognized expert in ‘all things catering’ and is known for his sense of style and scale of managing special events.

Phil Lehman, Partner – Florida
In 1994, Phil began his destination management career in Orlando with his brother Fritz. Phil held positions in all areas of his company including Executive Vice President just prior to the sale of the company in 2000. In February of 2002, Phil founded Experience Florida, Inc. Under his leadership as President, the company became a statewide leader in destination management over the next nine years. As owner of ACCESS Florida, Phil continues to advance his expertise in overall management and client relations with a focus on complete customer satisfaction and program success.

Jeff Davis, Partner – Texas

Jeff has over 20 years in the hospitality industry and a proven track record of selling, planning and executing comprehensive events.  He began is career in the hotel industry where he orchestrated hundreds of special events and meetings.  Before joining ACCESS, Jeff founded Outstanding Productions – one of the most successful DMCs in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.  Jeff is one of the most enthusiastic people you’ll ever want to meet. He loves what he does and approaches the challenge of creating unique programs for each client as if each were the only one.

Jaclyn Bernstein, Partner - New York

Jaclyn BernsteinJaclyn’s career began at college at a boutique DMC, Tours de Force Events, rising to Vice-President.  In 1994, Jaclyn purchased the company with business partner Rob Hulsmeyer and embarking on 20 years of award-winning event productions, destination management, and professional recognition worldwide.  A true born and raised Brooklyn, New Yorker, Jaclyn’s known for her very NY personality. Jaclyn’s an acknowledged leader in NYC’s hospitality industry, sitting on the Board of NYC & Company / Convention and Visitors Bureau; as well as being inducted into the International Special Events Society (ISES) New York Metro Chapter’s Hall of Legends.  She’s also been inducted into Biz Bash’s and Event Solutions magazine’s Hall of Fames, as well winning the Spotlight ‘Event Planner of The Year’ and ‘Samaritan Service’ Awards.

Robert W. Hulsmeyer - New York

rob-hulsmeyerRob’s career in the events profession has followed an entrepreneurial path that includes multiple businesses, and encompasses a diverse range of experiences from entertaining to designing to producing.  In 1994, Rob partnered with Jaclyn Bernstein in forming Empire Force Events and embarked on 20 years of award winning events and programs prior to joining ACCESS. Known for his attention to detail and production knowledge, Rob was one of the first industry professionals to earn all three industry designations: DMCP, CMP and CSEP.  In addition to being recognized as Event Producer of the Year by Biz Bash, Rob has been induction into both the ISES New York Metro Chapter’s Hall of Legends and the BizBash Hall of Fame.

Maria DiBenedetto - Philadelphia

maria-headshot

Maria DiBenedetto has been producing signature events in Philadelphia for over twenty years. With a unique resume that includes staging and production, marketing and branding, business development and promotions and a touch of flair, Maria and her team offers the most comprehensive, personalized and strategic event support.  Maria is steadfast in her commitment to remain a DMC expert in Philadelphia and recognizes that her and her team’s greatest strengths remain in the robust knowledge of and key relationships within their city.

Talk about going beyond the call of duty!
- Executive Assistant
Icynene Inc.

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For 10th consecutive year, ACCESS named Top 25 DMC!

  For the tenth consecutive year, ACCESS Destination Services has been named one of the Top 25...
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