Charles Banta, general manager of the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, played host at his own coming out party Saturday evening as he officially took over as president of the board of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.
In a "Wild, Wild West End" theme gala at the Hilton property, Banta took over as chairman of the board from outgoing president Catherine Puskar.
Despite the wintery conditions, attendance and spirits were high at the event, which saw more Stetsons than stilettos and was emceed by City Councilman Frank Fannon.
"Last year was one of many changes for the Chamber," said President and CEO Tina Leone. "We were still able to accomplish many great things and now look forward to an exciting year of growth and opportunity with Charles as our new chairman."
Banta, a graduate of Cornell University, was named general manger of the Mark Center Hilton in June of 2005. Prior to that, he was general manager for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and was with the Wyndham Corporation for 21 years.
In addition to his position with the chamber, Banta serves on the board of the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. He is also the vice president of the Autism Advocacy Coalition of Virginia. He and his wife Venus are parents to Eddie, 7, and Lola, 6.