Hotelier Profile: Scott Nowak, Senior Manager, State and Local Government Affairs, Hilton

Scott Nowak is Senior Manager of State and Local Government Affairs for Hilton. Since joining the company in 2017, Scott has managed Hilton’s corporate legislative and regulatory advocacy priorities, as well as government and industry relations efforts, at the state and local level throughout the United States. His issue portfolio is broad in scope, encompassing topics ranging from taxation, labor, operations, corporate responsibility initiatives, and an array of policy efforts to ensure an overall business environment that sets Hilton’s industry-leading portfolio up for success.

He received his B.A. in International Relations from Michigan State University and his Juris Doctor from Michigan State’s College of Law. While a non-practicing attorney, Scott remains admitted to practice law before the state bar of Illinois.

Describe your career path so far.
Prior to joining Hilton, I was Assistant Director of State Government Affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), a national trade group representing the real estate finance industry. I spent five years managing MBA’s public policy efforts at the U.S. state and local level, as well as the association’s engagement with state mortgage banking associations across the country. Before MBA, I served as a law clerk for U.S. Senator John McCain, and prior to that I spent time as a law clerk at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. My career path has included diverse areas of focus, and I see this as a strength I bring to the hospitality industry, as I have had the privilege of working on policy and legal challenges across a wide issues spectrum and with a broad range of stakeholders.

How long have you been the Senior Manager of State and Local Government Affairs for Hilton?
August 2019 will mark my two-year anniversary with Hilton.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I appreciate that the legislative and regulatory issues I get to work on—in conjunction with CHLA and other great associations in our space—can have an immediate positive impact on our industry. Whether it is working with a legislator on a bill that would affect our business or helping to advance a major policy improvement, I am proud that my efforts are helping protect our industry’s—more specifically, Hilton’s—ability to offer exceptional experiences to guests and meaningful opportunities for employees.

What is a typical work day like for you?
Something that I really enjoy about my role is that no day is typical. Advocacy undertakings I am addressing can vary by the day, with highly unique circumstances. Whether I am traveling to a legislature, learning more from my in-house experts about an area of the business, or working with allies to build strategy on a particular issue we are facing, the variance is in constant flux.

What advice do you have for those interested in entering government affairs for the hospitality industry?
Hospitality is an incredible industry to be a part of, and the public policy issues surrounding it are comprehensive. Be prepared to work in an ever-changing environment of issues and absorb a lot of information quickly. If you are prepared—and thrive in this type of atmosphere—you will benefit not only from a rewarding work portfolio, but also from the experience and institutional knowledge of industry colleagues who care deeply about the experiences of our guests and employees. 