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Survival of Florida’s restaurants and lodging establishments top goal for new FRLA executive committee

by | Feb 10, 2021


In tough times, the focus becomes narrower and narrower until all you really care about is surviving.

Unfortunately, this is the situation facing more than 10,000 members of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) and its newly installed Board of Directors Executive Committee as they struggle to stay in business and recover following the devastating COVID-19 pandemic impacts.

“My main goal as Chairman of the FRLA is keeping our brothers and sisters in business,” said Chef Jim Shirley, 2021 FRLA Chairman of the Board and owner of Chef Jim Shirley Enterprises. “Working with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, we will provide hotels and restaurants with the tools they need to keep their doors open. Our successful advocacy at the state and national levels is critical to the survival of our businesses, and I look forward to making great strides this year.”

Among the most influential trade associations in Florida, FRLA represents restaurants, lodging establishments, and industry suppliers with 10,000 members from small businesses to the largest businesses in the industry. It protects, educates, and promotes Florida’s hospitality industry, which was a nearly $112 billion industry with 1.5 million employees before the COVID-19 pandemic. The association continues to advocate for hospitality and tourism businesses in Florida as they rebuild from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.

The members of the 2021 FRLA Executive Committee are: Chairman Chef Jim Shirley, Owner of Chef Jim Shirley Enterprises, Santa Rosa Beach; Vice Chair Olivia Hoblit, Regional Manager for Innisfree Hotels, Amelia Island; Secretary-Treasurer and Restaurant Director 2021-2022 John Horne, Owner of Anna Maria Oyster Bars, Bradenton; Restaurant Director 2020-2021 Carlos Gazitua, President and CEO of Sergio’s Family Restaurants, Miami; Lodging Director 2021-2022 Barbara Bowden, Area Managing Director for Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando; Lodging Director 2020-2021 Roger Amidon, General Manager for Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa; and, Immediate Past Chairman of the Board Sheldon Suga, Vice President & Managing Director of Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key. Their full bios can be found here.

“FRLA is incredibly proud to have such exceptional leadership on our FRLA Executive Committee,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “As Florida hotels and restaurants fight to survive and recover from devastating COVID-19 pandemic impacts, it is critical that we have engaged and passionate people helping our efforts. This year we face new challenges with COVID-19 liability protections, vacation rental regulation, alcohol-to-go, and a proposed federal minimum wage that may eliminate the tip credit for restaurants. This Executive Committee brings more than 200 years of combined experience to build on as we implement innovative and lasting solutions to improve and rebuild our hospitality industry.”

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