Executive Insights: The Interview Series, FRLA Executive Committee – Greg Cook

Greg Cook, Secretary-Treasurer & Lodging Director 2024-2025

FRLA Board of Directors Executive Committee

Luxury General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Welcome to Executive Insights: The Interview Series where we will be sharing a bit more about FRLA’s 2024 Board of Directors Executive Committee. First up, may we introduce Greg Cook, our Secretary-Treasurer & Lodging Director who is new to the Executive Committee. Let’s get to know Greg a bit more with the interview questions below!


How did you get started in the industry?

I started as a bellman at Marriott Harbor Beach in Fort Lauderdale when I was in school and 20 years old. I joked when the recruiter asked if I would be interested, “Is that the guy that wears the funny hat with the chin strap,” and she said, “Our guys don’t wear those hats and make about $100 a day in cash!” I said, “Sign me up.” It was 1984 and that was a lot of money!

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

Developing future leaders and watching them grow both professionally and personally.  I love seeing an entry-level person develop into a great Department Head and go from living in an apartment with roommates to buying their first house.

What is the most important piece of advice you have ever given/been given?

Been Given: “Listen!” and ask the question “What do you think?” – Mr. Marriott

Given: “Do not limit yourself; you can do anything if you just say yes and go for it.”

What emerging trends in hospitality do you find most intriguing?

AI – it is here and quickly starting to play a larger role in our industry.  It will be interesting to see how our guests ingest it, particularly in the luxury space.

What qualities make a successful hospitality team?

Several: They must have a common goal, a diverse set of skills, be candid in how they speak to one another, be open to ideas, and decide on an action plan and then execute that plan. Then they must measure success and failure and be accountable to the results both good and bad, and then tweak and repeat the process. It is the pursuit of perfection that you never actually achieve, as Mr. Marriott would say, “Success is never final.”

What is the most interesting place you have ever traveled to?

Wow, great question! I have been very fortunate to travel to many places around the world, but I would have to say China. Standing on the Great Wall is an incredible feeling, and being in the Forbidden City is overwhelming as you walk from one section to the next. I would also have to add a personal tour I had of the Kremlin in Moscow to the list, I don’t think that could ever be repeated.

Favorite Florida destination?

So many to list, Florida is such a diverse state and has so much to offer.  For many years it was the Florida Keys as I love to boat, fish, and scuba dive. As I have gotten older, I would now say it is Amelia Island. I love the marsh, ocean, and historic downtown Centre Street in Fernandina.

If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Easy – pizza!

If you could dine with any historical figure, who would it be?

I was fortunate enough to dine with Muhammad Ali so that was incredible. If I had to add another, it would probably be Elon Musk.

What is the most memorable Florida hotel or restaurant experience you have had as a guest? Joe’s Stone Crab is always my favorite. It was a regular lunch spot for me when I managed the Marriott Stanton; now it is always a “go-to” when I am in South Florida.

Beach or mountains?

For most of my life, the beach. As I get older, I am enjoying the mountains.

How do you believe the principles of hospitality can be applied to other industries?

Simple, take care of your people and they will take care of your business. Life is really not that complicated.

What would you say to those coming up in the hospitality industry?

“There are no limits…Go big and enjoy the ride – I have!”

Why is it important for professionals to get involved with FRLA?

I have been working with FRLA for over 20 years. FRLA keeps us informed of legislation that may help or hurt our business. They are our voice in Tallahassee and any legislation presented.  They are also a great resource for our business from Human Trafficking Training to assistance with Liquor License. Also, the best Tourism Networking group Statewide. And of course, Carol Dover is the most influential leader of tourism in the State of Florida. When it comes to protecting our industry, there is no one better.

What do you hope to accomplish on the FRLA Executive Committee?

I plan to positively represent, protect, and improve the hotel industry for Florida so it continues to thrive and offer opportunities for all Floridians.


To read Greg’s biography, visit our FRLA Leadership Page or click here.