Greg Cook

With over 35 years of hospitality experience, Greg Cook proudly holds the position of General Manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Cook began his hospitality and Marriott International career in 1985 as a bellman at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale. Since then, he has held numerous positions such as Area General Manager for The Ritz-Carlton overseeing multiple hotels, General Manager for the Eden Roc Renaissance where he repositioned the iconic lifestyle property after a $230 million renovation, VP of Hotels for Key International, and other General Manager and Operational positions.

Cook’s involvement in the community is extensive, as he has served as a board member for the Broward Workshop Top 105 CEOs of Broward County; City of Fort Lauderdale Chamber “Economic Advisory Council”; City of Fort Lauderdale Business Improvement District; and founded the Broward Tourism Coalition. With a focus on community Cook led The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale to earn the Community Footprints Award of the Year, an award presented by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company focused on social and environmental responsibility. Greg also serves as Executive Board member and Secretary for Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, previous Chair for Visit Florida where he is now on the Executive Board, Board Member of the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, AHLA Resort Committee Board, as well as being a member of the Southern Innkeepers Association. He is also a Board member for The Boys and Girls Club of Nassau County, an organization that The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island supports as part of their Community Footprints outreach.

As a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, Cook and his wife, Pam, who also works for Marriot International, enjoy their house on the water just south of Amelia Island.  Cook is a proud father to two daughters who are University of North Florida graduates. Cook enjoys fishing, hunting, boating, and simply spending time on the water or his dock with family and friends. He is grateful for island living and for the opportunity to share its treasures with millions of visitors each year.

Chuck Prather

Chuck Prather, President of Birchwood Development, is a local developer turned hotelier and restaurateur who graduated from high school in Tampa, attended the University of Florida, and graduated from the University South Florida with a degree in Business Administration in 1983. His career began as a commercial real estate broker working for large developers. In 1996, he formed Birchwood Development to build and lease back buildings to the federal government. His early projects include the Tampa Drug Enforcement Administration office, Tampa Immigration, Detroit Immigration District Headquarters, Riviera Beach Border Patrol, Jacksonville Border Patrol, and the regional Office of Security and Integrity in Burlington, Vermont.

In 2011, Chuck ventured into the hospitality business to enact his vision for the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront property and fulfill his desire to offer the community something different that combined new development with the area’s history. Purchasing the former Grayl’s Hotel, originally built in 1924, he demolished all but the four exterior walls. Prather re-made the property into The Birchwood – a five-story building that includes an 18-room boutique hotel; a 340-capacity person grand ballroom; Birch & Vine, a fine dining restaurant; a rooftop bar and lounge, and an outdoor sidewalk café,

In 2018, Prather teamed with the City of St. Petersburg to redevelop The St. Pete Pier, a 27-acre city-owned site. The project includes Teak, a 220-seat restaurant overlooking the waters of Tampa Bay, and Pier Teaki, a Tiki-themed rooftop bar with a capacity of over 400. Also at the Pier is a coffee shop and café known as Driftwood Café. The family-friendly development offers 22 public boat slips, a large children’s playground, a splash pad, and a beach.

After joining the hospitality industry, Prather became active in the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). His engagement included meetings and advocacy efforts across the state and in Washington, D.C. for lobbying days, where he pushed for changes to address the many challenges faced in the hotel and restaurant industry. Later, he served two terms as President of FRLA’s Pinellas County Chapter. In addition to working with elected leaders, he also focuses on the education of culinary and hospitality students. He is an avid supporter of Travelpalooza and the Ryan Wells Foundation gala, local fundraisers for student culinary scholarships. Prather was also asked to be an Introduction to Hospitality guest lecturer at St. Petersburg College.

Appointed by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners in 2018, he currently serves on the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council, an advisory board that makes recommendations on how to allocate the funds collected from the county’s bed tax, which exceeded $95,000,000 in 2022. In addition to the FRLA and TDC boards, Prather is also a board member of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership and Suncoast Centers.

Chuck is a family man with six adult children aged 21 to 34.  His wife, Kathy Reilly Prather, M.D. (OB/GYN) left her practice in 1998 and spent many of her retirement years as the volunteer Medical Director at Catholic Charities Pregnancy Center in St. Petersburg.

Nick Sarra

Nick Sarra is Partner and Chief Executive Officer for Saltwater Restaurants Inc. which includes nine iconic high-volume restaurants with over 1,000 employees across the Florida panhandle, a sizable beachfront shopping and dining venue, and an award-winning golf course. Sarra’s more than 40-year career began as a busser at the Sonesta Hotel in Connecticut and was followed by an associate degree in Culinary Arts and a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Johnson & Wales University. His management career started in our nation’s capital in Washington D.C. as part of the Specialty Restaurant Division of Gilbert Robinson, including Charlie’s Place Bar & Grill, H.I. Ribsters, and Hogate’s Seafood. After moving to the Gulf Coast, Sarra operated many well-known establishments before opening his first restaurant 20 years ago. 

Sarra is an active member and past president of the FRLA Board of Directors Northwest Florida Chapter and serves on the Okaloosa County Tourism Development Council.

Olivia Hoblit

Olivia Hoblit has more than 24 years of experience in the hospitality industry and is the Director of Lodging for the World Equestrian Center in Ocala. Previously, she served as a Regional Manager/General Manager with Innisfree Hotels, where she oversaw independent and Marriott dual -brand properties in Amelia Island. She rejoined Innisfree Hotels in April 2020 after spending a year as Assistant Rooms Executive at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, a 446-room, AAA Five-Diamond luxury resort. While at The Ritz-Carlton, Hoblit served as a member of the team that successfully reopened The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas in 2019. She was nominated as “Marriott Ops Star” for going above and beyond operational expectations. During her previous tenure with Innisfree Hotels, she served for five years as the general manager of the Seaside Amelia Inn.

Prior to her position at Seaside Amelia Inn, Olivia spent seven years as the general manager of the highly acclaimed Elizabeth Pointe Lodge and Amelia Island Vacation Rentals. Under her leadership and management with owners David and Susan Caples, she received numerous awards for the property, including Travel+Leisure’s 2013 World’s Best Awards where it ranked No. 25 on its list of Top 100 World’s Best Hotel, No. 3 Top Resort in Florida in 2012, and No. 2 Best Hotel in the Continental U.S. in 2008 Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Award. She also received a “Sharky Award from TravelShark in 2012 for Best Guest- Service General Manager.

Since January 2017, Olivia has served on the Executive Committee of FRLA. She also served as a board member on the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council, Nassau County Chamber of Commerce, Nassau County Economic Development, Nassau County Equality Coalition Career Opportunities, and is an Advisory Council member for the University of West Florida Global Hospitality and Tourism Management program. In 2018, she was named one of Florida’s leading women in lodging by Florida Restaurant & Lodging Magazine and was recently presented a 2023 Doctorate of Food Service Award by the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)

In March 2023, Olivia was appointed by the Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis to serve as a board member of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

In 2016, Olivia and her husband Phil founded the Trinity Love Hoblit Foundation in honor of their daughter, Trinity, who passed away in 2015 from a brain aneurysm. Olivia serves as President of the foundation, which supports and funds neurological research, training, and treatment for brain aneurysms, strokes, and other cerebrovascular conditions. The Foundation has been the catalyst for several tangible improvements within the community and the state of Florida. Olivia’s work was instrumental in the Florida Legislature’s vote to fund the Florida Familial Brain Aneurysm Research Project, which has received $1 million in funding from the State of Florida in three years. Through her leadership, the Trinity Love Hoblit Foundation’s team has continued to play a vital role in securing funding for this research study aimed at assessing the risk of brain aneurysm occurrence in later generations with a family history of the condition, as well as any potential genetic markers. This critical research study has already helped screen over 800 people in Florida. Many cases of aneurysms were identified and treated, thus preventing strokes and saving lives.


Henry Delgado

Henry began his hospitality career in the hotel industry in New York City holding positions with Doral Hotels, the Carlyle Hotel, HK Hotel, Morgan Hotel and Penn Club. To further his career path, Henry then moved to Miami to attend Florida International University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration.

After college in 1997, Henry was offered a position with Smith & Wollensky, and he has found his longtime professional home and heart with the company ever since. Henry’s passion and talent shined, and he was promoted to General Manager in 2007 and Managing Partner in 2016. He oversees more than 200 employees and helps with new openings in the company. He has led the restaurant to many accolades throughout his tenure, including recognition as the FRLA Member of the Month in February 2020 and in the 2023 Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards  “Best Award of Excellence.”

Smith & Wollensky has held the honor of being recognized as one of Miami’s best restaurants with the best ocean view for decades under Henry’s leadership. Locals, visitors, and celebrities call it their favorite place!

In addition to his duties as Managing Partner at his Miami Beach location, Henry works diligently to support the industry and has served as President for the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Miami-Dade Chapter twice and is currently a member of the FRLA Board of Directors Executive Committee. He is a member of the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association and served on the Pillar Board of Trustees for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, contributing to their support of local businesses.

Henry is a respected and recognized member of the community and contributes support for many charities throughout the South Florida area. He was recognized as the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism Professional of the Year. He currently serves on the board of the Safe Haven Foundation for Newborns.

Outside of work, Henry enjoys spending time with his three beautiful daughters.



John Horne

With more than 40 years of experience in Manatee County’s hospitality industry, John Horne first began his career working summers at Fast Eddie’s Place while completing his Business degree at Clemson University.

In 1995, John opened his first restaurant, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, on the City Pier in Anna Maria, Florida. Four more restaurants followed, and today the restaurants, affectionately known by locals as the AMOBs, are a well-known place to enjoy fresh, delicious seafood at a great value, served by a team of wonderful staff in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. 2022 brought the next evolution of the Horne’s hospitality group with the purchase of Sarasota’s iconic Cafe L’Europe, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023. Combining the two concepts led to the creation of Oysters Rock Hospitality overseeing all operations. In 2023, the AMOB at UTC opened, and Spring 2024 will bring the AMOB in North Port to life as well. In 2025, Oysters Rock Hospitality will franchise its first location, an Anna Maria Oyster Bar in the new terminal at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

John Horne and his 425+ co-workers have garnered many accolades over the years, including:

  • USF 2014-2015 Hospitality Leadership Award
  • 2017 Kent Schulz Award
  • 2018 National Restaurant Association Education Foundation Restaurant Neighbor Award
  • 2019 Leadership Florida Impact Award for Dive Into Reading
  • 2020 U.S. Senate Small Business of the Week
  • 2020 Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Seal of Commitment (1st Restaurant in FL)
  • 2020 Florida Department of Education Commissioners Business Award
  • 2021 Manatee Chamber of Commerce Robert P. Bartz Award for Outstanding Leadership
  • Small Business of the Year Award from the Manatee, Sarasota, and Longboat Key Chambers of Commerce
  • DBPR congratulatory proclamation for positive impact to the community – 2022
  • 2023 SRQ Good Hero Award for Corporate Philanthropy
  • Manatee Community Foundation Spirit of Manatee Volunteer of the Year
  • Manatee Community Foundation Corporate Spirit Award
  • 70+ People’s Choice Favorites from Local Newspaper Publication Readers
  • Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – Champion of Tourism Award
  • Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – Tourism Ambassador Award
  • Anna Maria Island Rotary Club’s Small Businessperson of the Year Award
  • Bradenton Kiwanis Bert South Award
  • TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best: Top 10% of Restaurants
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal One Tampa Bay Corporate Philanthropy Honoree
  • Longboat Key Chamber Ed and Marge Moran Memorial Award for Community Service
  • National Restaurant Association – 2024 Board of Directors

John is very active outside of his restaurants, as well.  He has contributed to many community organizations and has received the following recognitions for his service:

  • Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association – State Board of Directors Chair 2023
  • Leadership Florida – State Board of Directors Chair 2021-2022, Regional Council Chair, Co-Chair of Annual Meeting, Cornerstone Class 28
  • Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association – Suncoast Chapter Past President and Treasurer
  • US House of Representatives testimonial before the Ways & Means Committee
  • Manatee Chamber of Commerce – Past Board Chair
  • Bradenton Area EDC – Executive Board
  • Manatee Technical College – Advisory Board of the Culinary Program (Past Chairman)
  • University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee – Advisory Board for the College of Hospitality and Tourism Leadership
  • State College of Florida – Member of Board of Trustees
  • Campaign for Grade-Level Reading – National Reading Champions
  • City of Bradenton Beach – CRA Board Member
  • Leadership Manatee Alumni Association – Board Member
  • School District of Manatee County – Citizens Advisory Board Member and Past Chair
  • Bartow High School Hall of Fame
  • PACE Center for Girls – Capital Campaign Co-Chair
  • PACE Center for Girls – Honorary PACE Girl!
  • American Cancer Society
  • Manatee Tiger Bay Club – Community Advocate
  • AMI Community Center – Executive Committee
  • Hernando De Soto Historical Society – Honorary Member

John is married to Amanda Horne who shares his passion for improving education in their community.


Barbara Bowden

Barbara Bowden is the Area Managing Director for Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando, overseeing the operation of the destination’s premier and preferred hotels, including Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

Previously, she served as the Complex Managing Director for Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, overseeing the operation of these two resort hotels, comprising 2,000 guest rooms and 250,000 square feet of meeting space.

Prior to joining Loews Hotels, Bowden served as general manager of the Orange County Convention Center. Before that, she spent 27 years with The Peabody Orlando, working her way through the ranks to become Vice President/General Manager.

In addition to her role on the FRLA Board, she also serves on the VISIT ORLANDO Board of Directors, the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association Board of Directors Executive Committee and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Rosen College Dean’s Advisory Board. Previously, Bowden served as Chair of the HSMAI Americas Board and as a member of the HSMAI Foundation Board.