Hospitality Industry Leaders Headline First Coast Marketing & Operations Conference

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Ray
FRLA Communications Director
850.224.2250 x255

(Jacksonville, FL) – The First Coast Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to host hospitality leaders at its Marketing & Operations Conference in Jacksonville. The event, designed to provide industry insight and inspire businesses to grow, is scheduled for February 18, 2015 at the Ramada Jacksonville/Baymeadows Hotel and Conference Center.

“This event gives employers and employees at every level of the hospitality industry an opportunity to learn from the best of the best,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “The knowledge to be gained at this Marketing & Operations Conference is truly priceless and will surely encourage businesses in Northeast Florida to build on their successes and recognize the challenges ahead. This is a must attend event.”

Kicking off the conference, Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Ken Lawson will highlight the benefits of public-private partnerships. Prior to his appointment as DBPR Secretary in 2011, Lawson served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida and Assistant Secretary of Enforcement for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Drawing on 40 years of experience as both servant and leader, Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse of America, will offer insights during the general session on developing and leading a high performance organization. As CEO, he has been a catalyst for growth, leading the brand from 65 restaurants in 2003, to well over 700 restaurants today.

Then later in the afternoon, James McManemon, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island will present “How Do We Go from Good to Great?” McManemon oversees all operations at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, one of the world’s top resorts according to readers of Travel + Leisure magazine and a resort routinely named to Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List.  McManemon is a 20-year veteran with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

Additional speakers include: Brenna Dacks, VISIT FLORIDA’s Regional Partnership Manager; Shelly Weir, AH&LA EI Vice President of Domestic Sales; Gil Langley, Amelia Island Tourism Development Council; Paul Astleford, Visit Jacksonville; Richard Goldman, St. Augustine,Ponte Vedra  & The Beaches  Visitors and Convention Bureau; Tiffany McDonald, CFM Media and William Richardson, Jr, U.S. Department of Labor.

First Coast Marketing & Operations Conference

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
*Registration opens at 7:00 AM

8:30 AM – DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson
12:00 PM – Don Fox: “Seven Keys for Building A High Performing Brand”
2:15 PM – James McManemon: “How Do We Go from Good to Great”

Ramada Jacksonville/Baymeadows Hotel and Conference Center
9150 Baymeadows Road
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 737-1700

$45 per person: All Day Conference Ticket
$25 per person:  Keynote Lunch Ticket

To register for the event, click here. For additional information, please contact Olivia Hoblit at 904-206-5300 or email For media RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Ray, FRLA Communications Director at 850.224.2250 x255 or email at

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About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $76.1 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy, $4.6 billion in sales tax revenue, and nearly 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, October 6-8, 2015 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.