5 things to know about Harris Rosen, iconic hotelier and EXPO speaker

In addition to the sunshine, a major perk of the United Motorcoach Association hosting this year’s Motorcoach EXPO in Orlando is that attendees will have an opportunity to spend time with Harris Rosen.

Harris Rosen in the Hammock Presidential Suite at the AAA Four Diamond Rosen Shingle Creek.

The founder of Rosen Hotels & Resorts — an Orlando-based collection of eight resort properties — will be speaking at the conference.

Rosen feels a special affinity for the industry, which he credits for helping launch his hospitality empire nearly 47 years ago as the industry struggled during the oil crisis of the early 1970s.

Over the decades, he has not only built a successful hospitality business in one of the country’s biggest tourism cities, but he also has become well-known for his innovative philanthropy in the areas of education and health care.

Here are five things you might not know about Rosen.

1. He started as a salesman. Rosen began his career at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City as a convention salesman and continued to work for Hilton Hotels Corp. in various management roles before joining Disney. He was part of the team that opened Walt Disney World in 1971.

2. His business began with single hotel. In 1974, Rosen purchased this first hotel, a 256-room Quality Inn on International Drive in Orlando. In 2010, he named his portfolio hotels under the Rosen brand. Today, Rosen Hotels & Resorts has nearly 6,700 rooms, about 6% of the Central Florida inventory.

3. His business model expanded beyond hotels. Rosen Hotels & Resorts owns several subsidiaries that create synergy and maximize operational efficiencies, including the Millennium Technology Group, a leading provider of quality IT products and telecommunications services for the hospitality industry.

4. He is committed to health and wellness personally and professionally. An avid fitness buff and master swimmer who swims nearly daily at the YMCA, Rosen inspires a healthy approach to diet and exercise. He and his culinary team created Rosen’s Perfect Pizza, a whole-wheat honey crust containing no trans fats that is sold at seven of his hotels. He looks out for the health of his employees with RosenCare, an on-site medical center focused on wellness, prevention and chronic care management.

5. He is providing higher ed opportunities for Orlando youth. All who graduate from high school in the Tangelo Park neighborhood and are accepted to a trade school, community college or four-year public college or university in Florida are provided with an all-expense-paid college education that includes tuition, books, and room and board, all paid for by Rosen. Over the years, high school graduation rates have improved dramatically, from about 55% to nearly 100%. To date, more than 250 Tangelo Park youth have received full college scholarships.

Rosen will share his story during his speech at the EXPO’s April 22 luncheon.

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