Rosen College faculty and staff hosted the hospitality industry on Saturday, Oct. 11 at The Pineapple Ball to celebrate the induction of Henri Landwirth and Paul Mears, Jr. into the Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame. The event was held at Rosen Shingle Creek and produced by Rosen College faculty, staff and students.
Actor Billy Flanigan emceed the evening’s festivities with additional remarks from Dr. Abraham Pizam, dean of Rosen College. Both inductees were honored with a special musical performance before they took the stage to accept a Steuben crystal pineapple and address the audience. Mears, Jr. was serenaded by Michelle Lindahl’s rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and the St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Children’s Choir sang “We Are the Children of Promise” for Landwirth, whose wife, Pam, attended on his behalf. Following the induction ceremony, guests were treated to dinner, live entertainment and dancing.
Landwirth is a hotelier, philanthropist and founder of Give Kids the World, a 70-acre, nonprofit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. His roots in the Central Florida hospitality industry run deep, starting in 1954 when he managed the 100-room Starlight Motel in Cocoa Beach.
Mears, Jr. is the chairman of Mears Transportation and the son of company founder, Paul S. Mears, Sr. He has guided the company for almost 40 years and helped transform it from three taxicabs to a ground transportation industry leader. Mears Transportation is also an active community partner, providing free transportation to families staying at the Give Kids the World Village for the last 25 years.
For more information about The Pineapple Ball, please visit hospitality.ucf.edu/the-pineapple-ball.