Michael Quillen has co-owned Gecko's Hospitality Group for more than 20 years.
SARASOTA — The Sarasota and Manatee chapters of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association have combined to form one chapter, and prominent area hospitality executive Michael Quillen was named its first president.
The FRLA is one of the largest lobbying and trade groups in the state, according to a release. More than one million Floridians are employed in the state's hospitality industry, the association says, and the sector represents $71.8 billion in sales and $4.3 billion in taxes.
Quillen co-owns Gecko's Hospitality Group, a chain of restaurants spread through Manatee and Sarasota counties. The holdings include six Geckos' Grill & Pub locations and one S'macks Burgers & Shakes, in addition to a meeting and banquet facility. The company, founded in 1992, has more than 300 employees.
“Our two strong state chapters have always been united to serving the interests of the greater community, the great state of Florida and our guests,” Quillen says in the release. “The joint chapter will now operate and set goals as one unified body, and we plan on doing great things together to contribute to the strength of our regional economy and the viability of the hospitality industry.”