Member Spotlight: Paul Mears III
When Paul Mears started working with Florida Citrus Sports decades ago, he may have sensed how his career and volunteering would parallel each other.
As the president of Mears Transportation Group, and “Hello!” Destination Management, he sees the connection between great entertainment, tourism and economic impact.
“What I like about FCS is that they are a great generator of economic impact to Orlando,” said Mears. “They bring people to Orlando, who are filling up our hotel rooms, eating at our restaurants and using our transportation services. It’s all hospitality and both of our businesses are hospitality, even if they are not directly related to what FCS does.”
When it comes to the success Florida Citrus Sports has had over the years, the executive committee member credits good decisions that, in turn, became good results. He also emphasized that the organization has created enormous momentum, by the attraction of new events to Orlando during “need” periods.
“When you are in the hospitality industry, you think of the question ‘When does Orlando need visitation?’” he said. “Because, candidly, there are certain times of the year where more visitation is not that valuable to Orlando.”
Mears goes on to explain that there are times of the year where the hotels in the city are full, as are the airplanes flying in and out of Central Florida.
“So, what FCS has done extraordinarily well, is that they’ve attracted major events, national and worldwide events to Orlando,” he said. “And, they’ve done so during times of the year when it provides great economic impact to the city.”
One of those events is the NFL Pro Bowl, which takes place near the end of each January.
“It’s fantastic. I think it’s really important,” says Mears. “One of the things I think people get frustrated with, in the sports business, is sometimes the extraordinary cost of these events. These events are great economic choices for the City of Orlando and the citizens of Orlando.”
Another big game that Florida Citrus Sports manages is the Camping World Kickoff. This year it pits Florida State University against Ole Miss and will feature ESPN Gameday on Labor Day.
“That is a great, great event, at a great time of year for Orlando,” exclaims Mears. “It’s going to be a packed house, with people from all over the place coming to Orlando, at a time that’s greatly valuable to us. It shines a spotlight on the city, and we’re going to produce a great college game for both teams and all of their fans.”
For those who may be on the fence regarding the thought of volunteer commitment, Mears says FCS is a smart organization that creates incredible community impact. He also commends the organization’s partnership with LIFT Orlando, which helps revitalize communities.
“I think it’s great,” says Mears. “There are lots and lots of players involved in the LIFT project. You know, it’s the combination of the vision of our city leaders, as well as FCS, as well as people who have businesses and homes in that neighborhood, who just want to make Orlando a better place. I think Florida Citrus Sports’ goal is critical. And, I’m proud to be a part of the organization that is out front and a big partner on that.”
Additionally, Mears touts the non-profit’s inclusiveness.
“FCS likes to engage their members, hear their opinions, and provide them education,” he said. “So, you feel like are part of an organization, and contributing to an organization, that is providing fantastic sporting events for our community. If you want to be involved with great world-class sporting events in your hometown, that make good economic sense, then this is the organization for you.”