Simpkins Speaker Series: Harris Rosen
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 9 AM- Online Event
Iconic hotelier and philanthropist Harris Rosen will share his story of success at this online event presented by the Eastern Florida State College Simpkins Speaker Series and the Daytona State College L. Gale Lemerand Entrepreneurial Speaker Series.
Registration is not required. The link will prompt you to watch live on November 17th via Microsoft Teams through your web browser or you can download the Teams application to watch on any device.
Read Mr. Rosen's biography below.
The Simpkins Speaker Series is named after Bernard Simpkins, a highly successful entrepreneur and Brevard County business leader who established the sessions that have brought some of the nation’s top business innovators to EFSC.
All presentations are free and open to the public. For questions about the series, call 321-433-7055.
Read Harris Rosen's Biography
A true All-American success story, iconic hotelier and philanthropist Harris Rosen overcame humble beginnings growing up in the disadvantaged Bowery section of New York City to now owning seven expansive Orlando hotels that comprise approximately 5% of the tourism area’s total guestrooms — all with no debt.
How did he achieve this? Through being the first in his family to graduate college (Cornell School of Hotel Administration), engaging the K.I.S.S. method he learned as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, applying a lot of elbow grease mixed with creativity, and most importantly, through caring for others.
A vivid storyteller, our engaging speaker Harris Rosen will share:
- How hitchhiking his way to the Northeast kept his first Orlando hotel purchased in 1974 afloat,
- Why he feels that his company enjoys one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the hospitality industry (Rosen’s is around 12% compared to the industry average hovering at 70%), and
- Closest to his heart, his desire to inspire others to give back through his legacy of philanthropy, which includes a focus on education.
At the foot of Rosen Shingle Creek, you will see the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, funded by Rosen. Having opened in 2004, the Rosen College was noted as one of the fastest-growing colleges in the nation and continues to rank among the best hospitality schools in the world. Rosen provides free college for his associates and their dependents (after several years of full-time employment) and has turned around a nearby neighborhood, the underserved community of Tangelo Park, through an on-going promise he made 30 years ago to provide each youth graduating high school a free college or vocational school education (including tuition, books, and room and board). Rosen’s goal is to change American one community at a time through what is called the Tangelo Park Program.
The American dream is alive and well in Orlando. Please join us to be inspired by the truly unique Harris Rosen.
Learn More About the Simpkins Speaker Series
The Simpkins Speaker Series was endowed by Entrepreneur Bernard W. Simpkins to teach the fundamentals and success of entrepreneurship. The free one-hour seminars, held on the campuses of Eastern Florida State College or online, bring entrepreneurs to Brevard County to speak about their challenges and triumphs along their journey to economic success through innovative ideas. They also offer insight into today’s economic trends.
Since its inception, the lectures, which are held each spring and fall, have become a popular event for faculty, students, and business owners in Brevard County and surrounding areas. The seminars allow entrepreneurs to share how they started, what prompted them to become an entrepreneur, the characteristics and traits of an entrepreneur, and important decisions that enable entrepreneurs to have success.
Mr. Simpkins was an entrepreneur who worked in the petroleum business with convenience stores and owned a Toyota automobile dealership, a Goodyear tire distributorship, and a Thrifty franchise car rental. Until his death in October 2020, Mr. Simpkins owned S & S Enterprises, Inc., based in Cocoa, Florida.
Bernie Simpkins once said, “Entrepreneurship is an open road to success for those who chose to invest hard work and determination. Saving what you earn to establish a beginning is a key to success."
His life embodied that philosophy, and Mr. Simpkins' generosity to Eastern Florida State College throughout his life is greatly appreciated.
In March 2000, Mr. Simpkins donated $250,000 to the college to establish an endowment known as the Business Seminar for Entrepreneurial Development. In 2007, Mr. Simpkins became the college’s first $1 million donor for the development of an entrepreneurial curriculum program.
The Simpkins Speaker Series has included a who's who of the business world, beginning with Chick-Fil-A founder Truett Cathy when the series began in November 2001.
Here's the list of those who've shared their wisdom through the series, beginning with the most recent speakers. When available, the speaker's name is linked to a news story about the event.
Daymond John, Founder/CEO of FUBU, Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, Star of ABC's Shark Tank and CEO of The Shark Group.
Hyatt Brown, Chairman, Brown & Brown, Inc.
Suneera Madhani, Founder, Stax by Fattmerchant
Charles Clark, Motivational Speaker & World-Class Athlete
Albert Manero, Co-Founder & President, Limbitless Solutions
Wes Henderson, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Angel’s Envy
Dr. Delicia Haynes, Founder & CEO, Family First Health Center
Chris and Elaine Larsen, Founders, Larsen Motorsports, Inc.
Chris Gilpin, Founder & CEO, SignalVault
Brant Menswar, Leadership Speaker, Author, Performance Coach
Jim Stovall, Motivational Speaker, Author, Movie Producer
Danny McKnight, U.S. Army (Ret.), Decorated Army Range
F. Scott Moody, Co-founder & CEO, K4Connect
Mike Curb, Former Lieutenant Governor of California
Joseph Duda, Former CEO & President, DUDA Corp
David W. Anderson, Founder, Famous Dave's of America
Carol Craig, Founder & CEO, Craig Technologies
Andy Smith, Founder & President, Houlihan Capital
Heidi Ganahl, Founder, Camp Bow Wow
Cameron Johnson, Author You Call the Shots
Warren Brown, Founder, Cake Love
Jeffrey C. Piersall, President & Co-Founder, Space Coast Magazine
John L. Herman Jr., Author The Innkeeper Tales, Hermanisms
Mary E. Davis, Author The Entrepreneurial Mom
Don Shula, Miami Dolphins Coach & Founder, Don Shula Steakhouse
Gale Lemerand, Founder, Gale Industries
Pat Williams, Senior Vice President, Orlando Magic
Cynthia Kersey, President, Unstoppable Enterprises
Wally Amos, Founder, Famous Amos Cookies
Toni Jennings, Former Florida Lieutenant Governor
Joe R. Lee, Former Chairman of the Board, Darden Restaurants
Charles Clemente, CEO, Redgate/America Online
Al Neuharth, Founder, USA Today
Steadman Graham, Chairman & CEO, S. Grahamn & Associates
Howard Bo Callaway, Founder, Callaway Gardens
Truett Cathy, Founder & CEO, Chick-Fil-A
Speaker Series Founder
Bernie Simpkins, Entrepreneur
The Simpkins Speaker Series was endowed by Bernie Simpkins to highlight the fundamentals
and successes of entrepreneurship. Our condolences to the family and friends of series
founder Bernie Simpkins, who passed away on October 16, 2020.
Harris Rosen event sponsored by: