Hello! Destination Management is a destination management company serving meeting planners in many of the country’s most popular meeting destinations. We are a privately held professional firm with over 200 employees dedicated to service excellence. As such, we do not grant franchises and we are not members of a multi-company marketing network.
Our cause is to be recognized as the best in the business by our customers, to maintain a positive and professionally rewarding environment for our employees, and to increase the company’s value for our owners. Achieving all three is the key to our success.
And, while we’re doing it we like to have fun! When you engage a Hello! Destination Management associate you will notice their enthusiasm for life and their work. You will also notice their intensity, because it's just more fun to win and succeed.
Whether your interest in Hello! Destination Management is as a potential client, supplier, or future associate, we look forward to working with you. We love our business, and we believe in the value of meetings and the future of the meeting industry.
Hello! Destination Management is wholly owned by the Mears family. Paul S. Mears, III is the President of Hello! Destination Management and is responsible for the everyday success of the organization.
As a family-owned business that does not franchise, clients can rely on consistent philosophies, systems, and service results. All clients, employees, and suppliers can count on a consistent approach, rather than unpredictable swings in business practices to accommodate quarterly earnings pressures from institutional investors.
The Hello! Destination Management executives are listed below. With over 180 years of combined industry experience, their commitment to our clients and to our organization knows no bounds.
Paul grew up in Orlando, Florida. As a teenager he washed taxis and worked as a mechanic’s assistant in his family’s business, Mears Transportation Group (MTG). After high school he attended Georgia Tech, where he played Division I baseball and graduated with a degree in Industrial Management. Unwilling to part with his baseball dream, Paul served as Assistant Coach at Georgia Tech for three years. He then returned to Orlando and MTG where, after starting as a Checker Cab driver, he gained experience in all aspects of the transportation business. Paul was the top producing Sales Manager in 1996 before he was promoted to Director of Convention Sales in 1997. In November 1998 he took on additional responsibilities as President of Mears and Hello! Destination Management. Highly regarded as a leader in his field, Paul served as Chairman of Visit Orlando (Orlando’s Convention & Visitors Bureau) and was appointed by the President of the Florida Senate to a Statewide Transportation Appropriations Committee. In his spare time, Paul coaches baseball and enjoys spending time with his wife and their four children.
Timothy L. Baker ("Tim") came to Mears Transportation Group (MTG) in 1995 after 10 years as Manager of Audit and Business Services with Coopers and Lybrand. He assumed financial responsibility for Hello! following MTG's acquisition of Hello! Florida in 1998. A graduate of the University of Central Florida and a Certified Public Accountant, Tim is passionate about the importance of demonstrating integrity in all business dealings, and one of his favorite quotes is by Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.” Outside of work, Tim serves as a volunteer with Orlando’s Second Harvest Food Bank and enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife, children, and grandson.
Joseph earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stony Brook University and has held various technology management positions within Fortune 500 companies. He came to Hello! in 1999, bringing insightful leadership to our Information Technology department. He and his team of technology experts are responsible for the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of company-wide computer software, hardware and telephone systems, as well as our website. A true “Renaissance Man,” Joseph especially enjoys the works of composers Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven. In fact, he has visited Mozart’s birthplace a total of nine times! He is also an avid reader of scientific non-fiction.
Having lived in Florida for over 44 years, Daniel W. Ford, Esq. ("Dan") joined the Hello! Destination Management team in November 2007. He previously served in Public Safety for over 15 years with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as an Attorney and Executive. He has practiced law for over 20 years, initially litigating five years with an established Orlando Law firm. With a B.A. in Criminal Justice/Public Administration from the University of Central Florida, and a J.D. from Cumberland School of Law, Dan has an extensive background in safety, dispute resolution, labor and employment law, worker’s compensation, insurance/risk management, law enforcement, and litigation. A member of the American Bar Association, the Florida Bar Association, the Society of Human Resources, and the Florida and National Sheriff’s Associations, Dan also serves on the YMCA Metro Board of Directors, the Central Florida Council Boy Scouts of America Executive Board, as President of the Sheriff’s Executive Assistance Trust, and Committee Chair for Orlando BSA Troop 40. He also volunteers his time with the Orange County Legal Aid Teen Court Program. In his free time, Dan enjoys fishing, hunting, other outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He and his wife have three children.
Douglas is a Florida native with a B.A. in History from the University of Central Florida. In the mid-1980s he served in the U.S. Army in the Berlin Brigade before moving back to Florida to pursue his education. He began on the creative side of the business with Freeman Decorating’s Creative Services Division, later transitioning to designing and installing large-scale themed events. Douglas founded our Creative Services department when he joined Hello! Florida Destination Management in 2000. Since then he has performed virtually every role in the company, and now supervises the daily operation of our business. All Hello! General Managers report to Douglas. He is passionate about “The bond of trust that is created when customers know that our concern for their welfare goes beyond the profitability of the program. When they know that we are focused first and foremost on their success, their gratitude and regard is very rewarding.” He and his wife have two children.
Throughout her career, Eileen has acted in many industry roles - from operations, sales, and general management to global account management and executive leadership. A native of Boston, she has lived in the Northeast all of her life including Washington, D.C. and New York City. Her work over the past 20 years has taken her to all corners of the U.S., allowing her to advise her clients wisely with their destination needs. Eileen is passionate about client relationships as well as overall account strategy and management. She thrives on her reputation as a trusted advisor and true professional. Eileen loves all things New England and all things outdoors. Her husband, Rich, and their two boys, Patrick and Jack, enjoy downhill skiing and boating. A family of sports enthusiasts, you'll often find Eileen on the sidelines of her boys' baseball and soccer games or enjoying the NFL season cheering on the Patriots. As the baby of five children, Eileen has a lot of good stories to share! She is also the proud parent of a Shorty Jack Russell Terrier named Tully.
Born in the Bahamas, Mark attended the California Institute of the Arts and has been involved in the entertainment and events industry for more than 20 years. Before joining Hello Florida! in 2003, Mark spent eight years performing and managing entertainment for corporate nightclubs in California, and an additional nine years designing and producing various events and shows. His varied professional experiences give him a clear understanding of the resources available to meet each client’s needs. Mark recently served as President of the Orlando Chapter of the International Special Events Society and is a member of the National Association of Catering Executives. He also enjoys reading, tennis, biking, swimming, and spending time with his wife and children.
Julie joined the Hello! Florida team in 2004, bringing 13 years of experience in her field. Julie's B.A. degree in Communications served her well as she managed international incentive trips and executed hospitality events at the Super Bowl, All-Star Baseball Game, the Masters Golf Tournament, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Perhaps the most unique credit on her resume is her four-year stint working in production for the Jerry Springer Show, Jenny Jones Show, and Fox News. Since starting at Hello! Florida, Julie has grown by holding several roles within the company – from Program Manager, to Account Executive, Director of Product Development, and more. She now oversees all internal business tools for Hello! Destination Management as the Director of National Business Resources. Originally from Chicago, Julie now makes her home in Orlando with her husband, John, their two children, and her Australian Labradoodle, Lucy. She enjoys cooking, a good glass of Cabernet, and visiting Florida's beautiful beaches.
Originally from Michigan, Heather earned her B.A. degree at Arizona State University and launched her destination management company career with Creative Planners of Arizona (CPA). From 1997 to 2000 she operated hundreds of programs, first as CPA’s Operations Manager and then as Director of Operations. A few years after the company was acquired by Hello! Arizona Destination Management Heather moved into the role of Senior Account Executive and today serves as General Manager. Enthusiastic and highly motivated, she has held numerous leadership positions within industry organizations, most recently serving as President of the Arizona chapter of SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Executives). In her spare time, Heather enjoys reading and traveling with her son. She is also committed to helping organize volunteers, in-kind donations, and funds for Chrysalis, a local shelter for women who are victims of domestic abuse.
Born in Ft. Collins, Colorado and raised in Wyoming, Melissa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism from Black Hills State University. She was the genesis of Hello! Las Vegas Destination Management in 2006 as employee number one, and built the business into one of the leading destination management companies in Las Vegas. In 2018 Melissa launched Hello! into California and leads our offices in San Diego and San Francisco. She is an active member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and served on the Board of Directors for the Las Vegas Hospitality Association. Known for her flexibility and resourcefulness, Melissa’s favorite quote reflects her life philosophy: “When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.” (Alexander Graham Bell) Away from work, Melissa enjoys hiking, camping, cheering on the Broncos, and pampering her dogs and cats.
Glenn has 30 years of experience in the Destination Management Industry. He is a charter member and past treasurer of the Association of Destination Management Executives International, and a past member of the Board of Directors for San Francisco Travel. He is a graduate of Georgia State University and a former United States Army Officer. In his free time Glenn enjoys back-country camping in the winter, building snow caves, and hiking and climbing. Along with his wife, Susan, and their daughters, Anna and Jess, he loves spending time with his dogs and horses.
Hailing from Roslyn, New York, Bill Yahres joined the Hello! team in 2017. With 25 years of experience in the industry, Bill loves learning about people and discovering each person's own unique history. He's deeply passionate about making clients happy by exceeding their expectations. Bill is a past president of San Diego Meeting Professionals International (SDMPI) and is a former electronics technician in the United States Navy. He describes himself as positive, loyal, and fun - you'll often find him rocking out to Billy Joel, Sting, Pink Floyd, and Elton John.
Darlene joined Hello! Florida Destination Management's Orlando team in 1991, later moving to South Florida to open our Fort Lauderdale office in 1992. Darlene is an expert in the field of destination management with more than 23 years of industry experience on her resume. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she earned her bachelor's degree in Quantitative Business Analysis at Penn State University. An active member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Darlene currently serves on the Educational Committee of MPI's South Florida chapter. She believes that a positive attitude is the key to success in our business: "Clients like working with people that they enjoy being with. We are professionals who sell service, creativity, and fun. As long as we're having fun doing it, it will become contagious." Darlene is also a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan who says, "Football season is the best time of the year!" During the other months she enjoys cooking, traveling, and attending live concerts (especially rock 'n roll).
Born in Atlanta, Vic earned his degree in Business Administration and Finance from Troy University. His professional experience includes a highly successful career in pharmaceutical sales, serving the southeastern U.S. and northern California markets. He started his destination management company career with Premier Convention Services in 1995 as the Director of Sales. In 1999, he and three other business partners purchased Premier, and Vic served as its president until the company was purchased by Hello! Florida Destination Management in 2005. He currently manages Hello! Florida Destination Management’s incentive and territory sales teams based in Orlando, and he also serves as General Manager of the Orlando office. Vic leads with enthusiasm and integrity, and he believes that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” His business ethics are based on his commitment to “doing the right thing, regardless of the consequences.” Away from the office, Vic enjoys exercising and spending time with his wife and three children.
Originally from Utah, Craig has a degree in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada - Las Vegas. He's been in the DMC business since 1999, when he started as an Account Executive with PGI. He then worked through the transition of TBA Global, followed by Kuoni. He joined Hello! Las Vegas in 2010 and moved into the General Manager role in 2018. Craig now has over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including more than 18 years of advanced expertise in destination management operations, sales, and leadership. Creative and attentive to details, Craig believes the secret to success is, "Keep your eye on the target and never waste an opportunity to deliver exceptional service." He is an active member of MPI and the Las Vegas Hospitality Association, and was a long-time Little League and club baseball coach. These days, Craig enjoys spending time hiking with his wife, driving his Jeep, and watching his two sons - Bryce and Evan - participate in school and sports.
Born and raised in Nashville, Mitch Jordan’s career in hospitality management is coming full circle back to his hometown. After graduating with a business degree from Middle Tennessee State University, Mitch started his career with a bang as a Walt Disney World character performer! He joined the sales department at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in 2006 and grew through a variety of positions, eventually becoming the Director of Sales. In his role at Hello!, Mitch is passionate about “Exceeding expectations, but not at the expense of sacrificing integrity and the simple practice of 'doing the right thing.'” Mitch’s partner in this journey called life is his wife Neysa. Together they have two young boys, Chase and Chandler, two dogs, and two cats. Mitch and his family enjoy campfires and conversation, watching Tennessee Titans football, and live country music. Mitch calls his role as Nashville General Manager his dream job, since “I have the unique opportunity to represent the city and state I love to our clients from around the world.”
Janice Dowling exudes creativity and possesses an exceptional knack for creating unforgettable event experiences. As a destination management professional with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, she's developed skills in special events program development, execution, and design. Hands-on experience in every division within Hello! gives Janice the unique ability to find solutions to any design or production challenge. From 2004–2010 she was responsible for managing the top producing in-house hotel account for Hello! Florida, which included the JW Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. There she led a team who managed 125 events per year for high-profile corporations. As a Hello! Florida Account Executive, Janice achieved top honors within the Hello! Destination Management organization, including Top Producer and The Employee Who Most Represents the Company's Values. Due to her stellar performance, she was promoted to Director of Creative Services for Hello! Florida in 2010. After eight years of leading a team of award-winning event designers who produce special events from VIP experiences to full-scale productions, Janice moved to Dallas to assume the role of General Manager for Hello! Texas. Skilled at breaking down client requests into manageable components, she trains and mentors team members to empower their success. Finding harmony within details to create a "big picture" experience that exceeds clients' expectations is what sets Janice apart, and her skill in transmitting this talent makes her truly unique. Away from work, she enjoys reading, watching movies, kayaking, and dancing. She also likes to travel, since she's passionate about "discovering new places and seeing how other people live." Janice's favorite quote is, "Chance favors the prepared mind."
Danielle is an Ohio native and a proud graduate of the University of Dayton. She has over 10 years of industry experience, previously serving as an Account Executive with a global destination management company before launching our Hello! Washington, D.C. operation. She is adept at handling logistics for both private and public sector organizations, and she has produced high-profile events such as the National Museum of American History’s Grand Re-opening Gala and Dedication, which included Presidential involvement and national media attention. Outgoing and energetic, Danielle is known for her organized, thoughtful, and creative approach to events. She's also a dynamic team leader who is passionate about “creating amazing client experiences and exceeding their expectations, no matter the size of the program.” She loves living in Washington, D.C. and enjoys exploring the best food, wine, and experiences the city has to offer. When she’s not working, Danielle can be found running, traveling, and cheering on her Cleveland sports teams.
As a third generation, privately-held company we are very proud of our financially-sound foundation and perfect credit history. Since our beginning we have operated our business conservatively. Our approach gives clients confidence that we can deliver what we promise and that their deposits are safe. It also gives suppliers confidence that they will be paid in full and on time, making them eager to please us and our clients.
Below are the year-end totals for sales, assets and equity for Hello! Destination Management.
Meeting execution requires a broad range of local-based services (transportation, tours, theme décor, entertainment, team building, dining, etc.) As a result, numerous vendors with varying levels of financial strength and insurance coverage are utilized to fulfill these services. For example, a final night reception may include the services of an entertainer, florist, staging and production company, décor company, etc. Transfers from the airport to the hotel may include multiple transportation companies in order to provide multiple vehicle types. When you work with Hello! Destination Management, the risks of inadequate coverage by any vendor are eliminated as a result of our process, team, and $20 million of liability coverage ($5 million primary and $15 million umbrella). In addition to our expertise, this is a significant value proposition.
Hello! Destination Management has a Vendors Risk Management program which is overseen by our Executive Vice President with the assistance of a three-person risk management team. This team is supported by top insurance agencies, brokers, and A-rated insurance carriers. They work together with our sales staff as a cohesive unit to scrutinize all aspects of each individual event, ensuring the careful selection of vendors and the proper insurance protection — securing the ultimate enjoyment of our customers.
As our additional insured, a client can attach to our policy directly for their defense, meaning they do not have to defend themselves first, then seek indemnification. The coverage of our vendors will be primary, but our policy provides the important contingent coverage in the rare event that the vendors’ coverage is insufficient and the additional Hello! Destination Management coverage is needed.
Hello! Destination Management has been honored with numerous industry awards due to our hard work and strong values. Along with our 37 additional award nominations, the list below represents our dedication to discovering our clients' needs, designing an event that achieves their goals, and delivering exceptional service that exceeds their expectations:
Hello! Destination Management values corporate responsibility and embraces it with an endless list of topics. Our approach is presented below within four pertinent categories: Industry Participation, Corporate Giving, Environmental Initiatives, and Winning.
Hello! Destination Management team members choose to actively participate in our industry, they are not just employed by it. We contribute time, expertise, and funds to the betterment of our profession. While contributing, we learn the best and most innovative practices of suppliers, customers, and peers. Listed below are the primary industry organizations we partner with and our current participation level:
Hello! Destination Management provides numerous cash gifts and in-kind services to community organizations. Most of those who receive our assistance have one of two characteristics: they benefit children or one of our employees is personally involved in the charitable organization and their cause. Each year, over 50 organizations receive cash and/or services from us. These beneficiaries include organizations such as the United Negro College Fund, The Central Florida Boy Scouts, The Children’s Tumor Foundation, Coalition for the Homeless, Coastal Conservation Society, and many more. The diversity of our contributions reflects the diversity of interests among our people, and we enjoy assisting them with their personal causes. In addition, we have established long-term partnerships with certain organizations. Below are just a few charities that have become part of our organizational fabric, receiving our support year-after-year.
Hello! supports teachers' efforts to broaden the educational experience for all children. The Hello! Florida Field Trip Fund is an ongoing program that enables children from Orange County Public Schools who are experiencing poverty or homelessness to attend STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) focused field trips at no cost. In recent years the Hello! Florida Field Trip Fund has been able to send over 1,200 local children from Orlando on fun, educational school field trips that they would not otherwise have been able to afford.
For over seven years, Hello! Destination Management has sent several of our employees to New Orleans, Louisiana to build, remodel, and decorate homes for people affected by Hurricane Katrina. Event Pros Take Action (EPTA) is a charitable organization that lets special events professionals give back to those in need. Their endeavors focus on relief efforts for communities that have experienced a natural disaster. Hello! provides EPTA with financial support, travel expenses, and the services of our team members to return New Orleans residents to their newly decorated, fully restored homes.
Each year Hello! Destination Management produces and sponsors the Hospitality Helping Hands Carnival benefiting foster and adoptive children of the Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS), Central Florida area. As Florida’s oldest non-profit provider of services to local children and families, the Children’s Home Society of Florida is committed to “helping turn lives around” as it redirects troubled teens to a new path of hope, transforms the lives of mothers suffering from drug addiction to help them become more responsible parents, provide a safe harbor for abused children, and reverse crisis situations so that lives can be changed for the better. CHS provides Florida families with a unique spectrum of social services including foster care, adoption, child abuse prevention, emergency shelters, group homes, case management, and treatment for developmentally disabled children. Since the first carnival in 2002, over 800 children and adults have enjoyed this day-long event filled with games, prizes, food, and entertainment.
At Hello! Destination Management we believe the core responsibility of our organization is to create value for our clients, use it to generate income, employ people who create value far beyond that of what they do at work, use a portion of profits to help good causes, distribute a portion of profits to owners for taking on the risk associated with a private enterprise, and reinvest in tools and talent to continuously create value, thus maintaining the circle of prosperity. This is how we define “winning.”
We believe that if we ever lose sight of our cause, which is to continuously work to be the best for our customers, then all of the other benefits will be lost. Our primary responsibility must be our business.