​​​​​Overview

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.

 

Organizational Foundation

Purpose

Our Purpose is to serve meeting and event planners by delivering logistically sound solutions, creative ideas, and outstanding guest experiences.

Mission

Our Mission is to successfully achieve our Purpose every time we engage a client. To succeed, Hello! will focus on four things:

  • People: we will attract and retain the best people through our adherence to the highest standards of integrity, performance, and professional development.
  • Creativity: we will nurture a creative environment by exposing our people to creative solutions and encouraging independent thinking and risk taking.
  • Technology: we will develop and acquire the best technology available for administering our services effectively and efficiently.
  • Process:  We will commit to following our proven best practices on every program, every time.

Core Values

Our Core Values are our recipe for success.  They are absolute; all of us must embrace these values as our own.  As we build and sustain our team, we actively seek individuals who demonstrate these values: 

  • Integrity: Integrity is the cornerstone of our company, the foundation of our reputation, and a competitive advantage. In making all our decisions, we ask "What is the right thing to do?" and then we do it. In this way, we attract supplier partners and clients who also value integrity.
  • Enthusiasm: Customers and co-workers want to work with people who like what they do. Our enthusiasm is contagious, inspires others to excel, and encourages teamwork and fun.
  • Intense Desire to Succeed: To be successful in our business we must out-work, out-think, out-sell and out-perform our competition. We love to win, hate to fail, and have an unparalleled commitment and desire to succeed.

Guiding Evergreen Business Principle

At Hello!, we believe the fundamental responsibility of business is to create value for our customers.  We use that value to generate revenue which is expended for: 1) employing people who create value far beyond what they do at work, 2) returning profits to owners for taking on the risk associated with a business enterprise, 3) contributing to good causes, and 4) re-investing in tools and talent to continuously create value…thus maintaining the circle of prosperity. This is how we define success.

 

Ownership

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.

 

Leadership

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 S. Mears, III – President

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 - Chief Financial Officer

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.

Douglas Kahler - Executive Vice President, Hello! Destination Management

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.

Eileen Fahey - Vice President of Corporate Partnerships

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.

Mark Wells - Senior Vice President, Creative Services

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.

Melissa Zorko - Regional Vice President, Hello! California Destination Management

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.

Julie Mezzina - Director of National Business Resources

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.

Mark Jarrell - General Manager, Hello! Arizona Destination Management

Throughout his career, Mark has held many industry positions - from program planner to purchasing, account management, operations and sales management. He has lived in many cities across North America, with his programs taking him to all corners of the world. Mark is passionate about the meetings and incentive industry, and thrives on adding those extra touches into each project that break through the clutter to deliver programs that motivate and inspire. Having worked with all types of client industries, Mark has a knack for building programs and customer-focused account teams that mirror each customer’s unique business needs, while delivering impeccable service and detail. Mark has held leadership positions with major hospitality corporations including Maritz Travel Company, Rosenbluth International, The Meeting Architects, Bauer’s Worldwide Transportation and PRIME Strategies prior to joining Hello! Arizona in 2015. His creativity is award winning, and he has held many Board of Directors appointments, including SITE and MPI.

Bill Yahres, CMP, DMCP - General Manager, Hello! California Destination Management - Southern

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.

Chris Esposito - General Manager, Hello! Florida Destination Management - South Florida

Chris was born and raised in New York City, where he started in the events industry as a disc jockey at the age of 13. During his high school, undergraduate, and MBA years in Florida, DJing evolved into nightclub promotions, event production, and experiential marketing. Chris first joined Hello! in Orlando from 2008 through 2012. He spent a large portion of this time in-house at a major convention resort, giving him a deep understanding of how to create and maintain a mutually beneficial hotel/DMC relationship that serves the meeting client. Starting mid-2012, Chris pursued an opportunity where he built an event supplier product line, client base, and brand which was eventually acquired in 2018. Chris is ecstatic to be back home at Hello!, beginning in our Las Vegas office in a senior sales role and later moving to the general manager of Hello! Florida (South). When he’s not conquering the events world, Chris enjoys spending quality time playing, eating, and laughing with his wife Terri, his three kids Ava, Samantha, and little Chris, and his big Italian and Vietnamese families.

Vic Laxson - Senior Vice President / General Manager, Hello! Florida Destination Management - Central Florida

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.

Craig Bullock - General Manager, Hello! Las Vegas Destination Management

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.

Mitch Jordan - General Manager, Hello! Nashville Destination Management

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 - General Manager, Hello! Texas Destination Management

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."

Susan Saville - General Manager, Hello! Washington D.C. Destination Management

Susan joined Hello! Washington, D.C. in 2011 with a B.A. in Business Management and more than seven years of experience with a boutique catering company. She brings expert knowledge of the local market and a reputation for outstanding customer service and events. Her active leadership in industry associations such as the International Live Events Association (ILEA) has allowed her to build strong relationships with the best suppliers in the area. From intimate dinner parties to large corporate galas, she has managed events of all types in locations all around our nation’s capital. A native of Ft. Washington, Maryland, Susan says she loves her role at Hello! Washington, D.C. because of the opportunity to get to know her hometown community inside and out, “Not just where everything is or what the best restaurants are, but the history, culture and little gems of D.C. hiding in every corner of this fantastic city.” When she’s not hard at work, Susan enjoys cooking, running, and trying adventure sports such as hang gliding, skydiving, and surfing.

 

Financial Status

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.

Hello! Destination Management
2018 Sales$139,000,000
2018 Total Assets $41,000,000
2018 Equity$15,000,000

 

Risk 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.

The Risk Management Team

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.

Liability Insurance Coverage

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.

Detailed Insurance Schedule

Type of CoverageTravel Agents and Tour Operator Professional Liability Insurance
Limits$5,000,000 each occurrence
Insurer Affording
Coverage
Zurich American Ins. Co.
Type of CoverageWorkers Comp and Employers' Liability
Limits$500,000 each accident
Insurer Affording
Coverage
Bridgefield Employers Ins. Co.
Type of CoverageWorkers Comp
Limits$500,000 each accident
Insurer Affording
Coverage
The Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company
Type of CoverageExcess/Umbrella Liability
Limits$15,000,000 each aggregate
Insurer Affording
Coverage
Federal Insurance Co.

 

Industry Recognition

Hello! Destination Management has been honored with numerous industry awards due to our hard work and strong values. Along with our 56 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:

  • One of Special Events Magazine's "Top 25 DMCs" for 10 consecutive years (2009–2019)
  • Honored as a BI WORLDWIDE Inspirational Partner (2017 and 2018)
  • DMC Travel Supplier of the Year Award Winner — 2014, 2016, and 2019 (Maritz Travel)
  • Named ConferenceDirect's "Partner of the Year" for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • 2019 Smart Stars Award Winner for "Best DMC" by Smart Meetings
  • AIMIA's "Supplier of the Year" for 2017
  • 15 Zonies Awards (ILEA, Arizona Chapter)
  • 10 Esprit Awards (International Live Events Association)
  • 8 Gala Awards (Special Events Magazine)
  • 6 Orlando WOW Awards (ABC, HSMAI, ILEA, MPI, NACE)
  • 5 Texas Star Awards (ILEA, Dallas Chapter)
  • 2 Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI) Awards
  • 2 BizBash Florida Awards (BizBash Florida Magazine)
  • 2 BizBash Florida Event Style Awards (BizBash Florida Magazine)
  • 2 WOW Awards (ILEA, NACE, MPI, HSMAI)
  • BizBash Event Style Award Winner (BizBash)
  • Project Grammy Winner (Event Solutions Magazine)
  • Spotlight Award Winner (Event Solutions Magazine)

 

Corporate Responsibility

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.

Industry Participation

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:

 

Industry OrganizationMembershipService
ADMEI (Association of Destination Management Executives International)​
Corporate Member
1 Committee Chair

​CGMP (Certified Government Meeting Professional)
​1 professional
​CHE (Certified Hospitality Educator)
​1 professional
​CMP (Certified Meeting Professional)
​10 professionals
​Country Music Association (CMA)
​Corporate Member
​CSEP (Certified Special Event Professional)
​2 professionals
​CTA (Certified Tourism Ambassador)
​1 professional
​Dallas-Fort Worth Tour Guide Association
​Corporate Member
​Destination D.C. (Washington, D.C. Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member
​DMCP (Destination Management Certified Professional)
​4 professionals
​Experience Scottsdale (Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member
FICP (Financial and Insurance Conference Planners)
3 members
HSMAI (Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International)1 member
ILEA (International Live Events Association)16 members6 Board Members
​Las Vegas Hospitality Association (LVHA)
​3 members​1 Board Member, 1 Assistant to the Board
​MPI (Meeting Planners International)9 members1 Committee Member
Nashville MPI Corporate Member
​NACE (National Association for Catering and Events)
3 members
​Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
​Double Platinum Member
​National Harbor (National Harbor, Maryland Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member
​PCMA (Professional Convention  Management Association)
​2 members
​San Diego Tourism Authority
​Corporate Member
​SITE (S​ociety for Incentive Travel Excellence)
7 members

​Visit Anaheim (Anaheim Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member
​Visit Austin (Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member

​Visit Baltimore (Baltimore Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member
​Visit Dallas (Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member
​Visit Orlando (Orlando Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member​1 Board of Directors Member
​Visit Phoenix (Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member
​Visit San Antonio (San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member

​Visit Tucson (Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau)
​Corporate Member

 

Corporate Giving

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.

Florida Field Trip Fund

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.

Hospitality Helping Hands

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.