Each year, the award recognizes a hotelier who exemplifies exceptional leadership, citizenship and innovation. From his start as a desk clerk at the Sheraton Boston hotel more than five decades ago to the founding of Hotel Equities, Cerrone has been a leader that all in the hospitality industry can admire, according to Hunter.
“Fred’s dedication to our industry is surpassed only by his devotion to the associates of Hotel Equities,” said Lee Hunter, chairman, Hunter Hotel Investment Conference and COO, Hunter Hotel Advisors. “Those who work with Fred know him as ‘Coach.’ The nickname is a testament to his ability to lead, inspire and develop the individuals around him. His legacy is clear in the strength of Hotel Equities and the many lives he has touched over his storied career in hospitality.”
Before launching Hotel Equities in 1989, Cerrone served in key management positions with top hotels across the country. His leadership was recognized early when he became GM at age 21. National hotel franchises twice recognized him as “General Manager of the Year.” He also became one of Marriott’s initial franchise partners in 1993. After spending nearly three decades growing Hotel Equities to a company that today has more than 200 hotels under management, he turned the day-to-day operations over to his partner, Brad Rahinsky, current president/CEO.
Cerrone now spends much of his time promoting the hospitality industry to young men and women entering the workforce and serving on the advisory boards of Georgia State University’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration and Marriott’s Homes and Villas Brand. He is also the chairman of InStep Ministries and teaches monthly “Foundations” classes to current and potential leaders within the company.
“I first met Fred in the mid 1980s when he was running Southern Host Hotels, managing a number of properties leading up to the creation of Hotel Equities!” said Chuck Pinkowski, owner, Pinkowski & Company/chairman, The Hunter Award Committee. “His passion and leadership in the industry were thrilling to see through the performance and development of his company—a great foundation for the years to come and the excellence and inspiration to follow.”