Getting to know Tradewinds Resort President and COO Keith Overton

TAMPA, Fla - Are you ever curious about the real lives of politicians, celebrities, local newsmakers and athletes?
Each week, ABC Action News asks 10 questions of a Bay area leader, politician or even national celebrities.

We go beyond the questions that are news of the day. After all sometimes, we want know more about them. What's their favorite music? Greatest success? And who do they look up to?

In the past several weeks, ACTION NEWS has reported that Florida has seen a huge boost in tourism.

A popular spot of course is our beaches. And one of the many wonderful locations tourists choose to stay St. Pete Beach.

This week we profile a man who has served as Chairman at Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, and Resort Inns Of America, Inc.

And a man who has also made a huge difference in our community, by taking a personal frightening experience and trying to help others.

Keith Overton answers our 10 questions.

He is the President and COO overseeing both TradeWinds Island Resorts , the TradeWinds Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost, a TradeWinds Resort.

In fact, just this past week, ACTION NEWS got a sneak peak  of a brand new snorkel aquarium and restaurant at the Guy Harvey Outpost Resort which is set to open at the end of May.

The 33-thousand gallon aquarium overlooks the dining room of the "Guy Harvey Rum-Fish Grill and Bar." It was unveiled on the National TV,  on the Animal Planet reality show "Tanked."

The restaurant features hundreds of fish all caught off the coast of Florida or in the Gulf of Mexico. And how exciting is this: resort guests can also snorkel inside the gigantic tank!

Overton told us it is really a tribute to Guy Harvey's work as a conservationist.

"This outlet showcases all of his messages and we're really proud to be able to showcase it through the dining experience and the retail experience as well," said Overton.

He's been at the head of the company since 1995.

But, he is a veteran of Florida's hospitality industry, working in the field for more than a quarter of a century.

He previously held positions as general manager for Karena Hotels in Orlando as well as in numerous director and operating positions at The Ritz-Carlton and Walt Disney World hotels.

He is also considered a leader in this industry.  In 2010 he served as chairman for the board of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

He is currently a Resort Committee Member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

In 2004 and 2008 he served as chairman for the Hospitality Alliance Scholarship Foundation of Tampa Bay and has been a director on the foundation's board since 1998 as well.

Overton also served as the president of the Pinellas County Hotel & Motel Association from 2000 to 2003 prior to that he served on the Florida Hotel & Motel Association's board of directors from 1999-2005.

Overton is also involved with many charities in the Bay area. In fact, he and his wife founded Athletes for Hearts, Inc.  A non profit volunteer driven organization that raises money for families with children with life threatening heart conditions.  

It is a very personal cause. I was so moved by the dedication of the these parents and have attached a link to the Overton's charity: .

I was touched reading the mission and all the success stories!

Keith Overton is a native of Orlando, but by all that he does it's apparent this side of the state is now home.

The Overton's live in St. Pete Beach with their four children.

I have not gotten a chance to meet Mr. Overton yet, but I hope to in the near future. I would love to let our viewers know more about his charity.

It is so wonderful to see people in our community making a difference!

I hope you enjoy getting to know him!

Read more....

1. What is your all time favorite movie or song?  

Favorite Movie - Tombstone
Favorite Song - Top of the World by Van Halen

2. Do you have a Smartphone? If so, what's your favorite app?

An  iPhone - r-Link an app to manage my motorcycle and the rides I take.

3. Who do you count as your mentor(s)?

Joe Kane - former President of Cendant Hotels, Ken Baker - High School Football coach and longtime friend, Tim Bogott - CEO TradeWinds, my father (deceased) Jim Overton

4. What was your very first job?

Delivery Driver and a warehouse stock boy for Southern Electric Supply Company in Kissimmee, Florida

5. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?  

When I played baseball and football in my youth, I'd would have like to have been taller.

6. What do you consider your greatest success?  

Personally, I am very proud of my family, my wife Julie and our four children; MacKenzie, Mitchell, Mathew and Maxwell.  Business related, I was able to transition from a large hotel corporation and become a valuable part of a smaller but more entrepreneurial company when I left the Ritz-Carlton to join TradeWinds in 1995.  That experience has been tremendously


7. Tell us something about you most people don't know?

I love music and always wanted to learn to play the piano, but I have accepted my talent deficiencies :-).  

8. If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would they be?

Jimmy Buffet, General Patton, Vince Lombardi

9. What is in your fridge right now?  

Arnold Palmer iced tea and bottled water.

10. If you could have a different career, other than what you're doing now, what would it

I would be a fighter pilot.

10 questions is an on line feature I started doing more than three years ago. Many of the people I profile are based on your suggestions.

If there is someone you would like to see featured, please e-mail me or "like" me on Facebook. To do that just head to facebook      and find me under the favorites tab and click the "like" button.

If you also have a suggestion for a question please let me know. I always look forward to hearing from you!

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