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    The VRMA Community Remembers Pedro Mandoki

    An active contributor and past president (2005-2007), Pedro Mandoki died February 1, 2019. 

    “Pedro left a lasting imprint on the association as well as anyone who had the good fortune of encountering him over the years,” VRMA President Jodi Taylor Refosco said.

    Pedro’s friends and colleagues have been sharing their memories as Jodi requested in her February 5 column. Read on for a glimpse of a life well lived.


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    Pedro and I have known each other for over 30 years, and I will truly miss seeing him at VRMA and other industry events. His contributions to this industry and his community are countless, and we were so fortunate to have his wisdom and extensive knowledge during the creation of the VRMA Rental Management Certificate Program. Personally, it is hard for me to believe that I can't just pick up the phone and call him, but I am so very grateful for his friendship, humble nature and legacy. May he live on through all of us as we continue to be great stewards for the vacation rental industry.

    – Carmela Gillenwater, senior product marketing manager, HomeAway


    Back in 2000, I was promoted by ResortQuest from regional vice president to chief operating officer. With the promotion came a mandatory move to Memphis from Destin, as well as business attire replacing my Destin shorts and flip-flops. This was a huge culture shock for me and my family. 

    My first day on the job in Memphis, I received a Fed Ex envelope from Pedro. In it was not any letter, document or congratulatory card. All he sent me was a brand new pair of black socks, because he knew I didn’t own any. That was typical Pedro.

    – James Olin, CEO, C2G Advisors LLC


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    Pedro was a great mentor to whoever approached him for advice. He was kind and soft spoken, but experienced and confident that his answer was correct when he gave it.

    One of my favorite memories of Pedro is that he is the only person I am aware of to sell his company twice. He sold to ResortQuest, purchased it back at a discount, and then sold it again to Vacasa. Brilliant businessman. He also, of course, served as the only person ever to be president of VRMA and chairman of AHLA (American Hotel and Lodging Association). I found out recently that he also was chairman of the Florida Hotel and Lodging Association at one time as well. Given the size and distinction of many of those hotels in Florida, that was quite a post.

    John Boller told a great story at Pedro’s funeral about when the two of them toured Gulf Shores Plantation, which Pedro owned and operated. They came into the gift shop on the grounds. He went in and met the young lady that was working as a cashier and said “Hello, I am Pedro….I work here too.” This articulated his humble nature extremely well.

    – Tim Cafferty GRI, ARM, president, Outer Banks Blue Realty Services and Sandbridge Blue Realty Services


    Pedro Mandoki was an OG, a perfect gentleman always. I was lucky to have worked with him as his insurance vendor for many years. When that relationship ended as he sold the business to Vacasa, he took the time to call me and we had a great conversation, and he let me know how much he appreciated our partnership and all we did over the years together. A class act. I was sad that we weren’t going to be working together any longer due to the sale. I have always had tons of respect for him and he will be sorely missed.

    – Nancy DiRienzo, Red Sky Travel Insurance


    Like so many others whom he touched, I will always remember Pedro Mandoki who I was blessed to call a client and friend for 15+ years. Pedro truly understood the heart of hospitality. Although he was legendary for his unparalleled industry leadership, I will remember him most for his qualities of humility, kindness and authenticity. 

    – Doug Kennedy, president, Kennedy Training Network


    Video Tributes



    In 2017, Pedro was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alabama Tourism Department for his decades of service to the hospitality and tourism industry in Gulf Shores and the State of Alabama. The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor given by the Alabama Tourism Department, says Lee Kramer, account manager, NextPax.com B.V. Watch video.



    Pedro and Lucy Kawaihalau of Kauai Vacation Rentals & Real Estate talk about Pedro’s start in the vacation rental industry in this video provided by Kristen James, product marketing at HomeAway. Watch video.



    In 2017, Pedro and Nora were featured in a promotional video from the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Bureau. It captures their love of the area and each other. Watch video.

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