Gino Caliendo feels like he has come home.
The new general manager of the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, Caliendo has been with the chain since December 1980. The move to Jacksonville is his 14th relocation.
The son of an Italian immigrant who worked as a waiter in a hotel in Pittsburgh, Caliendo earned a business degree from Duquesne University. He then answered a newspaper ad for a job with Hyatt. He’s been there ever
“I wanted a career with a progressive company and the opportunity to travel,” he said.
Caliendo comes to Jacksonville from San Antonio, where he was general manager of the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa. He worked in Miami-area Hyatt properties for nine years and spent more than four years at the Grand Hyatt Tampa.
Caliendo traded places with the Jacksonville’s Hyatt’s previous general manager, Dan King, who is now GM at Hyatt Hill Country. King said he wanted to make the move because he always wanted to be GM of a Hyatt resort property.
Caliendo said he was “very happy managing Hyatt Hill Country,” but the Sunshine State was calling him back. Of his 33 years with Hyatt, 14 have been at properties in Florida.
“I wanted to come back to Florida. My brother lives in Sarasota, my mother-in-law lives in West Palm Beach and I’m very excited about being near the water again,” he said. “On the personal side, this is a home run for me.”
Caliendo said running a resort is very different from running a convention hotel, but that change also appealed to him,
“I’m ready to take on a new challenge,” Caliendo said.
While admitting he had never been to Jacksonville until he began considering the move, Caliendo said he was impressed with the community as soon as he got off his flight at Jacksonville International Airport and climbed into a taxi.
“In not many cities are the cab drivers engaging. I found that very refreshing,” he said. “The level of hospitality that I’ve seen here has been amazing to me. I find it very refreshing.”