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The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, June 2015 … Benchmark Hospitality International®, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, announces that the Florida International University (FIU) Alumni Association has honored the company’s Founder & Chairman Burt Cabañas with the “Alumnus of the Year Award”.  The Alumnus of the Year Award is given to a prominent alumnus of FIU who has achieved distinction through exceptional contributions in their field on the national level, the international level, and within their local community.  It is the most prestigious honor given by the Alumni association. 

“Giving back is very important to me,” said Mr. Cabañas.  “At this point in my career, I have a dual focus, which includes supporting Benchmark Hospitality in delivering the best possible service to our hotel owners and guests, and to our corporate clients.  And, equally important, doing everything I can to help strengthen, support and grow my alma mater, Florida International University.”


Under Burt Cabañas’ leadership Benchmark Hospitality International, which he founded in 1980 and is today a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers, has grown to nearly 40 luxury properties in the United States, Japan and the Caribbean. Benchmark provides management, marketing and development services, ranging from the design phase of projects to facilities construction and technical services. Mr. Cabañas began his career within the hospitality industry when he was a young man, working as a lifeguard for Miami Beach’s Shelborne Hotel.


Additionally, Burt Cabañas is a founding board member, past president, and active supporter of the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC), the global conference industry's thought leader on the meeting experience.  In 1988, IACC presented him with the Mel Hosansky Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his outstanding service to the association and to the conference center industry globally. 


Finally, Burt Cabañas individually and through his company is an active supporter of initiatives designed to assist and recognize US Military personnel and their families, such as the USO.  As well, he provides annual scholarships to gifted students in the culinary arts through the Bob Zappetelli Scholarship, which he established in recognition of Benchmark Hospitality’s extraordinary first vice president of food & beverage.


This is the third prestigious award Burt Cabañas has received from Florida International University.  In 2006, he was honored with the FIU Torch Award as well as the FIU Medallion Award, recognizing his active and long-term involvement as Chairman of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management Industry Advisory Board.


About Florida International University

Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offer more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU contributes $9.8 billion each year to the local economy. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded over 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 54,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, FIU@I-75, and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA and has over 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit

About the FIU Alumni Association

The Florida International University Alumni Association is a membership-based organization with over 20,000 dues paying members governed by a volunteer board of directors and currently serves a total alumni base of over 200,000, represented in every state and in more than 30 countries around the world. The mission is to serve the community of FIU alumni, students, family and friends by providing lifelong connections to FIU. The organization strives to provide opportunities to support FIU’s key strategic initiatives, which includes the revitalization and expansion of financial resources, achieving academic excellence, enhancing research and creative initiatives, and engaging the community of FIU. For more information about the FIU Alumni Association, visit

About Benchmark Hospitality International

Benchmark Hospitality International® is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers.  The company’s two distinctive portfolios of properties, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®, represent the finest in guest-dedicated hospitality in unique destinations across the United States, in the Caribbean and Japan.  As a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers, Benchmark Conference Centers® maintain the highest standards for certification in meeting excellence.  Benchmark Hospitality was launched in 1980 as an independent company and today operates worldwide from offices in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and regional offices in New Jersey, Washington State, Japan and Chile.  For additional company information visit

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