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To say we have a housing problem is an understatement. There is certainly the issue of emergency housing- "Where am I going to sleep tonight?" a question that cuts across all generations

But also, what kinds of communities make a difference in people’s lives long term?
 As it happens, we have examples of some of those communities right here in Orange County.
This Hot Topics presents two innovative solutions to housing and how they work with the community and local government.

Beth Kassab, Editor, Winter Park Voice
Terry Prather, Advisor, Lift Orlando (former CEO/Sea World and participant on Orange County Housing Task Force)
Ryan Von Weller, COO, Wendover Housing Partners selected by Universal for Catchlight Crossings community  
Mitchell Glasser, Manager/Housing, Orange County 

Join us for HT Overtime immediately following our luncheon. We’ll convene next door in the Library 1:10-1:45. Bring your questions, comments, solutions.


Panelists and Moderator

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Terry Prather
Terry Prather

Terry Prather became a founding board member of Lift Orlando (2013,) a place-based community development organization that strengthens neighborhoods so people can thrive. 

In January 2023, Terry Prather transitioned to senior advisor at Lift Orlando after serving as the chief operating officer for seven years. 

Terry currently serves as chair of the Visit Orlando board of directors. Visit Orlando is the official tourism association of the most visited destination in the U.S. and represents 1,300 member companies that make up every segment of the tourism industry. 

Terry also serves as the board chair for Dr. Phillips Charities, comprised of Dr. Phillips, Inc. and The Dr. P. Phillips Foundation. These two distinct funding organizations are well-known in Central Florida for their support of worthy capital projects and innovative non-profit programs that address critical Central Florida needs.

A veteran of the tourism industry, Terry retired from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in 2015, where he served as president of SeaWorld Orlando. His SeaWorld career started in maintenance and water quality for SeaWorld San Antonio in 1988.

In 2019, Terry co-chaired the “Housing For All Task Force” for Orange County Florida. This task force of 38 citizens developed an action plan that received unanimous approval from the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

Throughout his career he has served on several community boards and associations including VISIT FLORIDA, the Florida Council of Tourism Leaders, Florida Citrus Sports and Bethune-Cookman University’s Board of Trustees. Today, Terry continues to serve on the board of advisors for the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC. 

He is passionate about serving his family and in 2016 Terry was honored as a “Father Of The Year” by the American Diabetes Association. Terry and his wife Shayla have five adult children and ten grandchildren. 

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Ryan Von Woller
Ryan Von Woller

Ryan von Weller is the Chief Operating Officer at Wendover Housing Partners. He is a commercial real estate broker responsible for Wendover’s multi-family and residential development throughout the state of Florida. With more than 15 years of experience in the areas of site selection, land contract negotiations, land valuation and project planning and development, von Weller joined Wendover in 2014. He graduated from the University of Florida and earned his MBA at Rollins College.

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Mitchell Glasser
Mitchell Glasser

Mitchell Glasser is the Manager for Orange County’s Housing and Community Development Division and is responsible for administering all the federal, state, and local housing programs for Orange County, Florida.  Some of those programs include the Community Development Block Grant, the HOME Investment Partnership, the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program and Orange County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.   

Mr. Glasser has over 30 years of experience with affordable housing and community development programs.  He serves on various boards and is past President of the National Association of County Community and Economic Development.  Mr. Glasser holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University and a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Ohio State University.

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Moderator: Beth Kassab
Moderator: Beth Kassab

Beth Kassab is a Central Florida native and long-time journalist who has devoted her career to local news. She arrived at the Voice in 2023 with a strong passion for telling the stories of the people and organizations who help define this region. Beth spent 20 years at the Orlando Sentinel where she covered politics, education, courts, business and local government and also wrote a popular column. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, WMFE, WUCF and Fox35.

Beth graduated from the University of Florida (go Gators!), where she was editor-in-chief of the Independent Florida Alligator, and served as chairwoman of UF’s Department of Journalism Advisory Board from 2018-2020. In 2018, she was a finalist for the Scripps Howard First Amendment Award and has been recognized for her body of work by the Florida Society of News Editors. Beth volunteers as a peer mentor for patients and caregivers at the American Brain Tumor Association. She lives in Oviedo with her two children.

Hot Topics Recap

Click to read the MAY 10 review as well as links to the news media represented by our panelists.

If you attended the event or watched it on our Facebook livestream, please consider completing the evaluation linked below:
Hot Topics Survey

2023 Hot Topics May Shock & Law Legislative Debrief

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The best regular public affairs forum in town, our Hot Topics Luncheons feature speakers and panelists talking about the hottest issues of concern to Central Florida. Open to League members and community guests, your ticket includes a delicious lunch prepared by Cuisiniers to be enjoyed along with food for thought and action. You’ll want to be present in the magnificent and new Winter Park Events Center designed by internationally renowned architect Sir David Adjaye. Programs are also streamed on the League’s Facebook Live, recorded, and available on the League’s YouTube channel.

Winter Park Events Center

1050 W. Morse Blvd.

Photo courtesy Adjaye Associates