Rolando Aedo loves Miami, and that’s what makes him perfect for his job

Rolando Aedo is COO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Photograph by Nick Garcia.
Rolando Aedo is COO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

Rolando Aedo, 52, is Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. He sat down with INDULGE to describe his journey so far and his vision for Miami’s next generation.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, and raised in Miami by Cuban parents, Rolando Aedo is the fourth of six kids. He married his high-school sweetheart, Katia. They met in French class at Immaculata-La Salle High School, where their kids, Isabella, 18, and Marcello, 16, now attend. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and an MBA from the University of Miami.

Aedo was working in real estate when he applied for a contract position at the GMCVB in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. “One thing led to another, and I’ve probably sat in every office since,” he said. Now, nearly 25 years later, “I’m blessed to have an amazing view overlooking the downtown and Brickell areas that I’ve seen grow up.”

Rolando Aedo in his office at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

Personal Motto

“If it ain’t broke, break it. I have the DNA of an engineer, so whenever I look at anything, I’m looking to see how to improve its performance and results.”

Summer in Miami

“Miami gets this rap about being too hot in the summer, but summer is an amazing opportunity to enjoy Miami and its world-class restaurants, hotels and spas in a very value-conscious way. We will have more spas than ever for Miami Spa Month (July-August), and Miami Spice (August-September) has grown from 25 restaurants to 250!”

The Next Big Thing

“We’re ramping up toward the opening of the Miami Beach Convention Center in September after a $650-million renovation. This is a game-changer. We are finally going to have a world-class convention center to align with our world-class amenities. We’re also putting our finishing touches on our bid for the 2026 World Cup.”

Favorite Local Neighborhood

“Miami is a real city with lots of rich history and heritage, and I like to educate people on the amazing diversity of Miami experiences. South Beach will always be that exciting epicenter, but now we are blessed with great neighborhoods. Coconut Grove strikes a great balance and has a great vibe, and it’s our main family place.”

Best Day on the Job

“It may be a cliché, but I truly am so excited to walk into my office practically every day. Seeing that I’ve been able to inspire some of my colleagues to evolve professionally has been the most gratifying thing.”

On His Recent Promotion to COO

“I’ve historically spent a lot of time developing marketing programs and I’m continuing to do that, but I’m also working on organizational issues. We enjoy great relationships with our local commissioners and mayors, and now I’m looking to build upon how we work with state legislators. Our organization can help sustain the economic vitality of Florida.”

Biggest Challenges

“It doesn’t happen often, but crisis communication is the most challenging part of the job. You can’t control it, but you can prepare for it. We spent a lot of time last year communicating on the Zika topic.”

Unwinding After Work

“I come home and cook with my family. No matter what time it is or how tired I am, it’s not a burden. It’s part of my creativity, and it’s therapeutic. I’m always experimenting with different combinations of spices. My kids enjoy my special tomato sauce with ground beef, ground pork, cream and chopped onions – nothing from a can!”

Celebrating Father’s Day

“I tend to be a homebody and spend time with my family, especially since my daughter is leaving for college soon. From the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, our lives revolve around our kids. I’m definitely going to be very sentimental this year on Father’s Day. We’ll relax and have a nice meal.”

Advice He Gives to His Kids

“Besides the obvious advice about being responsible and careful, the one thing I try to instill in both my kids is to be passionate about what they do and always demonstrate that.”

Advice for People Who Aren’t His Kids

“We should all be lifelong students. I went back for my MBA many years into my executive career. You should always be challenging yourself and educating yourself because that’s what’s going to allow you to continue to add value to the organization.”

Rolando Aedo. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

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