Mark Miller, owner of Al-Marah Arabian Horses, whose horses graced the ring at Arabian Nights Dinner Show for years, originally considered starting Arabian Nights in Orange County. Planners working with him to create the world famous dinner show told him to consider Kissimmee instead, insisting that he would find a home in Osceola County.
Miller has lived in Central Florida since he moved to the area in 1966 to attend Rollins College, and he tells me Rodeo Diner in Kissimmee is his favorite place to eat. “I love the county’s rodeo heritage,” he says, “If you have someplace that has history like Osceola County, it’d be tragic not to preserve it.”
Through the Ruth McCormick Tankersley Charitable Trust, Mark sponsors the Osceola County Historical Society’s research center and education programs, including the Traveling Trunks program which provides classroom resources for students and teachers to learn about Osceola County’s early native and pioneer settlers. His charity work is not exclusive to Osceola County, but he stays active in things that make Osceola County a better place to live. “You’re obligated to make the community a better place if you can,” he says.
Miller is dedicated to fulfilling this obligation, working extensively to combat homelessness and human trafficking in Central Florida, and remaining involved with organizations that provide education and other services, including the Heavenly Hooves in Osceola County, which combines Mark’s love of service and horses and provides equine-assisted activities and therapeutic programs.
Apart from improving the community through nonprofit partnership, Miller has been involved with the West 192 Redevelopment Authority, working to revitalize the West 192 corridor. He was also instrumental in the privatization and is a director of Experience Kissimmee, an entity which helped to attract more than 60 million tourists to Osceola County last year.
Seeming to inherit his mother’s penchant for “always keeping an eye on the horizon,” Mark sees a bright future in Osceola County, impressing on the importance of tourism in our county, and noting that what will really bring change to the economy in Osceola County is creating a High Tech Corridor, including the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. It’s been said that the creation of a High Tech Corridor will be as transformative for Osceola County as Walt Disney World was in the 1970s.
“I don’t mind change. If you’re anti-growth in Florida, you’ll have a frustrating life,” he says. When I ask Mark what frustrations there are in his life, he smiles. “I have a wonderful life. I’ve been really blessed,” Mark says, “and one of my blessings has been living in Osceola County.”