After more than 30 years in the full-service vacation rental, property management, and real estate business, founder Dale Peterson has sold Destin Resorts Inc. Dale E. Peterson Vacations to local Destin businessman Bart Begley.

"For the past 30 years I have served the resort management and hospitality industries along the Emerald Coast,” Peterson said. “I have been blessed with long lasting and meaningful relationships with the owners, guests, and employees who all played a role in my ultimate success. As the tourism industry grew along our beaches so did our area economy as well as the values of professional resort management companies.

"Over the years, I have been approached by numerous prospective purchasers and never did I see a perfect fit to the company culture we had established and who still wanted to retain the current staff that brought me to where I am today," he added. "All this being said, I am proud to announce that I have sold Destin Resorts Inc./Dale E. Peterson Vacations to Emerald Coast Resorts, that shares those goals and should ensure a smooth and invisible transition."

Begley also owns Grand Fitness LLC, an elite health club at Grand Boulevard Sandestin Town Center, and is elated to continue and build upon DEPV's tradition of excellence. Begley will be an active owner with the company. He will oversee all of the operations and work with the team to develop growth and improvement strategies.

"Purchasing this company was by far the easiest and best business decision that I have ever made," Begley said. "It has every attribute that I look for in a business, with the most important being the people. Mr. Peterson has developed a great team. I am very excited to have the opportunity to take what Mr. Peterson and his team have built and grow it."

Begley is a local businessman who lives in Destin. Prior to owning Grand Fitness, Begley was an owner of Inland Waste Solutions LLC, which had solid waste operations in eight different states. Begley sold the company to a larger corporation in May 2016. He was also the founder, chief executive officer, and president of Emerald Waste Services LLC based in Freeport. Emerald Waste, before the company was sold in September 2012, was the 36th largest fully-integrated solid waste management business in the United States with assets in excess of $125 million. The company served customers in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.

In addition to continuing the operation of the sales company, Dale E. Peterson Realty, Peterson plans to spend his free time as a tourist. He looks forward to checking some things off his bucket list including traveling the U.S., Europe, Asia and spending more time in the Bahamas.

Peterson's community activities include former chairman of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council, former chairman of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council, past president and chairman of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, past president of the Destin Chamber of Commerce, and past member of the Destin Harbor Task Force. Peterson was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the Emerald Coast Bridge Authority, and serves as the current chairman of the Northwest Florida State College Foundation Board, current director for the local chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, and on the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center board.

Peterson received the Florida Realtors Achievement Award in 2012, ECAR 2010 President's Award, Destin Realtor of the Year in 2003, Destin Businessman of the Year in 1996, Realtor of the Year in 1996, and is a Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout.