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National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Names New Board Officers

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced the swearing in of officers to its Board of Directors and Board of Trustees, respectively. Sam Facchini, co-founder/co-owner and operator of Metro Pizza, will serve as Chair of the NRAEF board.

WASHINGTON, DC – January 26, 2018 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced the swearing in of officers to its Board of Trustees. Sam Facchini, co-founder/co-owner and operator of Metro Pizza, will serve as Chair of the NRAEF board.

Chair: Sam Facchini is co-founder/co-owner of Metro Pizza, which has seven full-service locations serving the Las Vegas area for more than 37 years. Facchini also is a past Chair of the Nevada Restaurant Association. Facchini and his business partner, John Arena, were named Nevada's Restaurateur of the Year in 1999 and Pizza Operator of the Year at Pizza Expo in 1986. Metro Pizza was named Best of Las Vegas 19 times by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and, over the years, has received numerous national accolades such as being named one of America's Top 10 Pizzerias from USA Today, Food Network and Pizza Today magazine.  Facchini is dedicated to the NRAEF’s ProStart program and to the education, growth and success of future restaurateurs. Over the years, he has created local high-school scholarships and a hospitality scholarship program at the University of Las Vegas.  In 2005, he was given the Keys to the City of Las Vegas by the city's Mayor, for service to his hometown. He is a graduate of St. John's University, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. He earned his CPA from the State of Nevada in 1984.

Learn more about Sam Facchini's commitment to the restaurant industry and his involvement with the ProStart program here
Vice Chair: Geoff Hill is Managing Director of Roark Capital Group, which owns 19 restaurant brands covering 15,000 locations worldwide. He is responsible for leading sourcing activity for franchise and multiunit acquisitions as well as portfolio management for several of Roark’s Restaurant investments. Previously, Hill was President of Cinnabon, a Roark-owned company. He started his hospitality career at Bristol Hotel Company and attended Cornell University’s Hotel and Restaurant School.
Treasurer: Stan Harris is President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. Before that, Harris spent 27 years with TJM Restaurant Management, which was the largest franchisee of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, including stints as President and CEO of the firm. In 2007, he became CEO of the Forefront Group, North America’s largest supplier of golf accessories. Most recently, Harris served as managing partner of The H Group, a management advisory firm focused on business-process improvement and team development, serving family businesses and entrepreneurs. Harris is a past President of the Council for State Restaurant Associations as well as a Director on the New Orleans CVB Board. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
In addition, the NRAEF added new members to its board. The newly elected trustees include:
  • Roger Kaplan, founder, RK iNNOVATION, Dallas, Texas
  • Curtis Wilson, Vice President and General Manager—National Client Group, American Express Company New York City
Visit to learn more about the NRAEF, its programs and its impact.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:  As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit
Jasmine Jones, NRAEF
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