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New Officers, Board Members Elected to National Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today the election of officers to its Board of Directors and Board of Trustees, respectively.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jan.27, 2015 –  The National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today the election of officers to its Board of Directors and Board of Trustees, respectively. The officers, who serve one-year terms, led their first board meeting this week. In addition, the NRA and NRAEF have named several industry leaders to join their boards.

“Our board members’ collective expertise and guidance is instrumental as we work to strengthen the restaurant and foodservice industry, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve,” said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “This year, our boards are fortunate to be led by foodservice veterans Jack Crawford and Mike Hickey, whose leadership will be critical in representing our industry.”

The NRA board consists of roughly 100 voting directors, representing every facet of the industry and state in the nation. These volunteer leaders provide strategic guidance to the NRA in its efforts to advance and protect the restaurant and foodservice industry. The 2015 officers are:

Chair: Jack Crawford is President & CEO, Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative (IOC) based in Freeport, Maine, where he is responsible for the overall leadership of Ground Round Restaurants, a chain of 29 independently owned restaurants in 10 states spread across the Midwest and Northeast areas of the U.S. He has over 33 years of industry experience in senior leadership positions of operational and franchising disciplines, and was instrumental in leading a franchisee buyout of the Ground Round brand and franchise rights in 2004. Jack is a former chairman of the Maine Restaurant Association and has been a member of the NRA Board of Directors since 2003.

Vice Chair: Joseph J. Kadow is Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer and a member of the Executive Leadership Team of Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., owner of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar and Roy’s. Joe joined Bloomin’ Brands in 1994 as Vice President and General Counsel. Previously he served as a partner in the Orlando office of the national law firm of BakerHostetler.

Treasurer: Jeff Davis is the Chairman, United States Beef Corporation, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, since 1969. US Beef is the largest franchisee in the world of the Arby’s Restaurant Group, and the first franchisee of Taco Bueno Restaurants, LP. The company now has over 320 Arby’s restaurants located in eight contiguous Midwest and Western states of Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois, and six Taco Bueno restaurants located in Northwest Arkansas. Mr. Davis is also a recognized leader in the restaurant industry, serving as the Chairman of Oklahoma Restaurant Association and of the Arby’s Franchise Association.

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF works to enhance the industry’s service to the public through education, promotion of career opportunities, and community engagement. The NRAEF’s 2015 officers are:

Chair: Michael A. Hickey is Executive Vice President and President, Global Institutional, Ecolab, Inc. where over his 29-year tenure, he has held a number of key executive positions. Hickey is an active leader in the restaurant and foodservice industry.  He currently serves on the board of the National Restaurant Association and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Upper Northwest. Previously, he served as chair of the board of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. He is also a member of several industry organizations, including the Multicultural Hospitality and Foodservice Alliance, the Society of Food Service Managers, the World Travel and Tourism Council and the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

Vice Chair: Lorna C. Donatone is President and Chief Operating Officer, Sodexo Education, where she leads Sodexo’s business at nearly 500 public school districts and at more than 850 college and university campuses. Donatone is also Sodexo’s Worldwide Education Champion and an industry leader dedicated to community involvement. She has been a National Restaurant Association board member since 2005 and became a trustee of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in 2011. Donatone is Past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and was elected as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Culinary Institute of America in 2008.

Treasurer: Greg Hamer, Sr., FMP, is the Managing Member of B & G Food Enterprises, LLC., which includes B&G Food and affiliated companies that are responsible for operations of 53 Taco Bell and KFC franchise restaurants in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In 2001 Greg Hamer was elected to the National Restaurant Association’s Board representing Louisiana operators, he became a trustee of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in 2009. Greg is also a member of the Southeast KFC Franchisee Association Board of Directors, President of the Gulf South Taco Bell Advertising Association, President of the Houston KFC Advertising Co-OP, a member of the Taco Bell Franchise Management Advisory Council, and has earned the restaurant industry’s professional credential, Foodservice Management Professional (FMP). Greg was the St. Mary Parish Businessman of the Year in 2002 and in the same year was elected to the Louisiana Restaurant Hall of Fame.

In addition, the NRA has added new members to its board. The newly elected directors include the following individuals:

  • Vic Allred, Owner of Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, with locations in Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri; Lubbock, Texas; and Omaha, Nebraska. 
  • Karen Bremer, Executive Director, Georgia Restaurant Association in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Miguel Fernandez, President/COO, Groupe LeDuff, Latin America Division in Dallas, Texas.
  • Melvin Rodrigue, President & CEO, Galatoire’s Restaurants in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Chris Savvides, Owner, Black Angus Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • Mary Schell, Senior Vice President, External & Government Relations, The Wendy’s Company in Dublin, Ohio.
  • Kent Walrack, President & Chief Operating Officer, Lyons Magnus in Fresno, California.

The NRA also has elected a new International Ambassador:

  • Susan Senecal, Chief Marketing Officer, A&W Food Services of Canada, Inc. in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

The newly elected NRAEF trustees include the following individuals:

  • Bob Ashby, President & Owner of Ashby Hospitality Group in Newark, Delaware.
  • Stephanie Chadwick, Vice President & General Manager, American Express in New York, New York.
  • Emily Williams Knight, President, Kendall College in Chicago, Illinois.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit


About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises one million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 14 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 16-19, 2015, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurantsFacebook and YouTube.


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