Bestowed annually since 1987 by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award reflects the Foundation’s ongoing mission to enhance the industry through community service and philanthropic efforts. Named after Thad and Alice Eure, this prestigious award is given to a person who shows exceptional leadership and unparalleled support in uplifting communities and transforming lives.
As the son of a restaurateur and university foodservice director, the restaurant business runs in Michael “Mike” Hickey’s blood. Before joining Ecolab as a territory manager-in-training in 1985, he spent his early years washing dishes and learning the ins and outs of the industry. He would later go on to a successful 35-year career at Ecolab, serving the restaurant industry and its customers before retiring in 2020 as the company’s president of Global Institutional.
Throughout his impressive career, Hickey has dedicated his life to building opportunity and advancement across the restaurant and hospitality industry. He served as chair of the board of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association and, in 2020, was recognized with its Distinguished Foodservice Executive Award. During his time on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association and as chair of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Hickey advanced the Foundation’s military and ProStart programs, creating a partnership to connect ProStart students to annual Taste of the NFL events.
Although retired, Hickey continues to serve in numerous volunteer leadership positions. These include chairing the board of trustees for his alma mater, St. Bonaventure University, and board roles at St. Catherine University, Ronald McDonald House Charities, International Franchise Association, the Women’s Foodservice Forum, and Standex International Corporation, which is a public company.