National Restaurant Association, NRAEF Elect New Officers, Members to Board of Directors and Trustees

The National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) have elected new officers to their Board of Directors and Board of Trustees. The officers took office on January 1, 2012, and led their first board meeting late last month in Phoenix, Ariz.

“We are excited to continue to advance our strategic plan for both the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF under Roz’s and Xavier’s leadership,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. “The collective experience of all our officers will help grow membership, educate future industry leaders, and strengthen the restaurant and foodservice industry as a whole.”

The National Restaurant Association’s 2012 officers are:

Chair: Rosalyn “Roz” Mallet is president and CEO of PhaseNext Hospitality — a franchise operating company focused on quick casual brands in non-traditional venues. Mallet is a seasoned leader with extensive and diverse experience in enterprise strategy, turnarounds, transition planning, systems implementation, human capital development and franchise operations. She has a comprehensive background in several restaurant segments, including casual dining (Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s), quick casual (la Madeleine Bistro/Café) and quick service (Caribou). She is also a member of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Board of Trustees.

Vice Chair: Phil Hickey currently serves as chairman of the board of O’Charley’s, Inc., a multi-concept public restaurant company based in Nashville, Tenn. Phil previously served as chairman of the board/chief executive officer of RARE Hospitality International, Inc., an Atlanta-based restaurant company whose concepts included LongHorn Steakhouse and the award-winning Capital Grille, acquired by Darden Restaurants, Inc., in 2007. As a veteran of more than 35 years in the industry, Phil Hickey has also been a single restaurant owner-operator and co-founded a restaurant company and taken it public.

Treasurer: Marshall L. “Ken” Conrad is chairman of Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants, a nine-location company based in Greensboro, N.C. His parents began the company in 1953 with a single restaurant. Conrad began as a cook in one of his parents’ restaurants and became company president in 1983. A former chairman of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, Conrad served on its board for more than 20 years. He has been a member of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors since 2004.

The NRAEF’s 2012 officers are:

Chair: Xavier Teixido is president of Harry’s Hospitality Group in Wilmington, Del. A seasoned operator and owner, Teixido is experienced in leading both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations. Teixido has served as the Chairman of the National Restaurant Association (2002-2003) and is former president of the Delaware Restaurant Association. In 1999, he was named the Delaware Restaurateur of the Year and was recipient of Delaware’s first Cornerstone Award in 2003. Teixido also serves at the pleasure of the Governor of Delaware on the state’s Tourism Advisory Board, and is a member of the University of Delaware HRIM Advisory Board.

Vice chair: Denise Marie Fugo, FMP, is chairman & CEO of Sammy’s in Cleveland, Ohio, specializing in banquet, concession and restaurant management for cultural, academic and corporate venues throughout northeast Ohio. Under her leadership, Sammy’s has received the prestigious Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award and the Wine Spectator’s Award for Excellence. Most recently, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation named her to its distinguished College of Diplomats in 2010. Fugo is a Past Chairman of the Board of the National Restaurant Association.

Treasurer: Michael Gibbons is president and CEO of Mainstreet Ventures Inc. in Ann Arbor, Mich. Since 1981, Mainstreet Ventures has set the standard for fine dining in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and most recently Maryland. The company’s portfolio includes Real Seafood Company, Gratzi, Blue Pointe Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, Palio Ristorante, La Dolce Vita, Tidewater Grill, Ciao, The Chop House, Zia’s Italian, Carson’s American Bistro and its latest concept, EO Burgers. Gibbons was 2009-21010 chairman of the National Restaurant Association and is a former president of the Michigan Restaurant Association.

In addition, both organizations have added new members to their respective boards.

The newly elected directors to the National Restaurant Association’s board are:

  • Louis Basile, CEO/president of Wildflower Bread Company in Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • John Campbell, general manager of La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif.
  • Bill Caskey, VP of strategic business development of ConAgra Foods in Omaha, Neb.
  • George Ebinger, president/CEO of GTE Enterprises LLC in Barnegat, N.J.
  • Michael Hickey, president, Institutional, Ecolab Inc. in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Chris O’Herlihy, executive vice president, ITW Food Equipment Group in Glenview, Ill.
  • Bret Stewart, president of Centertwist Inc., in Woodinville, Wash.
  • Jay L. Stieber, executive vice president, CFA & general counsel of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago, Ill.

The National Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors consists of industry leasers who serve on a voluntary basis to guide the Association toward its vision of leading America’s restaurants into a new era of prosperity, prominence and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all it serves. The new directors will serve on the Association’s board January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2014.

The newly elected trustees of the NRAEF’s board are:

  • Dr. Jerald Chesser, interim dean, College of Extended University, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in Pomona, Calif.
  • Jaime González, owner, Keso Mexican Grill in Johns Creek, Ga.
  • Michael Hickey, president, Institutional, Ecolab Inc. in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Peter Meersman, president and CEO, Colorado Restaurant Association in Denver, Colo.
  • Sally Smith, president & CEO, Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Joseph Taylor, vice president, Corporate Affairs, Brinker International, Inc. in Dallas, Texas
  • Steven Watson, chief operating officer/general manager, Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights, Minn.

They join a distinguished group of prominent leaders from all sectors of the industry who are committed to providing counsel on the NRAEF’s strategic direction, specifically as it relates to growing and strengthening the ProStart program and the NRAEF Scholarship Program. The new trustees will serve on the NRAEF’s board January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2014.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 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 5-8, 2012, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart, including the National ProStart Invitational April 27-29, 2012, in Baltimore, Md.); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids’ menu options. For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.