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National Restaurant Association - New NRA, NRAEF chairs rose through industry ranks

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New NRA, NRAEF chairs rose through industry ranks

New National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation board officers include leaders who started as hands-on employees.

Among them are Marshall L. “Ken” Conrad, the new chairman of the NRA Board of Directors, and Mike Gibbons, the new chairman of the NRAEF Board of Trustees.

Conrad operates Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants, a nine-location company founded by his parents in Greenville, N.C. He began his career as a cook in one of yheir restaurants and became company president in 1983. He is a former chairman of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association and served on its board for more than 20 years. He has been a member of the NRA board since 2004.

Gibbons, NRA chairman from 2009 to 2010, is president and CEO of Mainstreet Ventures in Ann Arbor, Mich. The company, operates fine-dining restaurants in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and Maryland. Before forming Mainstreet Ventures, Gibbons spent six years with C. A. Muer Corp., where he started as an hourly employee and rose to regional manager. He is a former president of the Michigan Restaurant Association.

The new officers began their terms this month. Other officers include Jack Crawford, NRA vice chairman; Joseph Kadow, NRA treasurer; Michael Hickey, NRA vice chairman; and Lorna Donatone, NRAEF treasurer.

Crawford is president & CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative based in Freeport, Maine. He leads 30 independently owned restaurants in 12 states and had more than 30 years of senior leadership experience in the industry. He is a former chairman of the Maine Restaurant Association and has been a member of the NRA Board of Directors since 2003.

Kadow is executive vice president, chief legal officer and a member of the executive leadership team of Bloomin’ Brands Inc. The company owns Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar and Roy’s. He joined the company in 1994 as vice president and general counsel.

Hickey is executive vice president and president of Global Institutional for Ecolab, where he has spent nearly 30 years in leadership positions. He is a member of several industry organizations, including the Multicultural Hospitality and Foodservice Alliance, the Society of Food Service Managers and the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

Donatone is chief operating officer and president of Sodexo Education. She leads Sodexo’s business at nearly 500 public school districts and at more than 850 college and university campuses. She has been a National Restaurant Association board member since 2005 and became a trustee of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in 2011.

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