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National Restaurant Association - State associations name new leaders

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State associations name new leaders

Three hospitality industry veterans have been appointed to lead the restaurant and restaurant and lodging associations in New Jersey, North Carolina and South Carolina.

John Durst has been named president and chief executive of the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association. Before joining SCR&LA, Durst served as director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, making him the state's top tourism official in Gov. Jim Hodges' administration.

Durst, who has a background in communications and marketing, most recently ran the South Carolina office for Carolina Public Relations and Marketing in Charlotte. At SCR&LA, he replaces Tom Sponseller, who died earlier this year.

Marilou Halvorsen was named president of the New Jersey Restaurant Association. Halvorsen, who previously served as director of marketing for Jenkinson's Boardwalk at the Point Pleasant Beach & Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, N.J., began her term Nov. 5, and has since been involved in leading efforts to help restaurateurs affected by Hurricane Sandy. She replaces Deborah Dowdell, who died earlier this year after a long illness.

In addition to her role at Jenkinson's, Halvorsen also led the Governor's Tourism Conference and Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission in New Jersey.

Lynn Minges has been tapped as president and chief executive of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Minges, a 20-year veteran of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, will be tasked with crafting the strategic vision for solid growth and service to the hospitality industry in North Carolina. She is expected to begin her term Dec. 3.

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