John C. Draper, president of Restaurant Operations for V&J Holdings Companies Inc., has been awarded the International Franchise Association's Ronald E. Harrison Award for diversity and inclusion. The award will be formally presented during the IFA's annual convention in New Orleans in February.

In his role as president of Operations for V&J Holding Companies Inc., Draper has direct responsibility of more than 100 restaurants including Pizza Huts, Burger Kings, Auntie Anne's, Cinnabon Bakeries, Coffee Beanery's and Haagen-Dazs Shops that collectively operate in Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and Minnesota. Additionally he oversees the training and development of more than 3,100 team members.

Throughout the past 40 years, Draper has worked with minority-owned companies to ensure that they practice diversity and inclusion, and demonstrate its business necessity and importance throughout the restaurant industry, according to a news release. He has been instrumental in developing many programs to recruit and train minorities.

Also during his career, Draper worked with minority owners in Detroit as the VP of Operations with Keys Group Inc., owned by the first African-American Burger King and KFC franchisee Brady Keys Jr., and in Milwaukee with V&J Holding Companies Inc., the largest female-owned franchisee in the U.S., under Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter.

Draper has worked to increase community cohesiveness working with the Detroit Pistons Basketball Association on its "Read to Achieve" Program, offering "benefit night" donations where up to 20 percent of sales go to community-based organizations. He has served on many boards including the Detroit Public Schools on its mentoring program, and Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation for its college scholarship program.

Draper is a board member of the IFA Diversity Institute.

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