The National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation announced today the election of officers to its board of directors and board of trustees, respectively. The officers began their 1-year terms Jan. 1 and recently led their first board meeting in Charleston, S.C. In addition, the NRA has named several industry leaders to join its board, according to a company press release.

"This year, our boards are fortunate to be led by industry veterans Ken Conrad and Mike Gibbons. Their leadership and expertise will provide valuable guidance as our industry navigates complex challenges in the year ahead," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The NRA expects restaurants to add 1.3 million new positions in the next decade, pushing industry employment to 14.8 million by 2024. To support this growth, the NRA board consists of roughly 100 voting directors, representing every facet of the industry. The 2014 officers are:

Chair: Marshall L. "Ken" Conrad is chairman of Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants, a nine-location company based in Greensboro, N.C.

Vice chair: Jack Crawford is president & CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative based in Freeport, Maine, where he is responsible for the overall leadership of Ground Round Restaurants, a chain of 30 independently owned restaurants in 12 states spread across the Midwest and Northeast areas of the U.S.

Treasurer: Joseph J. Kadow is EVP, chief legal officer and a member of the executive leadership team of Bloomin' Brands, Inc., owner of Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar and Roy's.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation recently moved to NRA headquarters in Washington, D.C. As the philanthropic arm of the NRA, the foundation works with the NRA to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry, according to the release. The NRAEF's 2014 officers are:

Chair: Michael Gibbons is president and CEO of Mainstreet Ventures Inc., an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company founded in 1981.

Vice chair: Michael A. Hickey is executive vice president and president of Global Institutional for Ecolab. He currently serves on the board of the National Restaurant Association and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Upper Northwest.

Treasurer: Lorna C. Donatone is chief operating officer and president of Sodexo Education, where she leads Sodexo's business at nearly 500 public school districts and at more than 850 college and university campuses.

In addition, the NRA has added new members to its board. The newly elected directors include the following individuals:

  • Susan Adzick, VP of Sales & Marketing, McLane Foodservice Inc. in Carrollton, Texas.
  • Scott Carlson, owner and managing partner of Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company and owner of Americana Restaurant in Des Moines.
  • Atour Eyvazian, franchise owner/managing partner of JIB Management, Inc. dba Jack in the Box in Houston.
  • Jeff Lobdell, president of Restaurant Partners Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Scott Redler, COO and co-founder of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Wichita, Kan.
  • Tim Ryan, president of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
  • And Bahjat Shariff, SVP of Operations/Operating Partner at Howley Bread Group dba Panera Bread in Cumberland, R.I.

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