(Chicago, Ill.) Regynald Washington, FMP, CFBE and Herman Cain, FMP will join the 2008 Salute to Excellence Honorees as special presenters at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) Michael E. Hurst Student Forum on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. Washington, vice president, segment food and beverage, product development and new concepts, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, will serve as Student Forum moderator and master of ceremonies, and Cain, chief executive officer, T.H.E., Inc. and 2008 NRAEF College of Diplomates inductee, will serve as the Ambassador and Diplomate Luncheon keynote speaker. The event is held as part of the NRAEF’s 21st Annual Salute to Excellence at the 2008 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show® in Chicago.
The Michael E. Hurst Student Forum gathers approximately 200 top restaurant and foodservice management students and their teachers from around the country with industry educators and leaders for a day of learning and celebration, highlighting our industry’s position as the cornerstone of our nation’s economy, career-and-employment opportunities and local communities. The Student Forum is one of several initiatives held in conjunction with the NRA Show that focuses on supporting and growing the workforce of tomorrow.
“We are delighted to have Regynald Washington and Hermain Cain join us for the 2008 Michael E. Hurst Student Forum,” stated Ruben Villavicencio, chairman of the Board of Trustees, NRAEF. “This annual event is a tremendous example of the drive, dedication and achievement of the future workforce of our industry. We are proud to once again host such an invaluable event.”
The Student Forum begins with the Career of Choice Recruitment Breakfast, where students have the opportunity to meet and engage the industry’s leading companies in a career fair environment. Students then move to interactive presentations and small-group breakout discussions led by the 2008 Salute to Excellence Honorees:
·         The 2008 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality:
o   Joseph K. Fassler, FMP, retired president & CEO, Viad Food Service & Hospitality
·         The 2008 College of Diplomates Inductees:
o   Herman Cain, chief executive officer, T.H.E., Inc.
o   William Regas, chairman emeritus, Regas Restaurants
o   Christianne R. Ricchi, chef proprietor, Ristorante i Ricchi
·         The 2008 Michael E. Hurst Lifetime of Achievement in Education Award:
o   Raphael R. Kavanaugh, Ed.D., FMP, professor and department head, Purdue University
Faculty participate in a special Faculty Educational Forum where they hear from industry experts on trends and hot topics facing the industry. This year’s Faculty Forum will include a presentation that on the NRA’s new Conserve Initiative, led by Niki Leondakis, chief operating officer, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, discussing how key industry leaders are driving change in their organizations, new green activities on the horizon and what students need to learn today so they can make an immediate impact tomorrow. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president, research & information services, for the National Restaurant Association, will also give a financial overview of the restaurant industry for 2008, including top operator challenges as well as employment, food/beverage trends and operational developments.
The Student Forum is concluded with the Ambassador and Diplomate Luncheon, where students have the opportunity to personally engage industry leaders in a round-table environment and learn from the inspirational life story of Cain. The luncheon also includes scholarships presentations by The Coca-Cola Company, Distinguished Restaurants of North American (DiRôNA) and the National Society for Healthcare Foodservice Management (HFM).
Michael E. Hurst Student Forum sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Ecolab, Inc., The Employment Guide, Micros Inc. and Pearson Education.
Now in its 89th year, the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals in the Western Hemisphere. The 2008 Show will be held May 17-20, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. The Show attracts nearly 2,150 exhibiting companies and 74,000 attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 115 countries. More information can be found on the Show Web site at www.restaurant.org/show.

About Michael E. Hurst
Michael E. Hurst owned and operated the 15th Street Fisheries restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Driven by an internal fire, Hurst was on the vanguard of the restaurant industry’s efforts to create a platform for education, mentoring and training. Prior to passing in March, 2001, he observed a need for improvement and presented a compelling argument for one of the largest industries to be responsible for itself.
Hurst pushed for and developed a structure for educational programs aimed at the future workforce. He realized that the responsibility is shared among all those who work within foodservice. The means to achieving that goal was through young people – reaching them and connecting with them through scholarships, education and mentoring to help guide their careers within our strong, proud industry.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fulfilling the educational mission of the National Restaurant Association. As the nation’s second largest private sector employer, the restaurant and foodservice industry is the cornerstone of the American economy, of career-and-employment opportunities, and of local communities. Revenues from all NRAEF products and services benefit the industry by supporting the NRAEF’s educational initiatives.  For more information on the NRAEF, visit www.nraef.org.

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