Bill Marks, director of food, nutrition and environmental services for Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, for his dedication to serving the needs of the downtown community. Marks transitioned the acute-care hospital from contract to self-op and truly made the hospital part of the surrounding community. The hospital’s food pantry is truly state of the art, helping to serve at-risk and at-need patients with healthy, free food.
Randy Lait, senior director of hospitality services at North Carolina State University, for executing a cutting-edge and ever-evolving dining program. Lait has spent his career at NC State, the last 10 as director. During that time he has led a transformation of the dining program to include mobile ordering, food transparency (and a first-class nutrition and dietetics program) and new dining venues and concepts.
Rodney Taylor, director of nutrition and foodservice for Fairfax (Va.) County Public Schools, for his lifetime commitment to child nutrition. During his tenure at Riverside (Calif.) Unified School District, Taylor created a farm-to-school program that was truly innovative at the time. He took that passion for salad bars to Fairfax, where he enacted a financial turnaround for the child nutrition program.
Lorna Donatone, CEO geographic regions & region chair north America for Sodexo, for the leadership she has exhibited during her nearly 20-year career with the management company. Donatone worked her way up at the foodservice giant, from president of Sodexo School Services to her current position. Along the way, she’s been a champion of women in the foodservice industry, helping found the company’s SWIFT (Sodexo’s Women’s International Forum for Talent) program.
Retail and Specialty
Regynald G. Washington, chief executive of Hojeij Branded Foods, for his 42-year foodservice career. Washington spent 12 of those years at the Walt Disney Co., where his innovation and entrepreneurial spirit took hold. Currently, he manages the Hojeji company, a $259 million dollar airport food and beverage company that operates 124 restaurants in 28 North American airports.
Hotels & Lodging
Don Falgoust, vice president of food & beverage for the RLJ Lodging Trust, for his nearly three-decade career, which includes stints at Brennan’s Restaurants, Wyndham International and Remington Hotel Corp. RLJ Lodging Trust brings premium-branded, focused-service foodservice concepts to compact full-service hotels. The company has a portfolio of 125 properties in 21 states.
Chain Full Service
Beverly Lynch, vice president food and beverage at Golden Corral, for her 35-plus-year foodservice career, the last 10 in her current position. Lynch is responsible for testing and developing more than 100 new food items each year and serves as the food and beverage expert to franchisees. Golden Corral has nearly 500 locations nationwide.
Chain Limited Service
Peter Cancro, founder and CEO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems Inc., for building the fast-casual sub sandwich franchise that now has more than 1,500 locations open and under development nationwide. The chain was the fastest-growing limited service chain and fastest-growing sandwich chain in Nation’s Restaurants News’ Top 100 from 2014 to 2017.
Sam Facchini and John Arena of Metro Pizza in Las Vegas for their pizza chain, which has been named the Best of Las Vegas more than 20 times. The chain has also been recognized nationally as one of America’s Top 10 Pizzerias.