WASHINGTON, March 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) today announced that Carlton Curtis, vice president of industry relations for The Coca-Cola Company, has been honored with the 2015 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award. This prestigious award is a tribute to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Curtis will be recognized at a national industry awards gala dinner, hosted by the NRAEF, on April 14, 2015, during the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.
"It's a privilege to recognize Carlton and his lifetime of achievements with one of the NRAEF's and the industry's highest honors," said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy, NRA and NRAEF. "During his tenure with Coca-Cola and as a member of the NRA and NRAEF boards, Carlton has been steadfastly passionate and committed to improving the industry. He is a tremendous industry advocate, and an exemplary role model within the nation's restaurant and foodservice sector."
Curtis has spent more than four decades with Coca-Cola, while volunteering his time, resources and expertise to restaurant operators and retailers around the globe in an effort to raise the stature of the industry. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the NRAEF, serves on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association (IFA), is the current chair of IFA's Diversity Institute, and is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA). He is an emeritus trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation and is a past president of the University of Georgia's Alumni Association.
Coca-Cola is an integral and long-standing partner of the NRAEF. Coca-Cola has donated nearly $8 million to the NRAEF and NRAEF Foundation over the last decade. This funding has helped fuel educational programming geared towards bolstering the industry's workforce.
"Over the years, Coca-Cola, has been proud to partner with and support the NRAEF and specifically the ProStart program through our community investments," said Carlton Curtis, vice president of industry affairs, The Coca-Cola Company. "We believe it is critically important to inspire, educate and advance the next generation of restaurant and foodservice leaders."
ProStart, is one of the largest industry-supported career technical education programs in the nation. Every year ProStart impacts 118,000 students across 48 states by connecting the industry and the classroom to train students with the skills that help them achieve exciting, rewarding and long-term careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry's service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. In 2015, the restaurant and foodservice industry is projected to comprise 1 million outlets and a workforce of 14 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.
SOURCE National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation