Executive Advisory Board

The Executive Advisory Board is the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management’s principal body serving to provide an external perspective on the School’s objectives. The Executive Advisory Board (formerly known as the Dean’s Advisory Council) is comprised of executive-level alumni and dedicated partners who have a strong desire to support the School’s mission and goals with seasoned experience in the hospitality industry. Board members provide guidance on industry trends, strategic planning, recruitment and placement, and serve as global community ambassadors


Lani Kane-Hanan

Executive Vice President, Resort Development, Revenue & Inventory Management and Product Innovation, Marriott Vacations Worldwide (MVW)

Ms. Kane-Hanan is responsible for all MVW’s Resort Planning, Construction & Development, Inventory and Revenue Management, and Product Innovation activities. Her teams’ efforts support the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, Grand Residences, and Marriott Vacation Club brands worldwide. She serves as an Executive Officer of MVW. Prior to joining MVW in 2000, she was part of the senior leadership team of the real estate consulting practices of Arthur Andersen and Horwath Hospitality in Miami. Ms. Kane-Hanan received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Hospitality Management from Florida International University, where she serves on the Dean’s advisory board. She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), and as the Chairperson of ARDA’s Meetings Committee. She is the co-founder and president of Women In The Industry (“WIN”), a national non-profit organization which advocates, educates and connects women in the vacation industries. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute and serves on the Recreational Development Council. Ms. Kane-Hanan holds memberships in several other professional associations and is a frequent guest speaker for various universities, hospitality conferences and organizations.


President, Titan Group of New York

Norma’s hospitality career began at The Fontainebleau Hilton and then with assignments at The Waldorf-Astoria, New York Hilton, and Washington Hilton. Norma then moved to Boston where she shifted to food & beverage, managing a five-star restaurant in The Hyatt Regency Cambridge. She then accepted the role of Director of Operations for the Castle at Tarrytown, a Relais/Chateaux property. Next, she was recruited by the owners of Blue Hill at Stone Barns for a pre-opening Operations leadership role in their farm-to-table restaurant. As Director of Operations/Owners Representative, she became part of the team that launched this now world-renowned destination. Norma left Blue Hill to open her own all-natural organic cafe, Café Norma. Reviewed by the New York Times as “Excellent,” Café Norma quickly developed an incredibly loyal clientele. Later, while in China for D.C.’s assignment, Norma was recruited to teach at Les Roches Jin Jiang as part of their globally recognized faculty. Returning from Shanghai in 2012, she was retained to project-manage the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Wyndham Orlando Resort. Today, this property is an asset management client of Titan. Subsequently, Norma and Titan were hired by ownership to project-manage the complete renovation of The Shelborne Hotel in South Beach through construction, re-opening, and re-positioning as a Wyndham Grand Resort. Titan and Norma continue to serve The Shelborne today as ownership’s asset managers for the property.

Bruce Blum

Founder and President at Liberty Hotel Advisors, LLC

Mr. Blum offers 30 years’ principal-oriented hotel experience including ten years at The Chartres Lodging Group, LLC, a leading hotel private equity firm that is among the largest US based ownership groups with its portfolio of luxury and upscale hotels throughout the US and Japan. There, as Partner, he was instrumental in its aggressive portfolio growth, capital raising, asset management and advisory activities and served as Managing Partner of Kokua Hospitality, LLC, its property management affiliate. Prior to Chartres Lodging’s formation, he served as CEO of Doral Hotels & Resorts and as President for three years. Mr. Blum graduated from the Florida International University School of Hospitality & Tourism Management with honors; he was awarded the FIU Medallion by its Board of Trustees for exemplary professional and civic endeavors, serves on its Advisory Board and is Task Force Leader, Real Estate Master’s Program Development. He also is a member of the GFI Capital Investment Committee and New York Hospitality Council.

Burt Cabanas

Founder and Chairman of Benchmark Hospitality International

Burt Cabañas is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers. Benchmark Hospitality was launched in 1980 as an independent company and today operates worldwide from offices in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, with regional offices in New Jersey, Washington State and Japan. Prior to establishing Benchmark, Mr. Cabañas served five years as Director of Operations for fifty percent of the wholly-owned properties of the hotel division of The Stouffer Corporation, preceded by six years of service at Doral Hotel and Country Club in Miami where he served as director of operations for three of those years. Mr. Cabañas graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. He also has served as Chairman of the Industry Advisory Board for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at FIU. He received both the Florida International University Torch Award by the Alumni Association and the Medallion Award by the University. He is a founding Board Member and past President of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). Mr. Cabañas also received The Mel Hosansky Distinguished Service Award from the International Association of Conference Centers in recognition of outstanding service to the Association and to the conference center industry.

Regional President – North America, Bacardi

Pete Carr is the Regional President for Bacardi North America Corporation.

In this role, Pete is responsible for all operations in the United States and Canada; and with the recent acquisition of Patrón Spirits, Pete will also manage Patrón in order to seek best practices and drive additional opportunities ahead for a broader integration of the two businesses.

As a Senior Sales and Marketing Executive with extensive international and cross-functional experience, Pete has worked in the spirits, wine, beer and non-alcohol beverage industry for nearly 30 years.

Prior to joining Bacardi in 2014, Pete served as the Executive Vice President for privately held Glazer’s Distributors, one of the country’s largest distributors of wine, spirits and malt beverages. Prior to joining Glazer’s, Pete held various senior management roles with Diageo including President of U.S. Spirits, President of Sales for Diageo-Guinness USA, and President of Control States.

Pete is based in Coral Gables, Florida.

Wayne Chaplin

President and Chief Executive Office, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Wayne E. Chaplin was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1956. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Wayne Chaplin received a law degree from the same institution. Following a period practicing law at a Miami-based firm, he joined Southern in 1984.
As Chaplin prepared himself for a future leadership role in the company, he quickly learned the importance of customer service.
In 1987, Chaplin was appointed to Vice President of Operation. In 1989 he was named first vice president and chief operations officer, overseeing all divisions of the company’s distribution operations.

By 1992, Chaplin was appointed to the Company’s Executive Management Committee and became and office and director at that time. In 1994, he was appointed president and chief operating office and in May 2014, Chaplin was named president and chief executive office of Southern Wine & Spirits of America.

Commenting on three key lessons he learned from his father, Southern Chairman Harvey R. Chaplin, Chaplin said, “First and foremost, the most important thing in business are our people—the professionals we employ. People make an organization what is is and what it can be. This truly resonates with my belief in people and their ambition and commitment to hard work. Second, in business your word is more valuable than anything else you have, and the expression of your work must be your true bond. Finally, never forget your roots. You should never forget where you began so that you treat people and their problems as if they are your own.”

Chaplin adds, “My approach to business has been formulated by working with some extremely talented people who found Southern. Each of them has mentored me on their own special expertise. Individuals like my father, Jay Weiss, Mel Dick, and Herbert Joseph are the executives that have helped me develop the business acumen I have today.”

Looking to the future, Chaplin says,” The challenge is that the ground rules are going to change in the way business is conducted. We want to be on the forefront of those changes.” Equally important to Chaplin is maintaining the company’s tradition of grooming talent and promoting from within. Most of the company’s senior executives and state general managers have been with the Southern Family for 15 to 20 years—most having worked their way up through the organization.

Regarding his day-to-day responsibilities, Chaplin enjoys “working with suppliers to see that their brand building and sales objectives are executed successfully. If we can accomplish these goals, then we can continue expanding our national footprint. In addition, because of our uninterrupted growth, we will continue to take advantage of economies of scale in every area of our operations—enabling us to re-invest the savings into supplier brand building and customer service.”

Beyond his day-to-day corporate responsibilities, Wayne Chaplin is very active, along with his father, Harvey R. Chaplin, in overseeing the wide range of national, state, and local charitable causes the company supports—from education and humanitarian relief activities to numerous corporate social responsibility initiatives hosted across the enterprise. “Since our founding in 1968, Southern has taken a progressive, active, and constructive role in community, state, and national affairs. These are fundamental values for the company. At Southern, we want to give back and we strive every day to be responsible members of the communities in which we live,” said Chaplin.

In addition to Chaplin’s corporate-related philanthropic activities, he volunteers in various leadership activities at the University of Miami. Currently, he serves on the University of Miami’s Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. He also serves as the Chairman and Member of the Executive Committee at the Mount Sinai Hospital of Miami Beach.

To sum up his overall business philosophy, Chaplin says, “Our challenge as the market leader is to identify better ways to be efficient and effective. This will benefit not only Southern, but also our supplier and trading partners.”

President and Chief Operating Officer, Fontainebleau Miami Beach

In his role, Mr. Goldfarb oversees all aspects of the oceanfront resort, with more than 20 acres and over 1,500 rooms and suites. Under his leadership, Fontainebleau launched BleauLive, the hotel’s entertainment platform that merges one-of-a-kind vacation experiences with performances by top musical artists. He has been instrumental in enhancements, including new restaurant concepts and multi-million-dollar renovations of guest room towers. Prior to joining Fontainebleau, Mr. Goldfarb served as President and COO for seven years at Turnberry Associates, and spent the six years prior as President and COO of All Florida Hospitality Management. Mr. Goldfarb previously spent 13 years at Doubletree Hotels Corporation, where he served as General Manager, then as Southeast Regional Director of Operations, overseeing 15 hotels in Atlanta and throughout Florida, and finally as Vice President of Development, responsible for managed and franchised development. Mr. Goldfarb served for over a decade on the Broward County Tourist Development Council, and was awarded with the Distinguished Tourism Trustee Award in 2005. He also played a significant leadership role as Chairman on the Marketing and Advertising Committee. He is a graduate of Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality Management and in May 2014, was appointed Chairmanship of the Hospitality School’s distinguished Board of Directors. Mr. Goldfarb has served as Vice Chair most recently, and on the School’s board for almost a decade. He was awarded the Hospitality school’s “Torchbearer Award” as well as the University’s prestigious “FIU Medallion” in 2007. Mr. Goldfarb is involved with “Best Buddies,” “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” and “The Christopher Reeve Foundation.” In 2012, he was honored by South Florida Business Journal as one of “2012 Power Leaders” and in 2013, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce awarded him its prestigious “Excellence in Tourism Award.” In addition, Haute Living Magazine named Mr. Goldfarb one of the top 100 most influential people in Miami for 2013 and 2014.

Wendy Kallergis

President & CEO, Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association

Wendy Kallergis works closely with various tourism and hospitality partners to continue to grow Miami as a top-tier worldwide travel destination. The GMBHA is a membership-based organization comprised of 160 hoteliers and 300 allied members across Miami-Dade County. The association’s goal is to unify the travel, tourism and hospitality industry with business and government leaders locally, nationally, and internationally in order to enhance the visitor experience through education, advocacy and networking.

Kallergis and her team work closely with the hospitality schools’ internship and training programs to provide jobs locally for graduates. The GMBHA Sustainable Hospitality Council is spearheading best practices in sustainability to include implementing the Florida Green Lodging Program Certification. The GMBHA’s partnership with the National Immigration Forum’s New American Workforce has received national recognition by helping hospitality employees become new American citizens. Kallergis was recognized as a White House Champion of Change October 22nd, 2014 for promoting citizenship in the workplace.

Kallergis was born and raised in Maine and grew up with a love for food and cooking as part of a restaurant family. After earning a B.A. in French Language from George Washington University, she immediately set out to France. There she attended the University of Paris earning a degree in French history, language and art followed by the prestigious Cordon Bleu L’Ecole de Cuisine earning a Diplome French Cuisine. She subsequently concluded her studies at the Modern Gourmet Cooking School in Annecy, France with a Diplome Professional Chef and Diplome Professional Teacher.

Upon returning to the United States, Kallergis continued her career in the culinary arts as a Chef Garde Manger in Restaurant Nora in Washington D.C. then as Executive Chef of Finesse Fine Foods, an off-premise Catering & Prepared Foods Boutique, also in Washington D.C. that catered many events at the Smithsonian and pre-inaugural dinner for Ronald Regan.

Kallergis resides in Coral Gables with her husband, Nick, and 2 children; Nicholas, 26, Assistant City Attorney, City of Miami Beach and Katherine, 23, Reporter, The Real Deal

She serves on the following Board and organizations:

  • Black Hospitality Initiative of Greater Miami Board of Directors
  • Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors
  • FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality Management Industry Advisory Board of Directors
  • Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
  • Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Board of Directors
  • Miami-Dade College Culinary Institute Business Advisory Council
  • Active member of Les Dames d’Escoffier
  • Member International Women’s Forum, Miami Chapter


Harry Keys

Owner & Co-founder, B Cellars Winery

Prior to his role at B Cellars, Mr. Keys had a 20-year stint as a senior-level executive with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, playing a pivotal role in guiding the hotel management company and its branded residential businesses (Four Seasons Residence Clubs and Four Seasons Private Residences). While he served as Senior Vice President, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts experienced tremendous growth and achieved its status as the premier luxury-lodging brand in the world. He oversaw operations, marketing, public relations, and finance for the company’s interest in the U.S., Canada, and the Asia-Pacific region, where he resided for more than six years. Mr. Keys also heads Keys Associates, which he founded in 2003 to provide asset management, development, marketing and related consulting services in hospitality and residential real estate industries, with an emphasis on integrated developments. Mr. Keys holds a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University. He has also studied viticulture and enology through the University of California at Davis.

Jay Litt

President, The Litt Group Capital Project Administration & Consulting

Jay Litt has worked in and operated hotels for over 45 years. Most recently, he was Executive VP of Asset Management for Waramaug Hospitality with a portfolio of over 40 assets. He also oversaw over $100M in renovations. Prior to that, he was the Senior VP and Executive VP of Operations at Wyndham International, as well as the Chief Procurement Officer of Patriot American Hospitality. Additionally, he has served as SVP of Operations at Interstate Hotels & Resorts. His experience in the industry includes all levels of properties from select service inns to luxury hotels. Mr. Litt’s expertise is highlighted in the Scotsman Guide, where he frequently contributes articles and editorials on the current state of hospitality real estate, both nationally and internationally. He provides advisory services to owners and funds including finding opportunities for third party investments. He served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines for several years, and is a proud alumnus of the first graduating class at Florida International University’s School of Hospitality Management.

Paul Livrieri

Executive Vice President of Operations, Cheddars

Paul Livrieri oversees 485 restaurants operating in 41 states as the leader of the operations team at LongHorn Steakhouse. Mr. Livrieri has worked in the restaurant industry for 30 years – 21 of those with the LongHorn team as Restaurant Manager, Managing Partner, Director and Senior Vice President of Operations. Prior to joining Long­ Horn, he spent five years on the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Food & Beverage team as a multi-unit Operations Leader. He received an AS. in Hotel and Restaurant management from Paul Smith’s College in 1982, and a B.S. in Hospitality Management from Florida International University.

Senior Vice President, Operations & Learning, Loews Hotels

Jenny Lucas started working in hotels when studying Hotel & Restaurant Management at James Madison University. Having traveled extensively while growing up overseas, the hospitality industry seemed like a logical way to turn a personal hobby into a lifetime career. After college she joined Stouffer Hotels & Resorts as a Management Trainee and continued with Stouffer through the transition to Renaissance Hotels & Resorts. In 1997 she joined Loews Hotels as Director of Restaurants at the Loews L’Enfent Plaza Hotel in Washington DC.

Through her roles in Food & Beverage she had unique experiences focused on training including both relaunching and opening new restaurants and hotels. After 8 years in Food & Beverage management, having found a new passion, Jenny jumped at the opportunity to shape and develop a new position in the role of Regional Director of Training for Loews Hotels for the DC/Annapolis area. In 2002 she moved to Loews Hotels’ corporate headquarters in Manhattan when promoted to Manager of Education and Career Development, and in 2007 she assumed oversight of the department. In 2013, Jenny assumed her current role leveraging her roots in hotel operations with the expertise in training as Senior Vice President of Operations & learning.


John McKibbon

Chairman, McKibbon Hotel Group Hotel Management

John McKibbon has worked in the hospitality industry since he was a teenager and is the third generation to run McKibbon Hotel Group. He became President in 1992 and began expanding through development with Marriott, Hilton and Starwood. Mr. McKibbon is a past President of the Courtyard by Marriott Franchise Council and the Residence Inn by Marriott Association. He was honored by his alma mater, Florida International University, in 2009 with the FIU Medallion for Outstanding Alumnus. He serves on various community boards in Tampa, Florida, including Metropolitan Ministries and Florida Health Sciences Center, Inc.

Chief Human Resources Officer, Carnival Corporation & PLC

Jerry joined Carnival Corporation & plc in March of 2011, as Chief Human Resources Officer.  In this capacity, he reports to the CEO and is responsible for supporting the more than 120,000 employees and crew members across Carnival Corporation & plc’s worldwide organization, which includes offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Prior to joining Carnival, Montgomery was the president and founder of the Orlando Strategy Group, a consulting firm focused on labor relations, human resources, corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs. Prior to founding the Orlando Strategy Group, Montgomery served The Walt Disney Company throughout a 30 year career in progressive Human Resources, Public Affairs, and Corporate Social Responsibility roles.

He is an active volunteer and community contributor and served as the vice chairman of the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District, appointed by Governor Charlie Crist.  He presently is the Chairman of the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and is also on the Board of Advisors for the Biltmore Company in Asheville, North Carolina.

He graduated from Harvard with his Bachelors of Arts degree, and earned a Masters of Business Administration from the Crummer School of Business at Rollins College.

Ed Mugnani

President, Western Division, Eurest Dining

Ed Mugnani oversees a mix of Business & Industry Dining including Financial Institutions, Oil & Gas, Technology, Startups, Manufacturing, Entertainment and Retail operations. Mr. Mugnani has been in the food dining restaurants, fast casual restaurants, off-premise catering and retail operations, in addition to his current role as President, since joining Eurest in 2003. He received an A.S. in Hotel/Food & Beverage Management from Johnson & Wales University and a B.S. in Hospitality Management from Florida International University. He is a member of the Society for Foodservice Management and is active in numerous charities.


Sergio Rivera

Director of ILG and President and CEO of the Vacation Ownership Segment

Sergio “Serge” Rivera joined the ILG board of directors in 2016. He was most recently President of The Americas for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, with responsibility for the performance and growth of Starwood’s brands and businesses in North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Polynesia. He previously served as President and CEO of Starwood Vacation Ownership (now Vistana Signature Experiences), and has more than 25 years’ experience in real estate development and finance, design, operations, consumer marketing and sales, and brand development. Mr. Rivera is currently a director of Welltower, Inc., a NYSE-listed REIT that invests with leading operators in seniors housing, post-acute providers, and health systems. He is also a member of the Urban Land Institute, a trustee of The Nature Conservancy Florida Chapter, a member of the Advisory Board of the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management, and a member of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management Dean’s Advisory Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in business administration from Florida International University.

Ragold Inc. Information

Rainer Schindler has been an active sales, marketing and general management executive for a number of German companies. With focus on supplements and food, his primary activities have been business-to-business and business-to-consumer. With many years in the Private Label and Consumer Goods Industry, he is engaged in defining new paths to success.

Prior to supporting global German companies, he worked for IFP, a leader in agglomeration and encapsulation processes. He also worked for Nutrilo USA, owned by the largest chicken processing company in Germany, in the role of sales, marketing and tradeshow management. While working with the company he established new processing technologies and packaging capabilities, as well as help execute SQF certification.

Before Nutrilo, Rainer ran Hedenkamp USA, a start-up that generated sales of $4M within three years.

Rainer was born in Germany, speaks 3 languages, married and has a daughter. He earned his Masters of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from FIU.

Bill Talbert

President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

William D. Talbert, III, CDME has served as President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) for the past sixteen years and Chief Operating Officer for the prior nine years. His major accomplishments include assisting with the passage of the Travel Promotion Act of 2010; negotiating inter-local government funding agreements; preparing four successful Super Bowl bids and three Pow Wow bids. Under Talbert’s leadership, the GMCVB was awarded the prestigious accreditation from the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program in November 2007.

In May 2013, Talbert was named to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board which serves the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States.

Currently, he is a member of the Board of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA); an Advisory Board member of Brand USA; a re-appointed member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of VISIT FLORIDA, its Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair.

Talbert’s professional affiliations include having served as past Chair of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Board of Directors, past Chair of the DMAI Foundation Board of Trustees, and past Chair of the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (FADMO).

Talbert holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University and bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. In 2006, he earned the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation – the highest educational achievement in the destination marketing industry.

Senior Vice President, Office of Strategic Management, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Stephen Von Oehsen joined Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) in 2005 in Miami as Vice President-Strategy & Business Development. In 2009, he was promoted to Senior Vice President-Strategy & Business Development. With the combination of Southern and Glazer’s in 2016, Stephen was appointed Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits (Southern Glazer’s) Senior Vice President, Office of Strategic Management (OSM).

Stephen’s current responsibilities include charting the strategic course of the company, pursuing business development opportunities through expanded supplier and customer relationships (with over $2 billion in incremental revenue growth due to these activities in 2016-18 alone), and managing and supporting strategic initiatives (with his internal OSM consulting team of 15) for improved business process efficiency and effectiveness.

Before joining Southern, Stephen held several positions in the public and private sectors, including principal at A.T. Kearney, Inc. (Chicago), manager at CSC Index management consultants (Chicago), executive director for the Society for International Development-Washington, DC, and legislative assistant to US Representative Robert G. Torricelli (Washington, DC).

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Dartmouth College; a Master of Science degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science at the University of London; and a Master of Business Administration from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Stephen also has completed his Master Sommelier Level 1 certification and Southern Glazer’s Preeminent Leadership Program at Harvard Business School.

Born and raised in the State of New York, Stephen is married to Cynthia Mickelson and the proud father to Stender, Evan and Lucas. In his spare time, he serves on charitable boards and committees, enjoys pairing wines with his culinary creations, is a public policy “wonk”, raises orchids and bonsai trees, and collects air mail stamps and associated ephemera.

President, Dining Division, Paradies Lagardère

Regynald G. Washington is a Morgan Stanley Private Equity portfolio CEO, member of the Morgan Stanley Private Equity/Hojeij Branded Foods board and equity partner. Washington has risen within the ranks of the restaurant business to become a highly respected, high-profile industry leader. 

Washington was most recently world-wide vice president of food and beverage for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts (Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Hong Kong, Disneyland Tokyo, Disneyland Paris, Disney Cruise Line). He also oversaw the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the United States. 

Washington has occupied significant industry leadership positions, notably as a member of the board of directors and elected chairman of the board of the National Restaurant Association, whose membership includes 878,000 restaurant and food service outlets.

He currently leads Hojeij Branded Foods (HBF), an Atlanta-based restaurant company operating 120 restaurants in 38 airports in the United States and Canada with revenue in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars. HBF has more than 45 popular and widely recognized brands in its portfolio, including P.F. Chang’s, Vino Volo Wine Bars (50 locations), LongHorn Steakhouse, Celebrity Chef Cat Cora’s Kitchen, Gordon Biersch, Plum Market, Potbelly and Margaritaville, just to name a few.

Washington is a graduate of FIU with a bachelor’s in international hotel and restaurant administration. Honored with the Outstanding Achievement Torch Award in 2006, he is a member of the dean’s advisory board at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. In 1999, he was named one of Top 50 TasteMakers in the restaurant industry in America by Nation’s Restaurant News. 

In 2015, Georgia State University’s Cecil B. Day Hospitality School named their master’s program The Regynald G. Washington Master of Global Hospitality and Management Program.