The new slate of Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) leaders, led by Mark Davis Bailey, President/CEO of the Original Pancake House in Dallas took office at the annual meeting of TRA Marketplace, July 9-10 in Dallas. David Cea, co-owner of Orlando's Italian Restaurant and CapRock Cafe in Lubbock was sworn in as incoming Chairman of the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF).
Mark has been a longtime, active member of the Texas Restaurant Association, serving two terms as President of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association (GDRA). He is a Leadership TRA graduate, Stagen ILP graduate, Conscious Capitalism member and recipient of the Outstanding Young Men of America award. He often speaks to youth, high schools, universities, restaurateur groups and others. He is well-known throughout the industry, and his writings on the restaurant business have been published in state, local and national media.
Serving as officers along with Bailey are president-elect Jimmy Hasslocher, Frontier Enterprises/Jim’s Restaurants, San Antonio; vice-president John Gessner, Front Burner Restaurants, Dallas; immediate past president, Tap Bentz, Outback Steakhouse, College Station and secretary-treasurer Gary Johnson, Magic Time Machine, San Antonio.
TRA officers have a busy year ahead, with 23 local chapters and more than 6,600 active restaurant and allied members, in addition to the TRA Education Foundation, which oversees the 248 Texas ProStart programs throughout the state.
"It’s an exciting time to be involved with TRA,” Mark says, “Industry challenges abound, yet our current leadership is among the best we’ve ever seen. I’m honored to work with this caliber of talent, and look forward to fulfilling our mission of being an indispensable resource to Texas restaurants.”
For the TRAEF, it is an exciting time with the addition of David Cea. As an active member of the Texas Restaurant Association board for more than 30 years, he has served as both a state director and three-time president of the Lubbock Chapter (as well as holding all other offices at one point in time or another) and remains on the Lubbock Restaurant Association Board of Directors. He has also served on the TRA/EF Executive Committee and Chairman of the TRA/EF Workforce Committee, as well as numerous gala, fundraising and scholarship committees. In 2015, he received the TRA’s Hall of Honor award, the highest honor that the Association can bestow.
His involvement with the TRAEF began five years ago, and he has since been a vocal and enthusiastic advocate of TRAEF and Texas ProStart, a school-based program of TRAEF that prepares students for careers in the culinary and hospitality industries. Since his involvement in TRAEF, he personally met with Lubbock ISD teachers and administrators, ultimately resulting in many of the Lubbock high schools becoming Texas ProStart schools.
"It is my honor to serve as Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation chairman for the next twelve months,” said Cea. “The TRAEF and Texas ProStart are close to my heart, and I plan to continue the incredible work of my predecessors, and build upon their achievements. We want to educate not only our current students, but those who are already working in the industry about various career and educational opportunities.”
Overall, the Texas restaurant industry has steadily grown over the last few years and now represents 10% of employment in Texas, and that figure is expected to reach 16.3% by 2027. Projected sales for 2017 are upwards of $54 billion.
“The restaurant industry in Texas is booming right now,” says Richie Jackson, TRA CEO. “It provides 1.2 million jobs, by more than 43,000 employers. To manage and continue that growth, it is more important than ever that we provide restauranteurs the tools they need. We are very fortunate to have an incredibly diverse and experienced board with a wealth of industry knowledge. They are forward-thinking, creative and bring a fresh, dynamic perspective to the table, especially as the technology continues to change the business landscape.”