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New officers, board members elected to North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association

Tuesday, February 7, 2017  
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The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) on Feb. 7 announced the election of officers to its Board of Directors as well as the election of new directors who will serve the association in 2017.

“Our board members’ collective expertise and guidance is instrumental as we work to strengthen North Carolina’s $22 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry,” said Lynn Minges, President and CEO of NCRLA.


“Our industry faces many challenges and we are especially fortunate this year to be led by lodging veteran Mike Martino of the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center in Durham. His love for the industry, paired with his innovative and engaging spirit, is exactly the type of leadership qualities this industry needs.”

The NCRLA board consists of up to 25 directors, representing restaurants, lodging properties and allied partners. These volunteer leaders provide strategic guidance to NCRLA in its efforts to advance and protect North Carolina’s hospitality industry. The 2017 officers are:

Chair: Michael “Mike” Martino is General Manager of the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center in Durham and Vice President of Davidson & Jones Hotel Corporation. Mike’s career at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center has spanned three decades with close to 20 years as the destination’s general manager. Prior to his leadership in the Triangle, Mike served as General Manager for Sheraton’s hotels in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Shreveport, Louisiana and as an executive for American Airlines and auditor for Coopers Lybrand. He has also been a member of the North Carolina Hospitality Education Foundation Board of Trustees, NCRLA’s philanthropic arm, since 2011.
Mike’s community leadership includes:

• International Council Chairman for Sheraton franchises
• President of the Shreveport, LA, and Triangle Area Hotel Associations
• Founding member of the Durham Careers in Hospitality Program
• Board Member of the NC Central University Hospitality Program
• Board Member of the ECU Hospitality Program

Mike has been a member of the NCRLA Board of Directors since 2012.

Chair-Elect: Billy Sewell is President of Platinum Corral, a multi-state Golden Corral franchisee based in Jacksonville, N.C. Billy started with Golden Corral in 1989 as an Associate Manager; then worked his way up before becoming a franchisee in 1996. He serves on several Golden Corral franchisee councils and committees. He was named the NCRLA North Carolina Restaurateur of the Year in 2008, and he became a National Restaurant Association Board Member in 2009. His passion for excellence and attention to detail is the driving force of Platinum Corral. Billy has a Business degree from Campbell University. Billy has served multiple terms on the NCRLA Board of Directors. His most recent term began in 2015.

Treasurer: Vinay Patel serves as the President & CEO for SREE Hotels, which owns and manages more than 30 hotels in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. Vinay is responsible for day-to-day operations and sales for the portfolio. He was Vice President for Microtel Inn & Suites prior to joining SREE Hotels. This included tracking performances, customer satisfaction and different brand specific sales results. Vinay had also worked with Marketing for Knights Franchise Systems as Vice President, involving himself in the creation of the Knights Inn Co-Operative Council (KICC) which was a regional marketing and training program. Studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Vinay received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics.

Vinay’s professional affiliations include:
• American Hotel & Lodging Association ( AH&LA) – Board of Directors – North Carolina Representative
• Residence Inn by Marriott Franchise Advisory Committee (TRIA) – Elected Member
• Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) – Board of Directors, Vice Chair FY2011, Chairman FY2012
• Charlotte Chamber – Board of Advisors
• Lake Norman CVB – Board of Directors
• Cabarrus County CVB – Board of Directors

Vinay has been a member of the NCRLA Board of Directors since 2007.

Secretary: Steve Thanhauser is Co-Owner and Chairman of The Angus Barn, Ltd. Steve co-owns the business along with his wife, Van Eure, daughter of original owners Thad and Alice Eure. Steve pursued his graduate degree in hotel and restaurant hospitality from Virginia Tech before moving to Raleigh to found a nightclub and an advertising firm. Steve has been a member of the NCRLA Board of Directors since 2014.

In addition, Burney Jennings, CEO of Greensboro-based Biscuitville, was elected to the board.

The following board members will return as part of the 2017 Board of Directors:
• Scott Brewton, Senior VP and General Manager, Pinehurst Resort & Spa
• Phil Friedman, CEO, Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina
• Gary Froeba, Managing Director, The Omni Grove Park Inn
• Bill Gant, Vice President of Operations, Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company
• Joel Griffin, Principal, Griffin Stafford Hospitality
• Peter Grills, General Manager, The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge
• Alan Hilton, Vice President, Eastern Division, S&D Coffee, Inc.
• Randy Kolls, General Manager/Partner, Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club
• Scott Maitland, Founder, Top of the Hill Restaurant, Brewery & Distillery
• Amber Moshakos, VP of Corporate Affairs, LM Restaurants
• Nishith “Nish” Patel, President, Beacon IMG, Inc.
• Robert M. O’Halloran, Professor, School of Hospitality Leadership, East Carolina University
• Rashmikant “Haji” Patel, President, Krishan Hospitality/Ocean Beach Inn
• Tom Sasser, President, Harper’s Restaurant
• Charles Thompson, General Manager, The Inn on Biltmore Estate
• Lance Trenary, President & CEO, Golden Corral Corporation
• Sterling F. Webster IV, Managing Partner, Hilton Garden Inn OBX & Ramada Plaza OBX
• Crissy Wright, General Manager, Charlotte Marriott City Center

For more information about the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, visit

Established in 1947, the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) works to advance and protect North Carolina’s $22 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry. The association provides access to the resources and support restaurant and lodging professionals need to lead thriving businesses, while serving as conscientious, contributing members of an unparalleled industry. To learn more information about NCRLA or its membership opportunities and cost-saving benefits, please visit

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Media Contact:
Jen Caro
Largemouth Communications (on behalf of NCRLA)

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