www.southwestfoodservice.com | December 2022 - January 2023

Leader in Fundraising Becomes Head of TRAEF

The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) just announced the appointment of David Hester to Director, Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF). TRA represents the state's $70 billion restaurant industry with more than 50,000 locations and 1.4 million jobs across the state. The TRAEF is the workforce arm of the association and includes educational programming, the ProStart program, and the newly created TX Restaurant Relief Fund. Hester brings with him a long and successful career in the foodservice industry, including as the previous Executive Director for the Wyoming Restaurant and Lodging Association Education Foundation.

David Hester, Director, Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation

Hester has a deep passion for working with students and educators in the ProStart program and is keenly aware of the workforce challenges that the restaurant industry faces in Texas. While leading the TRAEF he will work with state and federal governments to establish job training and development programs and secure investment for our high school program, ProStart. Dave will also ensure the TX Restaurant Relief Fund, created in the pandemic to support independent restaurants, continues to grow and provide critical funding assistance needed to remain operational.

"I am honored to welcome Dave Hester to our organization and know that his deep background in grants, contracts, fundraising, and education will make an immediate and important difference as we begin to rebuild the restaurant and foodservice industry across Texas," said Dr. Emily Williams Knight, President and CEO of TRA. "With a need for more than 300,000 additional employees over the next several years, this is a great time for our foundation and Dave is the right person to lead us forward."

"This is an exciting opportunity to lead the TRAEF as we move out of the pandemic which has had such an impact on the restaurant industry in Texas, I fully believe in the saying that from great hardship, great opportunity exists. The TRAEF will work to provide support for our restaurants, and educational opportunities to their workforce," said Hester.

Prior to joining the TRAEF, Hester worked as the Director of Grants Compliance for the Tarrant County College District where he provided compliance for more than $20 million in current grants including 2019 CARES Act funding. He also developed and received several grant awards from the Department of Labor, American Association of Community Colleges, National Endowment for the Arts, American Library Association, and the Department of Education.

Hester also served as Executive Director of the Northwest ISD Education Foundation in North Central Texas. While there, he increased fundraising by 65% and created and executed fundraising events including galas, golf tournaments, and fundraising luncheons. The Foundation provided yearly grants to educators in excess of $500,000 and more than $250,000 in scholarships to students during his tenure.

Hester is the father of two and he and his wife can often be found at ice hockey rinks across North Texas as both his son and daughter play hockey with the Dallas Stars Metro Hockey League and Dallas Stars Elite Development Program.

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