Thursday, July 23, 2015

ORLA to Welcome Change in Leadership

Jason Brandt
After a 32 year career in association management, and a terrific experience it has been by the way, I will be retiring in October. The decision to do so was made after a great deal of thought as I truly enjoy my job. It is an honor to represent ORLA’s members as I very much admire their passion for the industry, the jobs that they produce and the communities that they positively affect every day. Working to protect their rights, represent their positions on issues, provide them with needed information and educate their workforces made every work day something I looked forward to with enthusiasm. That is a gift that many don’t receive in life and one I value greatly.

However, there does come a time when you know it is time to move on to another chapter in your life. That time arrived for me last year. I came to grips with the fact that the energy level I’d always tapped to meet all my work obligations was much lower that it had been. I finally decided, or more truthfully knew, that it was time for ORLA to have a new CEO to lead the association in the challenging and changing times ahead.

So, working with ORLA’s Executive Committee, we developed a succession plan last summer. That plan laid out the search process, the type of person the board wanted to replace me with, and a timeframe for getting all of this done and the replacement hired. The search began in September of last year and culminated in the selection and hiring of my replacement in February of this year. A contract has been signed and your new CEO will start his new career on August 10, 2015.

Your new leader will be Jason Brandt who is currently the CEO of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. Jason has worked for the Salem Chamber the past 11 years beginning immediately after graduating from Pacific Lutheran University. Jason grew up in Salem and lives there now with his wife Natalie and their two daughters. He has served as CEO of the Salem Chamber for over four years and is a leader in the chamber world in Oregon and the Western region of the country. He brings with him a thorough understanding of association management principles and law, nearly five years of association management experience, experience in the government affairs arena both at the state and local level, and an enthusiastic, people-oriented can-do attitude that will mean great things for Oregon’s hospitality industry.

I’ll be working with Jason getting him familiarized with all things ORLA through September. You might watch for us as I’m sure we’ll be traveling about the state introducing Jason to ORLA’s thousands of members (see ORLA Convention). Serving as CEO of the association is a demanding job and Jason’s skill set will serve him in good stead as he moves into his new position.

I can’t tell you what a joy and honor it has been to be allowed to lead the association. I know what a great job the ORLA team does every day representing your interests. The ever-changing, challenging times the industry has been through have certainly left you with an experienced team of professionals who know how to produce results. That will serve you and Jason with excellence in the years to come. You’re sure to see new ideas, innovative solutions and a fresh, new look at industry challenges from Jason – all good things that are healthy for ORLA. If you’re not already a member, please consider joining ORLA and supporting what will be another great era in ORLA’s long and distinguished history of representing the industry’s interests. Jason and your business need and deserve that support and participation. | Steve McCoid, President & CEO

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Restaurant Neighbor Award Winners To Be Recognized for Community Engagement

Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) announced the state winners of the acclaimed National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) Restaurant Neighbor Award. The national winners were chosen in early February from state awardees by a panel of restaurant and foodservice industry leaders from across the country. Oregon finalists were then considered among all other state winners for a national award of $5,000 at the gala awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 2015.

The Restaurant Neighbor Award, developed in partnership with American Express, celebrates the outstanding charitable service performed by restaurant operators throughout the U.S. With nine in 10 restaurants involved in community service, this award recognizes the impact restaurants and entrepreneurs have made on their local communities.

“The involvement and dedication these restaurants have shown in support of local charitable programs is commendable and exemplifies the spirit of our industry and our state,” said Steve McCoid, ORLA President & CEO.

The 2015 Restaurant Neighbor Award winners from Oregon are:

Beau Delicious International, LLC dba Café Yumm!, Eugene
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon
Cattlemen’s Saloon, Rogue River
Po’Shines, Portland

Award recipients will be recognized among their peers at the Hospitality Industry Awards Dinner, October 4, 2015, during ORLA’s Convention in Bend, Oregon. A complete list of Oregon’s hospitality industry awards can be found at For more information on ORLA’s Convention, visit or call 800.462.0619.