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Jan 20, 2014 12:43 PM by MELISSA CANONE

LRA Board of Directors Elects 10 New Members, New Chair BeginsTenure

The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Board of Directors recently elected 10 new members, with their terms beginning in 2014. The new board members helm from all across the state and represent all facets of LRA membership, from restaurant to service provider. They are:

Randy Barrios- Director of Restaurant Operations, Fremin's Restaurant and Flanagan's Creative Food & Drink in Thibodaux

Jim Besselman- President/Owner, Ernst Café and The Chicory in New Orleans

Keith Bond- President/Owner, Mel's Diner Part II and Vice President, Mel's Diner in Lafayette

Octavio Mantilla- Co-owner/Operator, Besh Restaurant Group in New Orleans

David Merchant- President/Owner, BJ's Pizza in Alexandria

Emily Murrell-Gates- General Manager, Monjunis in Shreveport

Tommy Nicholas- Owner, Nicholas Catering and Swamp Shack in Thibodaux

John O'Meara- General Manager, Petroleum Club in Lafayette

Peter Sclafani- Chef/Owner, Ruffino's Restaurant in Baton Rouge and Ruffino's on the River in Lafayette

Tammy Smitherman- Division Manager, Heartland Payment Systems in Baton Rouge

"The LRA is fortunate to be able to welcome so many esteemed members of the restaurant and supplier communities to the LRA's Board of Directors," said LRA President & CEO Stan Harris. "Their expertise and commitment to the industry will be a prized asset in our governance."

Also taking on a new role at the start of the year is 2014 LRA Chair Bruce Attinger. Attinger is a Joint Venture Partner in Outback Steakhouse; he oversees eight locations in Louisiana and Arkansas, with more than 600 employees. Attinger has served as President of the LRA Greater Baton Rouge Chapter, serves on the LRA Education Foundation and received the LRA's most prestigious honor-Restaurateur of the Year-in 2006.

In his capacity as LRA Chair, Attinger will serve as the ambassador of Louisiana's world-renowned restaurant industry. He will also travel the state meeting with all nine chapters throughout the year and foster the success of one of the state's largest business trade associations.

"Bruce's experience in managing multiple locations and hundreds of employees will be a valuable skill set to share with LRA members during his year-long tenure," said Harris. "It will no doubt be a great service to our association as he travels the state.

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