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September 22, 2011

FVTC Instructor Honored with Salute to Excellence Award

Chef Gary Lyons from Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) is honored as the college educator recipient for the 2011 Salute to Excellence Awards, presented by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association (WRA) Education Foundation. The College Educator Award is given to Chef Gary Lyons for his dedication to teaching others and for his commitment to the foodservice industry.

Chef Lyons is passionate about culinary education, contributing countless hours to the future of the hospitality industry. He is well-respected by students, colleagues and industry professionals for his enthusiasm and expertise, as he tirelessly gives his time and talents helping students reach their potential.

“It is in his teaching that his passion for the culinary arts shines,” said Joel Stensberg, one of Chef Lyons’ student at FVTC. “This passion is the mark of a great teacher and leader: guiding the student beyond what they thought they could achieve and providing the gentle and not-so-gentle push to get us there.”

Chef Lyons is an inspiring instructor and advisor with an uncanny delivery technique, admired by his peers for his compassion and devotion to students.

“Chef Gary is one of the most caring instructors I know,” said fellow Chef Instructor, Craig C. Hribal. “He never says ‘it cannot be done’ but looks for options to assist in setting and achieving realistic goals for each of our students individually.”

“Chef Lyons’ enthusiasm for education really motivates and inspires students to strive and achieve great things in foodservice and hospitality,” said Susan Quam, Executive Director of the WRA Education Foundation.

In addition to his work at the college, Chef Lyons is also a supporter of WRA, a member and leader in the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – Fox Valley Chapter, and a volunteer for the Foundation’s ProStart® Invitational competition for high school students at the Wisconsin Restaurant Expo.

When asked why education is important to the restaurant industry, Chef Lyons said, “Dedication, hard work and passion are not enough anymore to be successful.” He continued, “Education is the key for an individual to separate themselves as a leader in business and to keep our industry moving forward into the future.”

The WRA Education Foundation proudly presents Chef Gary Lyons with the 2011 Salute to Excellence College Educator Award for his contributions to education, the community and the foodservice industry.

Each year, the Foundation recognizes five individuals and one company for dedication and commitment to education in the restaurant industry as Salute to Excellence honorees. Other 2011 Salute to Excellence honorees include: Barb Bruesewitz (Wauwatosa East High School), Chef Fred Griesbach, CEC, AAC (The Sky Club, Plover), Susan Patterson (Al & Al’s Stein Haus, Sheboygan), Chef Jason Tofte (Eddie Martini’s, Wauwatosa) and Badger Liquor Co., Inc. (Fond du Lac). Each honoree creates opportunities for people interested in foodservice industry careers. They have worked in a variety of roles, in different parts of the state, but they share an enthusiasm and optimism for the future of the restaurant industry.

The Salute to Excellence awards are presented at the 2011 Celebration of Excellence on Sunday, October 9 at the Heidel House Resort in Green Lake. More information on the event is available at www.wirestaurant.org.

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The WRA Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been in existence since 1987 and is one of the nation’s largest state restaurant association foundations. The WRA EF vision is to advance professionalism through education, scholarships and community involvement to ensure the future success of the foodservice industry.

The ProStart® program, administered by National Restaurant Association Solutions, LLC and state restaurant associations, is a college prep, two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry.  Students also have the opportunity to participate in paid internships where industry managers mentor them.

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