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October 7, 2015

Don Thompson Stevens Point Restaurateur Owner Honored with Salute to Excellence Award

Don Thompson, owner of the Red Mill Supper Club in Stevens Point, is honored as the ProStart® Mentor of the Year as part of the 2015 Salute to Excellence Awards, presented by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation (WRA Education Foundation). The WRA Education Foundation presents Don Thompson with this award for his commitment to education, the community and the foodservice industry.

Thompson has devoted his time and talents to Wisconsin’s ProStart® program, conducting mock interviews, judging both regional and state FCCLA culinary competitions, and engaging students in the feats and challenges involved in owning and operating a restaurant. ProStart® is a college prep, two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the skills needed for careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. As part of the program, Thompson builds relationships with local high school students competing in the state ProStart® Invitational by assisting in the development of their business plans and providing insight about working in the highly competitive and rewarding restaurant industry. In addition to his time mentoring students, Thompson has spent the last five years on the board of directors for the WRA Wisconsin River Valley Chapter, with two years serving as President.

“Don is a big supporter of local organizations – and particularly our schools,” said Laura Cronan, Nekoosa High School culinary educator. “The success of my culinary program is largely due to his assistance and encouragement.”

Thompson is a respected leader and mentor who is passionate about the restaurant industry and its future growth. With over 14 years of experience, his enthusiasm and dedication to students and his community is visible year after year.

The WRA Education Foundation proudly presents Don Thompson with the 2015 ProStart® Mentor of the Year Award for his compassion for young people and spirit of giving.

Each year, the WRA Education Foundation recognizes individuals in five categories and one company for dedication and commitment to education in the restaurant industry as Salute to Excellence honorees. With an overwhelming response to the program, the WRA Education Foundation has decided to choose seven honorees for this year’s Salute. Other 2015 Salute to Excellence honorees include: Vicki Mendham (Nicolet College, Rhinelander); Michael Tsuchihashi (Atlas BBQ, Grafton); Laura Cronan (Nekoosa High School, Nekoosa); Sally Heuer (West Bend High School, West Bend); David Ross (Lake Lawn Resort, Delavan); and Woolsey and Associates (Waukesha). Each honoree creates opportunities for people interested in foodservice industry careers. They have worked in a variety of roles and 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 2015 Celebration of Excellence on Sunday, October 25 at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center in Downtown Milwaukee. 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 Foundation 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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Wisconsin Restaurant Association • 2801 Fish Hatchery Rd. • Madison, WI 53713 • Tel: 608.270.9950 • Toll Free: 800.589.3211 • FAX: 608.270.9960