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Tracy Kosbau

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Tracy Kosbau, MBA | Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations


Oct 1, 2018

Wisconsin Restaurant Owner Honored with Ambassador of Hospitality Award

Mark Dougherty from Mark’s East Side in Appleton was selected as the Wisconsin finalist for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award.  Dougherty will be honored at the Wisconsin Restaurant Association board dinner on October 22nd at the Prime Steer Supper Club in Kaukauna.

Sponsored by Ecolab, the Thad and Alice Eure Ambassor of Hospitality Award honors an individual who shows extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry and uses his/her leadership to enhance the stature of the industry through community service and philanthropy. 

Dougherty grew up in the restaurant business working in his parent’s restaurant in Appleton.  He learned to cook alongside his dad and worked as dishwasher, busser and cook. Dougherty took over the restaurant in 1982 after earning a business degree from UW Oshkosh.  He did extensive renovations in 1987 and renamed it Mark’s East Side.  The restaurant, which celebrated 50 years in business last summer, is a popular destination in the Fox Valley area, well known for their German fare and award winning fish fry.

Dougherty is one of the best “ambassadors” the restaurant industry has in Wisconsin.  He served on the Wisconsin Restaurant Association’s board of directors and still is involved as an honorary director.  In 2003, he was Chairman of the Board.  He has played a pivotal role in the success of his local chapter.  He has never been afraid to stand up for his values and beliefs and has shown great integrity.  He was a key supporter of WRA’s position on a statewide smoking ban and was instrumental in helping level the playing field for all operators.  He received an award from the Wisconsin Asthma Coalition for his work on this issue.

Dougherty deftly balances the demands of running a successful business, a full and loving family life, active community involvement and impactful participation with the restaurant association.  He remains committed to improving the industry and his insightful input on many industry issues is often sought-after.  He’s been accurately described as an innovative thinker who has a no-nonsense approach, which is often paired with his trademark sense of humor.

The national winners – chosen from state awardees by a panel of restaurant and foodservice industry leaders from across the country – were honored at a restaurant and foodservice industry gala awards ceremony in Washington, DC in March.  Wisconsin finalists did not win at the national level this year. 

The NRAEF awards program also includes the Restaurant Neighbor Award and the Faces of Diversity American Dream Award.

For more information about the awards, visit the National Restaurant Association’s website at

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation: As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. For more information on the NRAEF, visit

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Since 1933, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association has been dedicated to the promotion, protection and improvement of the foodservice industry.