Texas Border Business
By Roberto Hugo González
McAllen, TX— Salome on Main opened its doors to a significant gathering, hosting the President’s Dinner for the Texas Restaurant Association’s (TRA) Legislative Wins. The event was a celebration, a deep reflection on industry achievements, an insightful discussion on prevailing trends, and a collaborative gathering for enhancing association membership.
The atmosphere was charged with unity and collective strength, with attendees from various corners of the industry coming together under the TRA’s banner. The core message of the evening was clear—stepping into a role within the organization, possibly even as a board member, is a pathway for those wishing to voice their concerns and influence the industry’s future.
The 88th Texas Legislative Session in 2023 saw the TRA working bipartisan, collaboratively, achieving over 70 legislative wins in approximately 70 days. This remarkable feat underscores the session as one of the industry’s most successful, marking a significant milestone for all TRA members.
Russell Woodward, from Austin, Texas, and serving as the chairman of the Texas Restaurant Foundation, addressed the gathering with heartfelt reflections on beginnings and foundations. Woodward’s role sees him traveling and collaborating with industry counterparts across the state, striving to work as the workforce and development arm for the TRA. The foundation’s mission is to provide scholarships and opportunities for individuals entering and remaining in the workforce across diverse areas.
Woodward highlighted the success of programs like ProStart, a curriculum aimed at building relationships with students and integrating them into the workforce. The program has expanded to over 200 schools across the state, with students actively participating in competitions and learning about the restaurant industry’s multifaceted nature.
Woodward shared a personal anecdote, reminiscing about his roots in McAllen and emphasizing the importance of remembering beginnings to gain perspective on current achievements. This narrative tied seamlessly with the foundation’s goal of nurturing talents and helping them grow within the restaurant industry.
Beyond ProStart, the foundation is actively working on diversifying its programs, including ventures into barbecue and other culinary areas, to attract more students. These initiatives are designed to offer insights into the diverse opportunities available within the restaurant industry.
He said that Heather Pickett, the new executive director of the foundation, was commended for her outstanding efforts in advancing workforce-related projects. The foundation is collaborating with various groups, offering grants and other resources, to facilitate individuals’ entry into the industry and foster their growth.
Woodward expressed his gratitude towards the organizers, sponsors, and all distinguished guests present at the event, emphasizing the importance of coming together and working towards common goals. The foundation continues its efforts to educate, support, and cultivate the restaurant industry’s future talents, ensuring a robust and thriving future for all.
The President’s Dinner at Salome on Main was not just an evening of reflection on the TRA’s legislative triumphs but a celebration of foundations and beginnings. It served as a reminder of the significance of unity, the importance of remembering our roots, and the collective effort required to foster growth and development in the Texas restaurant industry.