Attending the Annual NRA Show – Where Students Meet Superstars

Posted: Wednesday, June 8th 2016 at 3:19 AM

The annual National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show is a 4-day event, this year’s event held from May 21-24, 2016 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. The event showcases restaurant industry superstars and the exhibition floor showcases products such as food service technology, catering paraphernalia, and sustainable products on the leading edge in the restaurant industry. The NRA website sums up the experience well: “In 2016, attendees discovered, learned, connected, inspired, and gained the tools they need to continue to innovate and thrive.” For SHRM students, it is an event that is enriching, but funding the travel can make it prohibitive.

Alum Phil Kafarakis (’82 MGT), chief innovation and member advancement officer for the NRA, provided four students and their faculty member with passes to the show while money from the SHRM student travel fund helped students pay for transportation and lodging. Darwin Mann, lecturer, accompanied Kurt Van Denburg, Anastasia Gannon, Madison Corwin, and Melissa Walker to experience the exciting event.

Students were chosen to attend based on their interest and involvement in SHRM. All of them have proven to be enthusiastic about the restaurant business and cooking.   

Gannon weighed in on her incredible experience.

“It's truly amazing who you can meet there and the possibilities are endless, so many job opportunities and amazing people. I [was able] to be a taste tester alongside a remarkable and well known chef by the name of Carrie Nehabedian and spoke with her about her journey,” she said. “We had an incredible sponsor who gave us the opportunity to meet Robert Irvine and Jon Taffer, two people who I have looked up to in this industry for years. I met them backstage and got advice on how to pursue my baking career which was amazing because now I have another goal to reach.”

Categories: national restaurant association show nra students 2016 summer 2016 phil kafarakis darwin mann kurt van denburg anastasia gannon madison corwin melissa walker