The Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association has announced its 2013 Hall of Fame class and award winners. Honorees include the organization's retiring chief executive officer, the owner of central Indiana-based Cunningham Restaurant Group and the chef emeritus of Purdue University's Hospitality and Tourism Management program. October 1, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (InRLA) recognized the dedication and contributions made by its members during its biennial 2013 Gala. The awards celebrate leaders and innovators in the restaurant and lodging industry in Indiana. Members were also inducted into the Hall of Fame, which recognizes individuals who have left his/her mark on the industry with long-standing careers and service in the industry and contributions to his/her communities. During this event, InRLA also gave recently retired president and CEO John Livengood a special tribute.

“The achievements of these individuals showcase their dynamic contributions in elevating the hospitality industry in Indiana,” said Patrick Tamm, president and CEO.

Winners include:

Culinarian of the Year: Steve Oakley

Oakley was honored for his inspiration and creativity with food while giving guests extraordinary experiences. As a local business owner, he gives back to the community through classes for kids on manners and what it's like to work in a restaurant. He partners with a local school to give families in need a home cooked dinner.

Restaurateur of the Year: Mike Cunningham, Cunningham Restaurant Group

Cunningham was awarded based on his ability to overcome the odds of being a successful independent restaurateur with hard work, experience and reliable business partners. He began his restaurant career at the age of 14 in Cincinnati until he was transferred to Indianapolis at age 21, when he helped open Sahm's Restaurant. During this time, he learned the details of running an independent restaurant preparing to one day open his own full service eatery. His portfolio now has 12 restaurants including Boulder Creek Dining, Stone Creek Dining, Mesh and Bru Burger.

Select Service Hotelier of the Year: Kelly Eldridge, Hampton Inn Northwest

Eldridge was credited for working hard to achieve results and has one of the lowest turnover rates within the company and continued growth in the RevPar index. Her leadership extends to community outreach through volunteering with Big Brothers & Sisters, the local missions and Gleaners food bank.

Full Service Hotelier of the Year: David Dunn, Dunn Hospitality Group

Dunn was recognized for providing personal touches to exceed guests' expectations, maintain high-quality hotels and treat associates as they are expected to treat guests. His expertise and services include hotel management operations, project development, consulting, sales and marketing in addition to design and construction services.

Partners of the Year: Shelley Hendricks from Moore Restoration and Michael Crafton from 360 Services

Hendricks and Crafton were selected as two people who tirelessly stepped forward to volunteer their time whenever needed and served on committees for every event hosted by InRLA.

Hall of Fame Inductees include:

Hubert Schmeider

Schmieder, now retired, is Chef Emeritus for Purdue University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program. He has served as a spokesman for the promotion of ostrich meat as a dining option. Schmieder recently received the American Culinary Foundation Presidential Medallion.

Edmond Gass

Gass served as the executive chef of the famed King Cole restaurant and has continued to reside in Indiana following his retirement.

JJ Jungbauer

Jungbauer has continued to treat guests to a variety of pastries for the last 43 years at the Heidelburg Haus. Governor Mitch Daniels named him a Distinguished Hoosier.

Gary Miller

Miller worked for the Department of Natural Resources for more than 30 years and was involved in several projects, programs and initiatives – including leading the Indiana State Park Inns. Under his leadership it has become the fourth largest state park lodging system with the highest occupancy rate of any state park inn system in the country. Gary passed away this year but his legacy will continue to live on.

George Brinkmoeller

Brinkmoeller represented the interests of the smaller hotel properties in Indiana. Even though being in charge of the Sherman House operation was just one of his many duties with Hillenbrand, his love for the hospitality industry allowed him to serve as an InRLA volunteer for many years.

John Livengood

For 23 years, Livengood served as the president and CEO of the entities that became InRLA at the beginning of 2013. During his tenure, John was instrumental in the passage of legislation that created Brew Pubs in Indiana, repealed the sales tax on complimentary hotel rooms and fought for the expansion of the Convention Center. He has served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism and also spearheaded the creation of the Tourism Council and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. John was awarded the 2013 Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award which recognizes leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to tourism and business development and service to community. Livengood officially retired at the end of August but will work with InRLA on a consultation basis.

The Indiana Restaurant Association and Indiana Hotel & Lodging Association merged to form the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association in January of this year. The Association represents an industry that provides nearly 15 percent of the total employment in the state of Indiana. As part of the transition newly appointed president and CEO Patrick Tamm formed Tamm Capital Group to represent InRLA.

About InRLA

The Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association serves restaurants, hotels and industry-related service companies in Indiana. Represented by Tamm Capital Group, the Association works to protect, educate and promote the Indiana foodservice and hospitality industry. For more information, visit

Source: The Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association

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