"As we conducted a nationwide search for this vital position, we looked for an individual with comprehensive government relations experience, and a background and firm grounding in successful trade association management. John was the natural choice," said Steven C. Anderson, president and ceo. "With more than 20 years of government relations experience, he has a sterling reputation not only within the restaurant industry, but among key opinion leaders from Capitol Hill to the White House.
"John will be an absolutely sensational addition to our staff team, particularly with his existing relationships with our staff, members and state restaurant association partners through his current and previous positions. Additionally, he already has a firm grasp and knowledge of many of the federal and state issues that impact our diverse industry, including immigration reform, minimum wage, class-action lawsuit reform, tax initiatives, healthcare, nutrition, tourism and others," said Anderson.
Over the last eight years, Gay has served in senior government relations positions at the International Franchise Association (IFA) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA). In his current position of vice president, government affairs, at IFA, he has worked very closely with many joint National Restaurant Association/International Franchise Association members on issues of mutual concern and interest to the two organizations. In his previous position as vice president of government affairs at AHLA, Gay worked with all of the state restaurant association partners who represent not only the restaurant industry, but also the lodging industry.
Prior to joining AHLA, Gay served on the corporate side of government relations, serving for a decade in the Office of Federal Services at Arthur Andersen, where he was responsible for international trade and investment issues. In addition, he worked on the staff of former U.S. Senator Mack Mattingly (R-GA) during the mid-1980s.
Gay, a graduate of the University of Virginia, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in American Government and minor in Spanish. Originally from Atlanta, GA, Gay currently resides in Arlington, VA, with his wife and two children.