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Doug Brooks and Joseph A. McInerney to be Inducted into the Hospitality Hall
of Honor at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant
Management at the University of Houston

Leaders of Brinker International and AH&LA are the 2010 Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor Inductees

HOUSTON, August 16, 2010 — Two hospitality-industry visionaries, including the head of one of the world’s most popular casual-dining companies and the president of the lodging industry’s largest trade association, are this year’s inductees into the prestigious Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor housed at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.

Doug Brooks, chairman, president and CEO of Brinker International, which operates restaurant brands Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy, and Joseph A. McInerney, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), will join some of hospitality’s biggest icons and industry giants in the Hospitality Hall of Honor at the annual induction ceremony to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct.13, in the Conrad N. Hilton Ballroom at the Hilton University of Houston. 

“These inductees are two excellent leaders and are highly deserving of this recognition,” said John Bowen, dean of Hilton College. 

“Doug Brooks expanded Brinker International and continues to preserve the positive culture within the company first established by company namesake Norman Brinker. And Joe McInerney took a struggling AH&LA and turned it into an effective and efficient organization that is a real asset to America’s lodging industry, not to mention the rest of his outstanding career in the hotel industry that spans decades.”

Doug Brooks is chairman, president and CEO of Brinker International, one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies. Brinker’s portfolio includes Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Brinker currently owns or franchises more than 1,500 restaurants in 30 countries and has more than 100,000 team members.

Under Brooks’ leadership, Brinker International has won numerous honors. These awards include the following: one of the World’s Most Admired Food Services Companies, one of the Top Companies for Women and one of the Top 30 Companies for Minorities, all by Fortune magazine; one of the 400 Best Companies in America by Forbes magazine; one of the Top 100 U.S. Retailers by the National Retail Federation; one of the Top 100 Companies for Blacks in Corporate America by Savoy magazine; one of America’s Most Shareholder-Friendly Companies by Institutional Investor magazine and a Best Place to Work from Chain Leader magazine. The company also has won the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among other accolades.

Brooks earned a bachelor of science in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Houston in 1975 and joined Chili’s in February 1978 as a manager at the company’s original location on Greenville Avenue in Dallas. He rose through the ranks at Chili’s, holding numerous positions including general manager, area director and regional vice president. Brooks was named president of the brand in 1994.

In January 1999, he was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Brinker International. In 2004, he also became CEO and chairman of the board. Brooks serves on the board of directors for Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Limbs For Life Foundation, Kenny Can Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Dallas Citizens Council and the AT&T Performing Arts Center. He also serves on the professional advisory board of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Brooks won the Nation’s Restaurant News Golden Chain Award in 2003 and the Workforce Legacy Award from the People Report in 2009. In 2010, he was the featured speaker for the Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair Alumni Series at Hilton College and is now part of this distinguished alumni group known as Eric’s Club. He is the first Hilton College alumnus to be inducted into the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor.

Beyond the restaurant business and his community activities, Brooks spends time with his wife, Holly, and their two adult sons, Taylor and Kyle.

Brooks said he is excited to be the first alumnus inducted into the Hall of Honor and honored to share the distinction with his mentor, Norman Brinker, who was inducted in 2004.

“To be included on that list of the most successful and influential leaders in this industry is incredibly humbling,” Brooks said. “It’s an impressive list of people. I’m amazed to be in the company of this industry’s geniuses and to follow in Norman Brinker’s footsteps—I honor and thank him for any recognition I receive.”

Joseph A. McInerney, CHA, is president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). As the head executive of the largest trade association representing the U.S. lodging industry, McInerney implements and directs AH&LA’s services as well as provides leadership to association members. He also works directly with the volunteer officers, board of directors, and partner state associations in determining the direction of the industry.

Since his appointment in July 2001, McInerney has reorganized the association to streamline efficiency and strengthen its core operations, including consolidating its two affiliates to form the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation—the only educational dollar-dispensing, not-for-profit premier organization for scholarships, professional certification, and instructional material as well as funding for key industry research. Additionally, McInerney spearheaded the changing of the membership structure from a federation to a dual membership format, streamlined the board of directors, and clarified the organization's mission.

With nearly 50 years of experience in the hospitality industry, McInerney is well versed in the various skills needed to operate in association, corporate and lodging environments. Prior to AH&LA, he was president and CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Forte Hotels, Inc., Hawthorn Suites, and ITT’s Sheraton franchise division.

McInerney is an honor graduate of Boston College. He also is a Certified Hotel Administrator via the Educational Institute (EI), an affiliate of AH&LA.

McInerney has been recognized with several industry awards, including the 2009 J. Patrick Leahy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association; 2007 “Above and Beyond Award” at The Lodging Conference; “Tourism Man of the Year” award by the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association; the 1999 Stephen Brener, Silver Plate Lifetime Achievement Award from Hospitality Magazine; Travel Agent Magazine's 1998 Pacific/Asia Person of the Year, and the 1994 Economy Lodging’s “Person of the Year,” by AH&LA.

“It’s a tremendous honor and something I greatly appreciate,” McInerney said of his upcoming induction into the Hall of Honor. “I am truly humbled because of all the great people who have been recognized in past years. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish at AH&LA and grateful for this tribute.”

Established in 1995, the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor recognizes industry leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to American and international business and society. The inductees’ achievements are now memorialized in commissioned portraits in the new Hall of Honor Gallery in the newly renovated Hilton University of Houston’s lobby, and in the new Massad Family Library Research Center and Hospitality Industry Archives, which contains archival documents and memorabilia from the companies the inductees conceived and built.

A Board of Overseers, which includes representatives from the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Travel Industry Association of America, the International Hotel and Restaurant Association and the American Gaming Association, nominate and elect each year’s Hall of Honor inductees.

The inaugural Hospitality Hall of Honor class of 1996 included four inductees—J. W. Marriott, Conrad N. Hilton, Vernon Stouffer and Kemmons Wilson. Since then, nearly 60 industry luminaries, including Ray Kroc, Howard Johnson, Ernest and Julio Gallo, Walt Disney and Conrad Hilton’s sons, Barron and Eric Hilton, have joined them. 

The 15th annual Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor festivities on Oct. 13 will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the ceremony and dinner at 7 p.m. Think Tank sessions with industry leaders, who will discuss a number of current hospitality topics, will be held October 12 and 13. For more information on Hall of Honor events, or for ticket information, contact Camille Kapoor at 713-743-2462 or For more information about the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor visit

About the Conrad N. Hilton College
The Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, which offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in hotel and restaurant management and hospitality management, has become a world leader in hospitality education and is consistently ranked one of the top-ranked hospitality programs in the world. Currently, students from 33 countries study here. For more information on Hilton College, visit

About the University of Houston 
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 37,000 students. For more information about UH visit the university’s Newsroom at


Melissa McEver
Office of Communications 

Also See: Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor to Induct Best Western Founder, M.K. Guertin and Houston Restaurant Family, the Pappas Brothers / August 2009

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