The Nebraska Restaurant Association provides members with the resources they need to succeed in a fast-paced industry with constantly changing regulations and customer desires. The Nebraska Restaurant Association creates value for members by promoting legislative interests of the industry, providing cooperative marketing and educational opportunities while protecting free enterprise.
NeRA DREAM TEAM
Zoe Olson is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Restaurant Association (NeRA) and its educational arm, the Hospitality Educational Foundation (HEF). A UNL graduate with a degree in journalism and a focus in advertising, Zoe has more than 30 years of organizational management, marketing, and public relations experience. She has initiated new ventures throughout her career, from successful fundraising events to programs designed to engage clients and increase membership. Prior to coming to the NeRA, Zoe served as the Executive Director of Blue Rivers Area on Aging, Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Aging Partners and Executive Director of the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association.
Taylor Yarnell is the Outreach Director for the Nebraska Restaurant Association. She recently graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and earned her degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She is working hard to build up our platforms to nurture an online community for the state. Taylor grew up in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, so she understands the importance of connecting both sides of the state.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS REP
Besides assisting the Nebraska Restaurant Association with legislative issues, Rich serves as Vice President of Advocacy for the Nebraska Retail Federation. In this role, he is responsible for directing and leading the Federation's legislative efforts on a state and national level. Rich works closely with both the National Retail Federation & Retail Industry Leaders Association to identify key policy trends impacting the retail industry. Rich has over a decade of experience in association management while also lobbing the Nebraska Legislature during that period. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He and his wife Heather reside in Lincoln with their daughter Reece.
MIN NI EWE
Min Ni Ewe is the graphic designer for the Nebraska Restaurant Association. She is from Malaysia and is a recent graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and earned a degree in Advertising and Public Relations.
McGwire Rappe is the website designer for the Nebraska Restaurant Association. She redesigned the NeRA website to ensure that it represents the NeRA's mission. She is a recent graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and earned a degree in Advertising and Public Relations. She is from Chicago, Illinois.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS REP
Jim Otto is the “go to” person for issues that have – or could have – an impact on the operations of the members of the Nebraska Restaurant Association. Jim started his career as Coordinator of Economic Development for the City of Lincoln and then served as Nebraska State Director at the USDA Rural Development before becoming the hospitality industry representative in the legislature. Well-known and respected at the Nebraska Unicameral, he also serves as President of the Nebraska Retail Federation.
Fayrene Hamouz has been the Hospitality Education Foundation’s ProStart coordinator since she retired as Associate Dean of UNL’s College of Education and Human Sciences in 2016. A graduate of UNL with a degree in Dietetics, she completed a dietetic internship at the University of Washington and then was employed in food service at the University of Iowa and UNL. While working, she completed additional degrees in Food Service Management and Meat Science. In 1990, she accepted a faculty position at UNL in Restaurant Management. During her tenure, and with a commitment to professionalism and the future of the hospitality industry, she developed bachelor’s degree programs in Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management and Culinology.