At the Washington Hospitality convention held in Tacoma Nov. 17, three longtime industry leaders were honored for their contributions to hospitality. The three are Randy Irvine, Frank Welton and Budd Gould. 

Frank Welton, Burtenshaw Award 

Frank Welton, former regional vice president of Hilton International, helped transition the Washington Lodging Association into the Washington Hospitality Association and was its first board chair from 2017-18.

“When it came to leadership, he has this steady hand and commitment to doing it right that really made the merger a success,” Anton said. 

“But beyond that, we are also really recognizing that he might be lodging’s top if not one of its top mentors,” Anton said.  “An incredible number of hoteliers came up to me and made it a point to say Frank was one of the best mentors they had ever had.”  

“Frank is inspirational. Frank convinced me to take my first GM job sight unseen. He can really inspire people to be their best,” Eric Walters, vice president of Operations West Pyramid Hotel Group said in a video presentation at the award ceremony. “He would always encourage me to look beyond.” 

“He is highly respected, always was, and he touched the lives of countless people that worked for him. He helped grow a lot of careers,” said George Schweitzer, regional director of operations of Coast Hospitality.

Budd Gould, Burtenshaw Award 

Budd Gould founded Anthony’s Restaurants. In 1973 he opened his first steak and lobster restaurant in Bellevue, Wash., and has grown the business to 35 restaurants across Washington and Idaho. He received the Burtenshaw Award.

“We are not recognizing Budd for the incredible growth and vision of his company,” Anton said. “It’s his leadership he’s showed to his team and the industry and to his communities.  And his tireless commitment to industry education.” 

Anton said that Gould always has a strong commitment to the communities his restaurants served and closing the restaurants for a fundraiser is part of the culture of Anthony’s. All of his stores pick a local charity that is important to them.  

He is committed to serving local ingredients and local seafood is a staple of his restaurants. In fact, Anthony’s opened its own seafood company in 1984. 

Anthony’s Restaurants are known for their low turnover rates and Gould stresses the importance of education and growth for his employees. 

“Budd instilled this loyalty in their employees,” Anton said. “He was fully committed to their education, offered them ongoing education and scholarships and other things to keep them growing.”  

He encouraged growth and knew if his employees had to leave to grow, he told them they could always come back.  

“He’s a strong guy, but there are lots of strong guys that don’t have what I would call a lot of heart,” said Chris Canlis of Canlis Restaurant in a video presentation during the award ceremony. 

Randy Irvine, Allied Hall of Fame 

Randy Irvine spent 31 years at Food Services of America (FSA), is the former president of Harbor Foodservice and is now the senior vice president of development at Harbor Foods. He received the Hall of Fame award for an allied member of the Washington Hospitality Association. 

“The Allied Hall of Fame is really special.  You really have to be great to get in there,” said Washington Hospitality Association President & CEO Anthony Anton. “We only have an award winner about every 10 years, someone who has truly set themselves aside to make the industry and their customers the most important thing.” 

As the regional CEO of FSA, Irvine led the charge to set up the culinary program at South Seattle Culinary School. He then came to the Washington Hospitality Association and wanted to truly support the Education Foundation. He volunteered his time and money to the program.  

“I just can’t tell you how passionate and sincere Randy can be and how important that is in everything they do,” Greg Hall of Greg Hall Advisors said in a video presentation during the award ceremony. 

Jacque Farrell-Smith, CEO and co-founder of Farrelli’s Pizza remembered his personal touch in that same video. 

“He just has a ginormous heart,” she said. “When we lost my mom, Randy was one of the only non-family members who was at her service during COVID…That’s not anything that’s a contract. That’s just a contract of being a good human being.” 

“He’d do whatever he could for his customers and the greater good of the industry,” Anton said.