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2015 Conference- Welcome Reception
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Don’t Miss the Welcome Reception on Thursday, January 22nd!!

Sponsored by Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship


Richard Gonzmart, Keynote Speaker

Richard Gonzmart 

The keynote speaker for the welcome reception will be Richard  Gonzmart, President of the Columbia Group which owns the historic, Spanish cuisine Columbia Restaurant founded by his  family in 1905.  The Columbia Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Florida, the oldest Hispanic restaurant in the United States and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.  Mr. Gonzmart  is a 4th generation family member  who has worked in his family business since the age of 12.  Under his  guidance, the Columbia Restaurant Group has expanded its holding  from two  restaurants to seven. The Columbia Restaurant has also won numerous awards under his  leadership, including:    


Named an All-American Icon by Nation’s Restaurant News, one of only fifty restaurants in the U.S. chosen for this honor in 2010.         


 Earned the “Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award of Excellence” in 2005 and every year since. One of the most prestigious awards in the fine dining industry.


 Named to Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame.          


 The Columbia’s Original "1905" Salad™ was selected as “One of America’s Top 10 Best Salads” by USA Today, the only restaurant in Florida named to this list. 


Winner of the 2001-2002 MassMutual National Family Business of the Year award.

Richard and the Gonzmart family have also always been dedicated to the Tampa community. They support the University of South Florida through annual fundraisers benefitting two scholarship funds and the USF Bulls athletic programs. In 1998 Richard created the Annual Columbia Restaurant Community Harvest program. Since the program began, the Columbia has given $1.3 million to non-profit organizations throughout Florida. Through this program, each of the eight Columbia Restaurants donates 5% of guests’ checks during the month of September to local charitable organizations chosen by their guests.

More information about Richard Gonzmart:

For a complete bio -

An article in Florida Trend magazine recognizing Mr. Gonzmart as a Florida Icon -

The welcome reception for USASBE’s 29th Annual Conference promises to be a “not to be missed” kick-off in Tampa-style. After Thursday, you will be ready to network, collaborate, and learn with your USASBE colleagues!

Thanks to our Presenting Sponsor


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