Two of the state’s largest business associations say they will merge next year under a single new identity.
The Washington Restaurant Association and the Washington Lodging Association have already taken initial steps toward melding their organizations. The two groups have been operating since Oct. 1 under a joint arrangement. Under that agreement, the operations and staff from the two groups are working from the restaurant association’s Olympia offices. WRA’s president and chief executive officer Anthony Anton is now also serving as the Washington Lodging Association’s chief executive officer.
“This is an exciting time for our membership and the businesses they represent across Washington. Combined leadership capabilities and viewpoints also creates more opportunities for innovation,” said Anton. “By joining forces, we now have an expanded government affairs team that is increasing our influence and effectively addressing the challenges facing our industry at both the state and local level.”
The two associations remain legally separate entities with independent boards of directors for now.
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Plans call for the two groups to rebrand their combined association beginning sometime next year.
The unified hospitality association will have more than 6,000 members and advocate on behalf of an industry that employs some 250,000 Washingtonians and generates $17.7 billion in revenue each year.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663