About Thomas J. Haas

Thomas J. Haas began his career with the General Foods Corporation Post Division, and has, over the past forty years, been a proven leader in the food industry, specializing in the foodservice segment of the market.

Mr. Haas embarked on a new and creative venture when he joined Bill Communications, Restaurant Business Division, in 1966.  He was given responsibility for Institutional Distribution magazine as V.P. Publisher, which at the time was the first publication designed to serve the needs of the foodservice distributor.  The publication was repositioned as the magazine for foodservice marketing, and became the leading voice of distribution, sales and marketing in the industry.

In 1972, Mr. Haas joined Lebhar-Friedman, and took over the reins of the only newspaper serving the foodservice industry, Nation’s Restaurant News.  He repositioned the publication as the “newspaper for the foodservice industry” by reorganizing the editorial product, and broadening NRN’s circulation base to include commercial operations of all types.  In the summer of 1984, Mr. Haas led the conversion of NRN from a bi-weekly to a weekly publication.  Revenues increased from $1 million in advertising sales to over $18 million by 1985, with the newspaper’s market share doubling to over 23% in advertising revenue in the 14 years under Mr. Haas’ direction.

Mr. Haas, as Chairman, revitalized the annual Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Conference, which was recognized as the major industry conference for chain operators.  In 1979, he created the Nation’s Restaurant News “Fine Dining Hall of Fame”, in order to recognize the leaders in the distinguished dining segment.  In 1980, as publisher of NRN, Mr. Haas launched the Presidents’ Conference for CEO’s of multiunit foodservice organizations. One year later, he introduced Colonel Harland Sanders to the MUFSO conference audience in Dallas, TX as the first “Pioneer of the Year:” an honor that would subsequently become annual part of the event – honoring such other luminaries as J. Willard Marriott, Sr. and Ray Kroc.

In 1985, Mr. Haas broadened his career path by accepting the position of Executive V.P. of Marketing, Planning and Corporate Accounts at CFS Continental, a $2.4 billion division of Staley Continental involved in manufacturing, as well as full service and specialized chain distribution.

Following CFS Continental, Mr. Haas joined Rykoff/Sexton as Assistant to the President, where he helped organize a new manufacturing division to sell Rykoff/Sexton manufactured products to large multi-unit organizations.

In 1990, Mr. Haas formed his own company, Thomas J. Haas & Associates, Inc., providing strategic analysis, marketing and sales service to a variety of clients.

ECOLAB, his major client, recognized Mr. Haas with the prestigious Pewter Plate Award for outstanding contribution to the company.  This was the first award ever presented by ECOLAB to someone outside of the corporation.  ECOLAB has been a client of Thomas J. Haas & Associates since 1991.

In 1994, Mr. Haas created the Leadership Roundtable Conference, also for presidents of major multiunit foodservice companies.  This forum has been a major success, and 2008 will mark its 14th annual conference. 

Mr. Haas has been a major supporter of the foodservice industry serving on the board of the Culinary Institute of America, as well as a life fellow of the C.I.A.  At present, he has played a significant role in the development of the Italian Center for Cooking at the C.I.A., as well as the development of the ECOLAB Theatre at C.I.A. Greystone in Napa, California.  He has also worked with Michigan State, University of Delaware, University of Denver, Penn State, and New York University HRI schools.

Mr. Haas is a recognized Master Knight of the Vine, an Honorary Member of the DiRoNA Hall of Fame (Distinguished Restaurants of North America), an Honorary Hall of Fame member of the American Academy of Chefs, has played an active supporting role for the National Restaurant Association, Institutional Food Manufacturers Association, and National Educational Foundation, serving on their Communications Committee.