History of NACE

On June 3, 1958, Banquet Managers Guild (now NACE) was founded in New York City. And the rest, as they say, is history…

From its local beginnings in New York City, NACE has grown to encompass more than 4,000 members in more than 40 chapters in North America. NACE continues to raise the standard of professionalism in the industry through education, certification, standards, ethics and professional recognition programs. NACE remains dedicated to growing and changing with the industry’s needs, providing critical resources for all its members, wherever they are in their careers and whatever their positions.

In July 2018, NACE Celebrated its 60th anniversary in Palm Springs, California during its annual NACE Experience conference.

View the historical timeline to see where we started, and take a stroll down memory lane.

Our Story

After World War II, many companies who had been involved in making war products had to find another product to manufacture, and their efforts fueled a manufacturing revolution. A large number of new products resulted in traveling salesmen as well as the beginning of the sales meetings as we know them today. This coincided with an increase in air travel, which meant that leisure travelers were also beginning to occupy hotel rooms for extended stays.

Noticing the increase in revenue from business travelers, hotels set up sales departments and began creating meeting and ballroom space specifically for this business. As the number of people in hotel sales and other executive positions increased, several saw the need to create associations. Among those formed were the American Hotel Association, The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association and the Food Service Executives Association.

Vince DeFinis

“Before World War II, catering was a status symbol for the very rich. Most of the catering occurred in hotels where the rich had a home away from home, where they sometimes occupied an entire floor. Many of these families were from Europe and so they stayed for long periods of time. Most had their own staff when they entertained. The Maitre’D was a very respected person who supervised this staff.”

Historical information on this page was adapted from an article by Larry Osburn, CPCE, former NACE Region 3 Vice President and National Historian, based on an interview with Vince DeFinis, CPCE. Vincent DeFinis, CPCE, started in the hotel industry in 1932 and worked in all the food and beverage departments of service under European chefs in front operations with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Systems. In World War II, Vince served in the Air Force as Food Supervisor for the largest air depot in the European theatre of operations for the Eighth Air Force Service Command. During his association with the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel as Director of Catering, he personally arranged functions for eight Presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Carter and Bush, as well as many foreign dignitaries and heads of state. For over fifty years, he has served in almost every executive capacity in the hospitality industry. He was the oldest living NACE member until his passing in November 2007. He was named “Man of the Year in 1971 by the National Food Service Executive Association and received the first “Hall of Fame” award from NACE in 1998.

Editor’s note: As NACE approached its 50th year, the organization was saddened to announce Vince’s passing in November 2007. Vince became a symbol of the association’s longevity, growth, and success. He attended almost every educational conference, earned his CPCE, and shared his wisdom, knowledge, and history of NACE with all who crossed his path.