Arizona Hospitality Industry Gets National Representation 

PHOENIX  During the pandemic, food service and catering purveyors found themselves needing more representation in Washington D.C. to get through the tumultuous pandemic years. 

To make sure that doesn’t happen again, and ensure a strong local and national hospitality industry, Phoenix-based M Culinary Concepts and 15 other diversified caterers, event production and hospitality companies from across the nation, have formed Elite Catering + Event Professionals (ECEP)

“Our industry is in dire need for advocacy, leadership, and collaboration,” says Michael Stavros, Partner of M Culinary Concepts. ECEP, with the help of founders like Stavros, is poised to do just this local and nationally.


The first action ECEP took was to join forces with the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), a group representing the $34 billion convenience services industry. A powerful voice in Washington, the association successfully worked with Congress to ensure the industry could continue to serve workers and worksites deemed essential during the pandemic. NAMA is currently advocating with the Internal Revenue Service for companies who have yet to receive their Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC).

“NAMA is proud to support ECEP’s mission to advance the growth of the hospitality industry,” says Carla Balakgie, FASAE, CAE, president & CEO of NAMA. “And we look forward to the important work we will accomplish together on Capitol Hill.”


Elite Catering + Event Professionals (ECEP) was founded in 2021 by industry experts and leaders from the world's top catering and hospitality organizations, united by a common goal of propelling the global catering and events industry forward through innovation and bold new ideas.