February 23, 2016

Champion Pitmaster and Humanitarian Receives 2016 Donna H. Myers Award

Arlington, Va. - The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) and Casual Living magazine are pleased to announce Stan Hays as this year’s winner of the prestigious Donna H. Myers Barbecue Leadership Award.

Stan is co-founder and CEO of Operation BBQ Relief, a disaster relief organization that has provided hot meals in 18 states and 28 different locations and served approximately 644,938 meals. Founded after the EF5 tornado that impacted Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011, Operation BBQ Relief’s expert pitmasters and volunteers deploy to disaster sites to provide comfort food, compassion, hope, and friendship to those whose lives have been torn apart.

“The stars of the barbecue industry include those who barbecue for the greater good – and Stan Hays and his organization, Operation BBQ Relief, should be an example for all of us," said Jack Goldman, President & CEO of HPBA. "He has helped build an organization and given a lot of his time to selflessly feed victims of disasters, and we are proud to count Stan as a member of the barbecue community.”

While spreading BBQ Relief's mission, Stan is also a champion pitmaster and caterer. With his team, County Line Smokers, Stan has won two grand championships, four reserve grand championships, and numerous first place category finishes at Kansas City BBQ Society events. Recently, Stan was the Chopped Champion runner up in the Grill Master Finale on the Food Network. Stan works for Farmers Insurance as a personal lines sales zone manager.

The 2016 Donna H. Myers Barbecue Leadership Award will be presented March 17 in New Orleans, Louisiana during the Big Green Egg Cook-off at HPBExpo 2016. Now in its fifth year, the award sponsored by HPBA and Casual Living recognizes innovative leaders who have contributed to the growth of their companies and the overall industry. Recipients combine distinguished professional achievement and community service with problem solving skills and an unwavering commitment to the barbecue industry. Donna H. Myers was a leading barbecue industry advocate who died in January 2011.

Previous winners include: Ron LaRocca, 30-year marketing and sales veteran instrumental in growing the barbecue industry (2015), Ed Fisher, Founder and Chairman of Big Green Egg (2014) and George A. Stephen, founder of Weber-Stephen Products and creator of the Weber Kettle Grill (2013). The first award, in 2012, was given posthumously to Myers.

About HPBA


The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), based in Arlington, Va., is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of barbecue, patio and hearth appliances, fuels and accessories. The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising, and consumer education.

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