Press Releases

Jun 16, 2023

HMSHost Leaders and ACDBE Partners Honored by Airport Minority Advisory Council and The AMAC Foundation at 38th Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference

BETHESDA, Maryland (June 16, 2023) – Global restaurateur HMSHost, a world leader in creating dining for travel venues, today announced that several of its leaders and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) partners received prestigious awards during the Airport Minority Advisory Council’s (AMAC) 38th Annual Airport Business Diversity Conference in San Antonio this week.

During its Catalyst Awards celebration, AMAC honored Derryl Benton, Executive Vice President of Business Development, with the Charles “CJ” Johnson Award for his mentorship and leadership of the AMAC community and aviation industry. In addition, legendary San Antonio chef and restaurateur Johnny Hernandez, an HMSHost joint venture and ACDBE partner at San Antonio International Airport, was recognized as “Local Small Business Champion” for exemplifying AMAC’s mission of diversity and inclusion through local and regional advocacy efforts. Entrepreneurs Kurt and Lachele Mangum, HMSHost ACDBE partners operating in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport, received the Small Business Partner Award for demonstrating support for AMAC’s mission and goals and significantly impacting their community and workforce.

Ron Gomes, Vice President of Strategic Alliances, was named to AMAC’s Hall of Fame, which honors those who have demonstrated sustainable and profound contributions to the aviation industry and positively impacted diversity and inclusion, while also providing continuous support for AMAC’s mission and goals and the growth and development of aviation diversity.

Additionally, The AMAC Foundation unveiled the Ronald J. Gomes Scholarship Fund to support the next generation of minority professionals who desire to have a career in aviation.

“We are elated to partner with the friends and family of Ron Gomes to support this scholarship with an initial $35,000 in donations,” said Dawn Hunter, outgoing chair of The AMAC Foundation Board of Directors.

“Derryl Benton and Ron Gomes have spent their careers championing and mentoring minorities and women, and we could not be happier that they have been recognized for their incredible contributions that have been felt industrywide,” said Steve Johnson, President and CEO, Dufry North America. “As Ron heads into retirement, it is fitting that a scholarship be established in his name so that his life’s work can inspire the next generation of diversity and inclusion leaders.”

“As a member of AMAC for 30 years, I have witnessed firsthand how leadership and mentorship have transformed the aviation community for the better,” said Benton, who received the AMAC Hall of Fame Award in 2021. “It has been a pleasure to work alongside so many strong advocates for AMAC’s vision and mission, and I am honored to be the recipient of the Charles ‘CJ’ Johnson Award.”

“This is truly an honor from an organization for which I have the deepest respect, and whose mission has guided my career. I’m humbled to be included in the AMAC Hall of Fame among so many who forged a path for me, so I could pave the way for others,” said Gomes. “I offer my sincerest gratitude to The AMAC Foundation for establishing a scholarship in my name and to the generous donors who stepped forward to contribute. I am truly humbled to know it will help lift those who will continue to push our industry forward."

HMSHost Leading the Industry

HMSHost is recognized by the industry as the leader in travel dining with awards such as Restaurateur with the Highest Regard for Customer Service and Best Brand Restaurateur for Shake Shack by Airport Experience News. USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards gave first place honors to both of HMSHost’s Whisky River locations at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport. ACI-NA, the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, recognized HMSHost with the 2020 Associate Inclusion Champion Award for leadership and achievement in the ongoing inclusion of business and workforce diversity, outreach, and advocacy. Additionally, ACI-NA awarded HMSHost the 2022 Excellence in Airport Concessions Award for the Best Employee Recognition Program. The company also creates original award-winning events and campaigns including Airport Restaurant Month, Channel Your Inner Chef live culinary contest, 1,000 Acts of Kindness, and Eat Well. Travel Further.

About HMSHost
Global restaurateur HMSHost is a world leader in creating dining for travel venues. HMSHost operates locations all over North America, and is part of Dufry Group (SIX: DUFN –, the leading travel experience player worldwide that uniquely combines retail, food & beverage and digital. The group serves 2.3 billion passengers in more than 75 countries in 5,500 outlets across 1,200 airports, motorways, cruise lines, seaports, railway stations and other locations across six continents. Visit for more information and connect with HMSHost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.