About NACE National


Post-War Beginnings

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. The 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 occupying hotel rooms for extended stays.

Noticing the increase in revenue from business travelers, hotels set up sales departments and began to create meeting and ballroom space especially 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.

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, continuing to raise the standard of professionalism in the industry through its education and certification, its standards, ethics and professional recognition programs. NACE remains dedicated to growing and changing with the industry’s needs, continuing to provide critical resources for all its members, wherever they are in their careers and whatever their position.


Early 1950’s

Several hotels began to hire sales managers specifically to sell catering. Initially, most of these individuals reported to the sales and marketing department but as the potential for business increased, several of the hotels established a separate catering department. The Waldorf Astoria in New York City was one of the first to create such a department and, following their lead, other hotels did too. As more hotels in New York added catering departments they recruited from the Waldorf Astoria for directors of catering to run their departments. In fact, probably the first 15 to 18 DOCs in New York were employed originally at the Waldorf Astoria.

1958 June 3

Hotel directors decided that they needed to form an organization to retain as much business as they could amongst themselves, as well as to promote good fellowship and relations. They also felt that their positions were not being recognized on the same level as the directors of sales and marketing and wanted to promote their positions through an association. The Banquet Managers Guild was formed. For two years the Banquet Managers Guild existed only in New York City.


Joe Haney, who had previously worked at the Waldorf Astoria, left to be general manager of the Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia. He encouraged his catering manager, Vincent DeFinis, to join the Banquet Managers Guild in New York. Vincent went to see Clyde Harris, then president of the Guild, saw the potential for the association, and joined the guild as member number twelve.


Travel to New York on a regular basis was difficult for Mr. DeFinis, so he began forming a Philadelphia chapter. He accomplished this, making the Banquet Managers Guild a national association. The Guild continued to expand, and chapters were soon added in Atlantic City, Washington D.C., Boston, St. Louis, Miami, Chicago and Atlanta.


The Guild’s first seminar was held at the Bellevue-Stratford hotel in Philadelphia with 32 attendees. This was followed by the next year with 50 people in attendance in the Wedgewood room of the Waldorf Astoria. From this beginning, the NACE conference grew into the annual, cutting edge industry event we know today.


The Guild changed its name to the National Association of Catering Executives to reflect better the trends in industry job titles and the increase in off-premise caterers.


The Association reached more than 1,000 members and strengthened its focus on education by forming the NACE Foundation.


The Certified Catering Executive designation was created and the first certification exam was administered.


The Certified Catering Executive designation name changed to Certified Professional Catering Executive. The Catering Research Institute at the University of Houston was founded.


www.naceuniversity.org is launched, first online exam is administered.

July 2012

The NACE delegates unanimously vote for a new new name changed to National Association for Catering and Events (NACE).

Editors 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. Read a tribute to Vince by Jerry Edwards, CPCE, and former national president, who talks about Vince as a friend and mentor.

Code of Ethics

As a condition precedent to admission to membership of NACE, candidates for membership shall agree in writing to abide by this code of ethics. Failure to maintain compliance herewith shall be cause for expulsion of any member, following due process as provided in the bylaws of the association.


1. Members shall at all times conduct themselves and their professional activities in conformance with the laws of the land.
2. Members shall keep the concerns of their clients foremost in mind in the conduct of their business consistent with the objectives of their employers.
3. Members shall continuously work to improve their knowledge and skills to the benefit of their clients, themselves, NACE and the organization they represent.
4. Members will have sympathetic understanding of the problems of fellow members. This understanding is a unifying and strengthening force.
5. Members shall transact all business on behalf of the association in accordance with the bylaws, policies and procedures manual, laws of the land and this code of ethics.
6. Members shall not engage in activities harmful to the purpose of NACE, or use their position in the association to exploit personal views.
7. Members shall devote themselves to giving of their time and talent to the communities in which they live, work and play, without regard to rewards therefrom.
8. Members shall encourage promising persons to enter the profession of catering and to grow therein to become the best in their chosen profession.