Local Press Room

McDonald’s New York Tri-State Honors Top Managers with 2016 Ray Kroc Award

Six local McDonald’s restaurant managers were recently honored as the New York Tri-State recipients of the 2016 Ray Kroc Award at the Golden Arches’ annual Manager’s Banquet. The prestigious award recognizes the top 1% of restaurant managers selected from 36,000 independently owned and operated franchisee restaurants and McDonald’s corporately-owned restaurants worldwide. Attended by McDonald’s employees and franchisees, the banquet celebrated the achievements of outstanding crew and managers in the region.

Established in 1999, the Ray Kroc Award was created in memory of McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, to acknowledge hardworking restaurant managers who make his vision of excellence come to life in the restaurants and for customers every day. McDonald’s franchisees and regional management nominate restaurant managers based on their success in operational excellence, management leadership and customer satisfaction. The six local winners, among 340 restaurant managers around the world, will receive a cash prize, trophy and a trip to Orlando, Florida to attend the Ray Kroc Awards Gala in April. The ceremony will be hosted by Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and David Fairhurst, McDonald’s Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer.


The six Ray Kroc Award winners from the New York Tri-State region are:

  • Robert Cataraso of Toms River, NJ
    The Chapman Organization
  • Gladys Espin of Middletown, NJ
    The Marinello Organization
  • Billevens Sanon of Dover, NJ
    The Cottrell Organization
  • Patricia Tulloch of Rosedale, NY
    The Hatton Organization
  • Jhon Tineo of Hackensack, NJ
    The Laurino Organization
  • Jody Visek of Aquebogue, NY
    The Kaufman Organization

McDonald’s is committed to creating employment opportunities for people of all ages and from all backgrounds, as well as boosting employability to help people gain the skills and experience they need to progress in their careers. McDonald’s also provides opportunities for progression and promoting from within; around 90% of restaurant management began their careers as crew members.

“The Ray Kroc Award was founded based on the principle that greatness can only be achieved through the dedication and support of a company’s people,” said Mwaffak Kanjee, President of McDonald’s New York Metro Region. “We are proud to recognize and honor the exceptional people whose unwavering commitment to excellence has made our business so successful.”


“The six recipients of the Ray Kroc Award serve as an inspiration for all of us,” stated Paul Hendel, McDonald’s franchisee and President of McDonald’s New York Metro Owner/Operators Association. “This award allows us to thank our managers for their passion and dedication in delivering an outstanding restaurant experience to our customers.”

About the 2016 Ray Kroc Award Winners

  • Robert Cataraso of Toms River, NJ was just 16 years old when he started working for McDonald’s in order to save money to buy a car. Twenty years later, Cataraso now manages a crew of 60 people at his restaurant, owned and operated by the Chapman organization.
  • Gladys Espin of Middletown, NJ is a general manager at the restaurant owned and operated by father and daughter duo Tony and Alana Marinello. Espin credits McDonald’s in helping her learn English after immigrating from Ecuador.
  • Billevens Sanon of Dover, NJ started working with the Cottrell Organization after moving from Haiti in 2002. He was promoted to manager after only a year and has stayed with the organization since.
  • Patricia Tulloch of Rosedale, NY is an employee of McDonald’s franchisee Dave Hatton. Originally from Jamaica, Tulloch oversees over 50 staff members on a daily basis.
  • Jhon Tineo of Hackensack, NJ, has been with franchisee Gerald Laurino since 2006. He first began his career with another McDonald’s franchise at the age of 15 after immigrating to New York from the Dominican Republic
  • Jody Visek of Medford, NY has been an employee of the Kaufman Organization for 34 years, working part-time throughout high school and college. She was promoted to general manager after graduating from college and decided to stay full-time.


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