A New Leader For The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington


The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), the association representing restaurants and the food service industry in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, announced the appointment of its new President & CEO, Shawn Townsend, effective mid-January 2023. Established in 1920, RAMW advocates for and promotes the vitality of the capital region’s hospitality industry and, under Townsend’s new leadership, will continue its legacy of legislative and regulatory representation, education and workforce development, marketing, small business support, and more. 

Townsend is a veteran communicator and leader with a career dedicated to building trusted expertise in public-private partnerships. No stranger to the restaurant world, he grew up in the industry in his father’s restaurant. As he built his career, Townsend spent more than a decade in the District of Columbia government, eventually appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser as the inaugural Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture. In that role, he advised the administration on the issues affecting much of the city’s hospitality industry, serving as a conduit to the business community while identifying engagement opportunities. He was integral in developing the District’s strategic hospitality engagement plan both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and brings to his role at RAMW a wealth of knowledge and contemporary expertise. 

RAMW currently counts more than 1,400 businesses in its membership, including restaurants, food and hospitality vendors, and allied business that work within the industry. The regional organization is recognized as a key voice at the table working with elected officials, agencies, and the larger business community in DC, Northern Virginia, and Suburban Maryland.