George Wasai: Living the American Dream, Award-Winner for America’s Team
Ask anyone who works at AT&T Stadium and with the Dallas Cowboys and they’ll tell you the same thing: the most respected person at the stadium is not Dak Prescott, nor Zeke Elliott or Sean Lee. It’s George Wasai, the Director of Food & Beverage for Legends Hospitality and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. We all love George!
Wasai’s professionalism, kindness, and inspiring story are also well-known beyond Arlington. That’s how he became a trailblazer: the first person to win the NRAEF’s prestigious national award in the hospitality business at a sports & entertainment venue.
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) has presented Wasai with the “Faces of Diversity 2018 American Dream Award” which honors individuals in the restaurant industry who have realized the American Dream through hard work, determination and enterprise.
“I was born in West Africa, Ghana, where food is not an easy thing to come by,” says Wasai. “I was 14 when I came to the US in 1976. When I came to the US, I was in junior high and I was trying to get a job and they told me that, if you work in a restaurant, you get to eat free! So, my first job was working at McDonald’s.
“I knew to be able to get where I am, I had to work hard, I had to humble myself. I had to be respectful. I learned that from my father and my mother. That’s who has guided me to do what I do. I’m living the American Dream.”
From McDonald’s, to dishwasher, to college, to the leadership of the premiere sports venue in the world, no person is more deserving of this recognition than Wasai. During his 28 seasons with the Cowboys, he and Legends chefs and partners like PepsiCo have developed signature menu items that are enjoyed by crowds of 90,000+ on game day.
Wasai’s community outreach programs make a difference 365-days a year. He’s created stadium initiatives that employ individual with disabilities. He also founded a program in which local non-profit group raise funds by operating concession stands.
As an alumnus of Bishop College (now called Paul Quinn College) in Dallas, Wasai remains involved with the school’s farming program. When the small college was struggling with a budget crisis, Paul Quinn College dropped its football program in 2007. The football stadium no longer holds games. Instead, the gridiron was re-planted as an urban garden. Thanks to Wasai, 10% of the produce bought by Legends Hospitality for AT&T Stadium comes from the Paul Quinn College farming program.
The initiative with Paul Quinn College is just one more example of an innovative approach to the community, as well as an example of Wasai’s can-do attitude. He can take a negative and turn it into a positive. He’s truly one of the most inspiring and beloved people within the Cowboys’ organization.
“George is the American Dream,” Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner, president, and general manager says proudly. “George Wasai has been so instrumental in how we have evolved with the Dallas Cowboys, with our venue, AT&T Stadium.”
“George Wasai has been an amazing member of our Cowboys Family for 28 years,” says Charlotte Jones Anderson, Cowboys Executive Vice President and Brand Manager. “When you have that deep commitment to want to help others, it comes through in everything you do. And that’s George.”
And here’s what makes this award really special for a good man like George Wasai. In addition to receiving his award at the NRAEF Gala Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., the organization created a $2,500 scholarship in Wasai’s name which will be awarded to aspiring students that want to pursue a career in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
The American Dream is alive and well. George Wasai embodies it.
Congratulations, George Wasai! Your Cowboys Family is proud of you!
To see the video produced for George’s award, click here.