McDonalds franchise head will be speaker at student diversity dinner

David Santillanes (left) and Tina Young

By Staff
Northwest Asian Weekly

The Northwest Asian Weekly’s Diversity Makes a Difference scholarship program celebrates high school students from Western Washington — nominated by teachers, counselors, principals, and community members — who encourage and actively promote diversity.

From these nominations — 62 in all — a judging panel will choose five top applicants to each receive $1,000 scholarships, and five additional finalists who will each receive $200 scholarships.

The scholarships honor young people who take action to increase cross-cultural understanding and awareness in their communities. These scholarships have been awarded every year since 1994.

The “Diversity Makes a Difference” awards dinner will be held on Friday, March 28, at the New Hong Kong Restaurant.

The dinner’s keynote speaker will be M. David Santillanes, Jr., president of D. Lark, Inc. a franchisee of McDonald’s Corp operating eight restaurants in Seattle and two in Bellevue.

Santillanes began his training to become a McDonald’s franchisee in 1997. He was certified an owner/operator in the McDonald’s system May 1998 and purchased his first two restaurants in Denver three months later.
After four years in Denver, he relocated to Seattle with the purchase of four restaurants in 2002.
Prior to McDonald’s, David was the president of Vista Verde Corporation, a full-service funeral company in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. He served as director of the Office of Tourism and Travel for the State of New Mexico from 1975 to 1980.

Santillanes is currently a member of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Seattle Association, Seattle Police Foundation Board, and the Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. He also serves on several leadership teams within the McDonald’s system, including president of the Western Washington Operators Association.

David earned his MS in public administration from the University of New Mexico and his BS in business from the University of Albuquerque. He is married with two sons, Russel, of New York City, and Kurtis, currently of Tokyo, Japan.

The emcee for the Diversity dinner will be Tina Young, director of multicultural services at Seattle Central Community College, where she is tasked with implementing services and projects that promote diversity on campus, and conducting research on institutional practices concerning retention and success of students of color and other under represented student populations.

Young has served on the Seattle Women’s Commission, on the board for Living Voices, and has been a long-time member, supporter and fund-raiser for the Wing Luke Asian Museum and Childhaven. (end)

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