Why the drinking age is 21
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Ralph S. Blackman
President and CEO of FAAR
Mr. Ralph S. Blackman is currently the President and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, founded in 1991, has received nearly $250 million dollars from the distilled spirits industry to fight drunk driving and underage drinking. Mr. Blackman began his tenure at the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility in 1996 as Vice President for Public Affairs. Currently, Mr. Blackman is responsible for strategic planning, operations, and management of 15 staff members.
In 1992, Mr. Blackman was appointed by President George Bush as the Assistant Administrator for Private Enterprise within the U.S. Agency for International Development. Mr. Blackman oversaw a staff of 100 professionals, a program budget of nearly $40 million, and a $220 million portfolio of U.S. government loans designed to stimulate growth in developing countries around the world. Mr. Blackman represented the agency on the President's Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee and at meetings of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Prior to joining the Bush Administration, Mr. Blackman founded Public Access Inc., a corporate relations firm headquartered in Washington, DC. As President of the firm, Mr. Blackman and his staff provided public affairs and international trade-related assistance to clients interested in business ventures abroad. Blackman and the firm were responsible for facilitating the creation of the first nationwide chain of franchised computer outlets in Hungary.
In 1986, Mr. Blackman was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the Associate Director of the White House Conference on Small Business. In addition to organizing conferences held in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Mr. Blackman was responsible for liaison with congressional leaders and federal agencies, and supervised the preparation of the Final Report to the President.
In 1981, Mr. Blackman joined the Republican National Committee where he held the positions of Local Elections Field Representative, Regional Political Director and Director of Business Programs.
From 1976 to 1980, Mr. Blackman served the Governor of Illinois as a Legislative Assistant and the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives with the responsibility for economic and business development issues.
Mr. Blackman is an alumnus of Leadership Washington. He also sat on the Faberge Arts Foundation Advisory Board, was a member of the Dept. of Commerce's Industry Sector Advisory Committee for Small Business and Trade Policy, and served on the "Competing in the Global Marketplace" council of the National Policy Forum. Mr. Blackman was recognized by the University of Illinois Alumni Association with the 2014 Alumni Achievement Award.
An Illinois native, Mr. Blackman graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Western Illinois University. In 1976, he completed his Master of Arts degree in public administration from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Mr. Blackman recently received his Mixologist Diploma from the Professional Bartending School in Arlington, VA.