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Kerbey Lane Cafe's Mason Ayer wins Best CEO award

Congratulations to our CEO, Mason Ayer, who was honored as one of Central Texas' top chief executive officers in the Austin Business Journal's 2026 Best CEO awards last week.

Kerbey Lane Cafe was founded in 1980 by Mason's parents, David Ayer and Patricia Atkinson; he took over as CEO in 2010. Ayer said he owes his success to the values he learned from them, in making sure his team members are treated as people first, and employees second.

“It’s human nature to want to feel important, to feel like what we do really matters, to feel we’re invaluable. These feelings become especially ingrained when we sit at the top of an organization and have a team of people looking to us for guidance and direction. Recognize that we might not always have the answers and that the best ideas often come from the bottom up rather than the top down,” says Ayer.

This year’s award competition had 62 nominees, with the winners chosen by a panel of former Best CEO award recipients.

For more information, read Ayer’s full Q&A with the Austin Business Journal .