ANC 2015: NFL Hall of Fame Alum Howie Long, Award Winners and the Exhibit Hall Opens—Oh My!


Thousands of excited, energized school nutrition professionals from across the nation gathered on Sunday, July 12, in the Salt Palace Convention Center anxious to EXPLORE, DISCOVER, and be INSPIRED at SNA’s 69th Annual National Conference (ANC).NFL

More than 5 ,000 [SNA1]  members and participants have arrived in Salt Lake City since early Saturday, when pre-conference education sessions began. Sunday afternoon marked the official start of the event with the Opening General Session. After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem from local 14-year-old student Aria Grace, the Association’s Board of Directors, state presidents, state agency directors and past presidents were introduced to attendees.

Next, SNA President Julia Bauscher, SNS, thanked this year’s industry sponsors whose support helps make ANC an exciting and rich event, including Jennie-O Turkey Store, for their sponsorship of the Opening General Session and the STEPS Challenge. [SNA2]  Additionally, Bauscher acknowledged the 2014-2015 President’s Award of Excellence recipients—Sue Helm, School Nutrition Association of Wyoming; Sherry Pearson, School Nutrition Association of Oklahoma; and Stephanie Dillard, SNS, Alabama School Nutrition Association.

Thunderous applause could be heard throughout the ballroom when Bauscher reported that SNA strengthened its ranks in the form of many new and enthusiastic members this past year. In fact, SNA membership remains the highest it’s been in more than a decade.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Deputy Under Secretary Katie Wilson, PhD, offered remarks on behalf of the agency, thanking school nutrition attendees for their hard work and commitment to kids. Bauscher and SNA’s CEO Patricia Montague, CAE, provided a recap of some of the Association’s highlights and milestones of the past year, including focusing on the core competencies of professional development and advocacy to grow and move the association forward. 

After an informative state of the Association recap, SNA recognized the membership recruiter of the year—Joan Montgomery from Tuscaloosa County, Ala., as well as the grand-prize winner of the 2014-15 Membership Campaign—Peggy Nakamato from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Next, Bauscher introduced the keynote speaker NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame recipient Howie Long. Since 1994, Long has been a staple as an Emmy-winning studio analyst on the award-winning “FOX NFL Sunday.” He was regarded as one of the most feared defensive players in the history of the NFL as a member of the Oakland Raiders for 13 seasons. 

Long delighted the audience by participating in an informal, one-on-one “chat” with Bauscher in what she jokingly labeled “The Julia Show.”  Questions ranged from Long’s favorite food item as a kid and now – milk – to his philosophy on life, “Learn from yesterday…move on to tomorrow!” When asked for his Super Bowl 2016 picks, Long couldn’t decide between the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams and the Oakland Raiders—coincidentally the three teams his sons play for. Attendees got in on the action as well by texting in their own questions. 

Today, the ANC Exhibit Hall opens for business. It’s the largest exhibit hall in the school nutrition industry—and this year it houses nearly 850 booths. Plus, it boasts some noteworthy special events, such as the new Big Reveal stage, Culinary Demonstrations and the Wellness Village.

Once the doors open, the excitement level will be at an all-time high as attendees check out the latest food and beverage items on the market, plus supply, equipment and service solutions, software/hardware technology and nutrition education resources. And everyone is enjoying sampling a wide variety of foods and beverages on display, including gluten-free selections, whole-grain products, lowfat and low-sodium items, fruits and vegetables, nutritious snacks and much more.

ANC is all about learning, and attendees came prepared to take advantage of 90+ education sessions over the course of the conference. The final USDA Professional Standards rule for annual training of foodservice directors, managers, school nutrition staff and state agency directors was effective July 1, 2015. 

Sunday’s education schedule included standing room only sessions, such as the Richard B. Russell Leadership Series: “Leadership: Is Not Acquired, It Is Earned!” and “Professional Standards for School Nutrition Are Here. Are You Ready?” Monday’s buzz-worthy sessions include the “2015 Legislative Update” and “Driving Employee Engagement.”

Are you a fan of Facebook? Do you tweet? Join in on the conference-related conversations happening now on SNA’s Facebook page and @SchoolLunch on Twitter. You can also add hashtag #ANC15 to your own tweets to have yours show up in the conference Twitter stream.

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