How long have you been a member of SNA?
I have been a local and national member since December 2009. I had just started my new position as director when a colleague suggested that I join. The benefits and rewards were noticeable almost immediately, and I have been grateful for his suggestion ever since.
What is important about school nutrition to you?
The children, plain and simple! We have the ability to provide a child with a nutritious meal while serving them with kindness and a warm heart. It’s not just nutrition; service is an integral part of what we do. People who choose to work in this field have the biggest hearts and the desire to please. The moment you experience “The Feeling,” you know exactly why you chose this profession.
How do you stay engaged with the students?
Simple—I eat with them! Everyone has experienced the honesty of a child and knows that they have no problem telling you what they think about the food; they even make menu suggestions. Our state purchasing program does a great job working with our statewide product testing committee in conjunction with Mississippi Recipes for Success (our online recipe resource) in order to provide the tastiest dishes, making it easy for anyone to use.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever heard?
It was at my first national meeting, the 2012 School Nutrition Industry Conference, and I met a legend in this industry, Jose Quinones, who gave me these simple but powerful words: “Jeremy, you need to get involved.” Ever since, I’ve been involved on the state and national levels.
If you could choose a magic power, what would it be?
To provide every child with a safe and loving family home.
What would you include time capsule to be opened in years?
A School Nutrition magazine, 20/20 vision glasses, a video of me talking about surviving 2020 and some hot sauce!
What’s most important your mental health?
My son Brady, 11, and daughter Ruby Lou, 6, keep me grounded and focused on the best man and father I can.
What would be the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?
Smile, pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming, then m sure I’m breathing. Next, a few phone calls would be in order to a lawyer, financial advisor and my mom to let her know she just retired.
What’s your favorite family tradition?
Traveling to Gatlinburg, Tenn., for a family vacation in the mountains. Renting a cabin, seeing the sites and watching my mom’s endless enthusiasm and childlike excitement looking for the elusive (to her) black bear!
Name some of your goals.
Keep the program financially stable, the staff healthy and feed as many students as possible. Within the next five years, I plan to be using online ordering apps and marketing directly to our customers.