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Moving Ahead at Warp Speed
Where did the summer go? It’s the middle of August and it feels like it should be the middle of June. There’s a lot of new planning going on, so as back-to-school announcements dominate, we figured it was a good time for a few reminders.

Who cares if they’re broke, we’re going anyway! The Annual Meeting & Management Workshop takes place February 19-22, at the InterContinental Resort & Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico. More than 30 of your peers are hard at work to build three days of content and networking opportunities, under the leadership of Kevin Clark, CFSP, Scotsman Industries, chair, and Heather Stewart, Cres Cor, and Joe Flaherty, CFSP, Mercer Culinary, vice chairs. Registration opens in September, so watch your email for updates and mark your calendars now.

CFSP rules!!! We’re pleased to report that we have crossed the 1,300-person threshold once again in North America and there are 1,336 hospitality professionals who have earned their CFSP designation. Watch for the Global CFSP website, which will launch by the end of September, and recognizes our program around the world.

Jeb and Marco have nothing on The NAFEM Show! That’s right, planning has begun for The NAFEM Show, February 9-11, 2017, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando. Last week, under the leadership of Terry Hoelle, CFSP, Franke Foodservice Systems, and Rich Packer, CFSP, American Metalcraft, chair and vice chair respectively, the planning committee – Lori Barger, CFSP, Carlisle Foodservice Group; David Ciampoli, Meiko, Jim Drake, Server Products; Mae Fairchild, Hamilton Beach Brands; Gary Mazzone, Elite Global Solutions, Caitlin Rodgers, Manitowoc Foodservice; Diane Scott, Howard McCray; Steve Spittle, CFSP, Pitco; and John Ulrich, CFSP, Rational USA, dove into all the terrific feedback you and our attendees provided and started weighing our options for 2017. Great group generating great ideas!

Information is power! NAFEM’s Business Planning Study has been released to participants (about 120 of our member companies) and will be available to those of you who didn’t participate in 60 days. There’s no better time for a pitch. Our members repeatedly tell us that information is powerful and lacking in our industry. The Market Studies Committee and NAFEM board of directors work hard to design and develop meaningful surveys for members – data to help plan, data to help understand the market, data to help you benchmark operations, data to help you design programs for your associates, data to help NAFEM be an organization that fits your needs – and more. However, it requires your input. We know surveys take time to complete, but you get 5 – not 1 or 2 – 5 priority points. Do you know how quickly you move up your space draw time when you participate in surveys? A survey gets you 5 points – that’s half the points you can get all year. Think about it… it’s really worth it!

Where’s Waldo! Let’s be honest, when you have a new opportunity or a new cell phone number, we realize that NAFEM isn’t the first on your list to get the announcement. But, we want to know – for two reasons. We’d like to share your great news with others in NAFEM online each month, and, we like to be able to reach you and know that your information in our database is current and accurate. You never know, there could be a valuable prize at stake!!!

The good, the bad and the ugly! We do care what you think, listen when you speak, read what you write and respond. Sometimes it’s an answer you’re not fond of, sometimes we don’t have an answer, and sometimes, it can take time because we have to engage others (partners, colleagues, the board or Executive Committee, or a specific committee). We do guarantee one thing – we love to hear from you, welcome your thoughts and ideas, and promise to get you answers!

Sweet home Chicago! Lastly, remember, Chicago is our home because it’s your home. Y’all are just nice enough to let us work there every day. There’s a conference room, offices, office equipment – it’s yours to use, too. In Chicago and need a place to hunker down for a few hours before your next meeting? Looking to bring the team together for a planning session and Chicago seems like a good central spot to meet? Remember NAFEM headquarters is available for your use. We’re right across the street from the train lines to Midway and O’Hare airports. We’ll leave the light on for ya!

Have a great end to summer!

Deirdre T. Flynn, CFSP
NAFEM Executive Vice President