2011 Management Development Program Provides Valuable Business Insights

December 31, 2011

Key issues and business practices important to snack food companies and the men and women who lead them now, and perhaps in the future, dominated the 2011 SFA Management Development Program in Dearborn, MI, October 10 and 11.

"We received a lot of great tools," said Michael Mundell, quality assurance manager at Shearer's Foods, Brewster, OH. "There were powerful presentations that provided information and insight that we can take back and put into practice."

A highlight of the conference was a tour of the Better Made Snack Foods plant in Detroit, where attendees saw the production of the company's potato chip, popcorn and potato stick products. The group was welcomed by Better Made President Mark Winkelman, who said the management conference was "a great opportunity to learn and a great way to move our industry forward."

The agenda covered an overview of governmental relations developments by SFA President Jim McCarthy, an update on developments involving acrylamide, a highly popular session on negotiation techniques, an update on the new food safety law and its impact on snack food companies, a dynamic presentation that focused on selecting and managing top level employees, and an insightful discussion on business ethics. Two breakout sessions covered social media opportunities and time management.

"The presentations were right on target to what we as a group need," commented Doug Meyer-Cuno, president, Carolina Ingredients, Rock Hill, SC, a member of the conference planning committee.

As the program came to a close, Scott Smith, president, Shearer's Foods, Inc., and SFA first vice chairman, encouraged attendees to remain as active as possible in the SFA, which he said has been an invaluable resource to him during his 10 years in the industry. "It has been a great place for me to network and learn about trends and issues," he said. Smith outlined the development of Shearer's Foods new manufacturing facility, the first manufacturing facility in the U.S. certified at the LEEDS Platinum level for environmental sustainability.