By Matt Cael
It has been my pleasure to serve as your 2012-2013 IFTSA President. It was great to meet many of you at the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago. I would like to extend a big thank you to the 2012-2013 IFTSA Board of Directors and Competition Chairs. Without your extreme dedication and hard work, this year would not have been possible. I would also like to send my best to your IFTSA Past President, Jennifer Willig. Thank you for your leadership, encouragement, and most importantly, friendship, during our last five years together in IFTSA. I wish you the best of luck in the future as you begin your career.
We have had a busy year as an organization and have experienced many changes internally that are designed to create a better membership experience. Our first big initiative was to look at the structure of the IFTSA Area Meetings. We realized that some areas participate in a rotation schedule that allows different universities to host the area meetings, while others use some other type of structure depending on their geographic and fiscal constraints. The IFTSA Board of Directors developed the Area Meeting Host Protocol to ensure that we are providing our members with a valuable and enjoyable Area Meeting Experience. We also created a standardized introduction presentation for our Area Meetings to use as well. This included a video introduction from IFT President John Ruff and myself, information and happenings from across the world of IFT and IFTSA, as well as local information for your area. We hope that these enhancements created a memorable experience.
This year IFTSA also started to look at the global possibilities for our organization. We have initiated a pilot program with Middle East Technical University in Turkey to explore what an international chapter of IFTSA could look like. The IFTSA Board will be working directly with the METU advisors and student leaders to learn how their organization currently runs, and how IFTSA can help grow the world of food science. Stay tuned for more information as the year progresses.
Finally, we have initiated a conversation about the future of IFTSA competitions by creating a task force to review our current competitions and look towards the future. The task force is well underway with their review and I am looking forward to hearing their thoughts.
Throughout my years of involvement in the leadership of IFT, I have had the opportunity to see IFT take amazing risks and reap equally amazing rewards as an organization. I encourage all of you to get involved with IFT in any capacity that you can. The network and friends you create here will last a life time, and the skills you develop transfer directly into your career. The experience has been invaluable to me and has helped me to transition in to the industry as I begin my career. I will be in charge of IFTSA Nominations and Elections for the 2013-2014 year, and will start sending out reminders for nominations this fall. If you have any questions, or are interested in running or being appointed for a leadership position, please to do not hesitate to reach out to myself, or any of the IFTSA Board of Directors for more information.
Again, I truly thank you for the opportunity to serve as a leader in IFTSA and to represent such an amazing group of talented individuals on the IFT Board of Directors. I look forward to seeing you all in New Orleans at the 2014 IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo June 21-24, 2014.