K-12 Blog

April 2014 42nd Legislative Action Conference (LAC) – DC

Posted: April 10, 2014

A Message from Your Industry Representative

It is great to be back as your SNA Industry Representative on the Board of Directors. I enjoyed seeing many of you a few weeks ago at the Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C. I felt the discussions we had there as a group were very important in bringing to light the work we still have in front of us. All of us—SNA, its members and industry—need to be working together as one, and a great example of how this works is the way we as one group “charge the Hill” at LAC. One group, one message! The 2014 SNA Position Paper on Federal Child Nutrition Programs makes our message clear on key issues, in particular more program flexibility that will promote program sustainability.

I know there are factions in Washington that believe industry is only out for themselves, and as I have stated publicly numerous times, we are for-profit organizations, and we must make our margins to continue to be solvent in this channel. The scary day would be if many companies exit the channel, as you need to have a competitive environment to be affordable. After the last session at LAC, some other attendees and I were approached by a reporter from Politico. Read the resulting article, including my comments, here.

As you read this, many of us will be attending SNA’s National Leadership Conference (NLC) in St. Louis. Our presentation, “Effective Practices for Hosting State Conferences,” will include exhibitors’ perspectives and guidelines for successful partnerships with industry members at the state level and will be presented twice on Saturday to the incoming state leaders. This was one of SNA President Leah Schmidt’s Industry Advisory Board charges for 2013-14. In our very changing environment, these practices will truly be a “working document,” with the most important message remaining “Industry will spend to the value.” This White Paper that will be shared is a culmination of many discussions, breakout sessions at NLC and the Annual National Conference (ANC) and working with American Commodity Distribution Association and an ad hoc task force pulling it all together. Please keep your ideas coming.

As we head into the end of the school year, a flurry of state conferences and ANC in Boston, I ask you all to ask yourself a few questions. What is my legacy? Am I making a difference? What can I do to help the school nutrition programs in our country? This world is looking for people who want to make it a better place, and there isn’t a better place to put your energy than working for the health of our kids. If you want to be more involved, just raise your hand and step forward.

Thanks for all you do every day!

Gary D. Vonck
KeyImpact Sales & Systems
SNA Industry Representative

Published in – Industry Insider: News from SchoolNutrition.org Vol. 12, No. 4 – April 10, 2014

About the Author:


Gary Vonck

VP - Education Division

Gary Vonck has been with KeyImpact since 2007, adding to an impressive 40-year foodservice career. His knowledge and passion for child nutrition are unsurpassed. Gary oversees the Education Division, which includes sales, bid, and commodity teams across the entire nation.

Gary is an active member of the SNA and was the first and only broker/agency representative on the School Nutrition Association’s Industry Advisory Board, as the appointed Industry Representative, in 2008 and again 2014. Gary has also served on numerous SNA Task Forces and co-chaired several SNA events. Gary was also on the NSFMI national advisory council. In January 2013, Gary was awarded the Silver Friend of Child Nutrition FAME Award.

Gary Vonck is based in Illinois and can be reached at gvonck@kisales.com.