K-12 Blog

July 2013 Annual National Conference (ANC) – Kansas City, MO

Posted: July 30, 2013

Dear SNA Industry Members,

This has been quite an amazing year, and my hat is off to the Association’s Executive Team, SNA Staff and all the Board Members.

If you attended the Annual National Conference (ANC) in Kansas City, I’m sure you felt the buzz of all things that are in play in the K-12 foodservice segment today. I felt the conference was one of the best: There were great education sessions, with a lot of discussion on the right topics, and the Exhibit floor was very busy right up until the end on Wednesday.

I hope many of you had the chance to meet or hear from the Association’s new legislative counsel: Barnes & Thornburg while at ANC. If you didn’t, I’m confident that you will be impressed by their strategic approach to our legislative and regulatory issues going forward.

In one of Sunday’s education sessions, on the subject of State Conferences Industry Perspective Best Practices, our panelists brought up many key issues, prompting a vigorous discussion, with the audience getting engaged quickly in the dialogue. I know you will be hearing much more on this topic, as it is one of the Industry Advisory Board charges for 2013-14.

The issue of USDA’s new interim final rule on competitive foods also generated considerable interest; I know everyone is still trying to determine how it will impact our business with schools. Remember, you have until October 28, 2013, to submit your formal comments on this interim final rule. I strongly suggest that we keep communicating together about this. If something is a challenge for you, I am sure it’s a challenge for all. Let’s get this right before it becomes a Final Rule; no one wants our only recourse to be a fight for changes on Capitol Hill. I know SNA will be reassembling its Competitive Foods Task Force to review the interim rule; please let SNA Staff Vice President of Child Nutrition and Policy, Cathy Schuchart, know if you have questions regarding this regulation.

A high point of the conference was Tuesday’s announcement by Deputy Under Secretary, USDA/FNS Dr. Janey Thornton, SNS, that the weekly maximums for grains and proteins will be gone by December 31, 2013! This will be very helpful to all of us in working with our customers. Thanks to all of you who voiced your concerns about this provision to USDA and your representatives in Congress; it’s a great demonstration of how strong we are when we work as one group!

As most of you know, my term as Industry Representative on SNA’s Board of Directors concluded at the end of ANC. I took over this role in March 2012, upon the resignation of Chris Meinerding. It’s been a great experience for me; the best part has been all the amazing people that I was able to work closely with on a wide variety of issues. What a blessing to be able to call them friends.
Kevin Woods, your new representative on the SNA Board is a good man, and I am confident he will do a great job. But please remember YOUR role, as members, is to keep communication flowing, bringing to his attention your issues and working together with one voice. We still have a lot of heavy lifting ahead of us, but I know we are all up for the challenge.

Thank you for your support during my term.

Have a Great Day!

Gary Vonck
KeyImpact Sales & Systems
SNA Industry Representative

Published in – Industry Insider: News from SchoolNutrition.org Vol. 11, No. 7 – July 30, 2013

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.