Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award


NACUFS has named Janet Despard of the University of Northern Iowa as the recipient of the 2018 Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest individual honor.

Originally established in 1967 as the Distinguished Service Award, the award was renamed in 1973 to honor the first recipient, Theodore W. Minah. The award is presented annually in recognition of exemplary and enduring contributions to the foodservice industry and to the association. The NACUFS board of directors and council of past presidents select the recipient from among nominations submitted by the NACUFS membership.

Janet's career in college and university foodservice began in 1993 as a Catering Supervisor. She later moved into the role of Residential Dining Manager, then Associate Director, and finally to Director in 2004. Janet has demonstrated mission-centered leadership characterized by continuous improvement that supports the departmental and college strategic plans.     

Janet has made numerous contributions to NACUFS including regional president, national president, board member, and numerous committee participation. She has also been actively involved in allied foodservice industries, such as the National Restaurant Association, the School Nutrition Association, the American Dietetic Association, and a bi-state advisory group that works to improve access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food for all residents. Janet has been a leader in departmental sustainability initiatives. She has also developed, and continually supports, high-functioning managers and supervisors capable of working effectively in team settings as well as independently. Janet's major focus and passion has always been employee development and mentorship.  

In her free time, Janet volunteers weekly at hospitals, nursing homes, health fairs, and church and school events. Janet received the award on Thursday, July 12 at NACUFS 2018 National Conference in Providence, RI.  

About the Award

The Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor that NACUFS can bestow. The selection of a person deserving such an honor is based on contributions both to NACUFS and to the foodservice industry. The winner and their guest receive transportation to/from the national conference, including airfare and ground transportation between the airport and hotel, complimentary conference registration, and a hotel room for the duration of the conference. 



Past Winners 

2017 Rich Neumann, 2016 Dennis Pierce, 2015 Jon Lewis, 2014 Sharon Coulson, 2013 Sam Bennett, 2012 Russ Meyer, 2011 Sister Maureen Schrimpe, 2010 R. Cameron (Cam) Schauf, 2009 Art Korandanis, 2008 Jane Grant-Shambaugh, 2007 Mona Milius, 2006 Dave Prentkowski, 2005 Diane "Dee" Hardy, 2004 Brian Klippel, 2003 Julaine Kiehn, 2002 Frank X. Gladu, 2001 Dean A. Wright, 2000 John Pence, 1999 Jamesena Miller, 1998 William May, 1997 Len Hodgson, 1996 Shirleta Benfield, 1995 Mary Molt, 1994 Elaine Bellew, 1993 D. Ronald Inlow, 1992 Margaret Lacey, 1991 Frank Weissbecker, 1990 Larry Barrett, 1989 Donald M. Jacobs, 1988 Norman Hill, 1987 John Robinson, 1986 Theodore Smith, 1984 Paul Fairbrook, 1983 Wells Cloward, 1981 Jean Riggs, 1980 Douglas Richie, 1979 Eleanor Alexander, 1978 Joe Blair, 1977 Fred Dollar, 1976 Clark DeHaven, 1975 John Birchfield, 1974 Loyal Horton, 1973 Herman Zaccarelli, 1972 John Friese, 1971 Robert Buchanan, 1970 George Prillaman, 1969 Donald Greenaway, 1968 Richard Lichtenfelt, 1967 Theodore Minah

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