Midwest Director's Message

Greetings NACUFS Midwest Region!

The Olympics have come and gone just like our summers! As regional director of the Midwest Region, it was great seeing such great attendance at the National Conference in Anaheim; what an opportunity to IMAGINE, DISCOVER, and EXPLORE!

I am privileged to serve as your regional director this year. I was nominated last fall and elected to serve at our Midwest Regional Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Having said that, nominations will open for the Midwest Director-Elect position on December 1st and are due by February 1st. Remember this will be the only elected position regionally with the new NACUFS governance structure; so, please consider a self-nomination or nominating a peer to serve our region! 

A couple special congratulations are in order: 
In the Culinary Challenge, Charu Chandra Pant, from the University of Notre Dame, Midwest Region was awarded the National Culinary Challenge Winner! A job well done and a delicious Seared Lamb with Red Rice Pilaf! Another thank you goes to Lance Thornton from Principia College for serving as the last President of the Midwest region. His leadership, service, and commitment is valued in keeping our region strong. Finally, a special congratulation to Lisa Krausman from the University of Northern Iowa as she was awarded the Midwest Region Presidents Award!

The regional council has begun communicating regularly by phone each month. The focus this fall has been on implementing the programs and services approved by the Board of Trustees in the 2016 Midwest Annual Plan, completing the 2017 Midwest Region budget, and the 2018 Midwest Regional Conference budget. A special welcome to the regional council to Janet Decker, Membership Committee, from the University of Central Missouri. Finally, Cathy Ness and Verne Scholl from the University of Wisconsin – Madison will be working with the council as our 2018 Regional Conference Co-chairs to ensure we have a great future conference.

The regional council will meet in November at University of Iowa, the site of the 2017 Regional Conference, “The Winning Ticket.” The 2017 conference will be March 19-21, 2017. Jill Irvin and the entire University of Iowa committee are assembling a winning conference. Please look for registration to start in December.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your regional council or myself.
Enjoy your fall semester!

Josh Berg
NACUFS Midwest Regional Director
Associate Director
University Dining Service
University of Wisconsin - Stout

Midwest President's Message

A promising year is predicted for the Midwest Region and the forecast looks super!  I hope your kickoff for 2014 was a great start and now that we are back in session life can return to normal … never! For some it has been a year of change and challenges seamed with new opportunities for growth, but whatever 2013 served up, it is now in the rear-view mirror. Your Midwest NACUFS council is cooking up some fine cuisine in educational opportunities for 2014.

The NACUFS executive committee met in November in Austin, Texas, and worked to generate new ideas for our strategic plan. The new governance committee led by consultant, Michael Gallery met prior to the board meeting enabling us to follow a thorough, deliberative eight-step process that allows us to move forward with an open mind and without preconceived ideas of outcome. Our organization's future is important and this process for planning will give us the opportunity to “get it right”. We have a strong organization and through the investment of time and resources, success, moving forward will be realized.The NACUFS board of directors is energized and committed to progress and I am confident we will succeed and exceed at meeting expectations. In this you play a vital role because we only succeed when we pull together as a unit and I've seen the Midwest Region do it. I would encourage you to take advantage of President Mark LoParco’s blogs—these will keep you in the loop as we change to better our organization and roll out the new strategic plan. Can we all pull together to make us better? YES! Know for a fact our region is rolling forward in 2014! Included below is a brief update on the NACUFS region conference. Look for upcoming announcements regarding new sub-regional opportunities. If you want further information on any of the items listed, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Michigan State University (MSU) is proud to host the 2014 NACUFS Midwest Regional Conference, “Culinary Excellence: Connection to Success.”  Located in East Lansing, Mich., MSU was founded in 1855 and was the first institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture. Nearly 48,000 Spartan students from all 83 counties in Michigan, all 50 states, and 130 countries worldwide live or dine on our campus each year. By 2014, MSU will have nearly completed its Dining Master Plan renovations, and conference attendees will have ample opportunity to visit the new residential dining and retail dining venues across campus. 

Through a partnership with the city of Lansing, the Radisson Hotel (in Lansing near the Capitol) will serve as conference headquarters hotel while a short, covered walk across the beautiful Grand River will take guests to the Lansing Center for interest sessions, an opening banquet and Showcase. Downtown Lansing provides a wide range of locations for the ever-popular late-night NACUFS networking. 

Don’t miss your connection to success—register today.

Please feel free to contact me or any member of the Midwest Council at any time with your questions, comments or concerns.  Please pass this e-mail along to others who are interested at your school.

Warmest regards,

Greg Minner
Purdue University, Director of Dining Services
NACUFS Midwest Region President

Midwest President's Message

Happy New Year, Midwest Voting Delegates!

Those few days enjoying a relaxing holiday to catch up with family and friends was a needed prescription and now a year of fresh beginnings.   Jumping into a new semester and a new year: be resolute in your planning!  Add NACUFS to your, “must do- must see” for 2013. 

NACUFS National: 

  • March 8 Summer Institutes application deadline
  • April 12 Operating Performance Benchmarking Survey deadline
  • April 12 Loyal Horton Dining Awards deadline for Categories 1-5
  • May 31 Northern Experience: Minneapolis 

Your council representatives have diligently planned an excellent event offering options and opportunities for education in the Midwest Region.

Mark your calendars and plan to attend:

  • March 24 -Pre-conference roundtables -  “Back by popular demand” The Midwest region will be sponsoring Nutrition, Retail and Trends – check out the conference registration for more details.
  • March 24-27 -The 2013 Regional Conference in beautiful Columbia, Missouri will make an IMPACT on the Local, Regional and Global opportunities that are available to you as a NACUFS member.  Visit and register at: http://www.nacufs.org/regions-midwest/midwest-conference/  It will impact YOUR 2013.  Conference Chair, Steve Simpson and the Campus Dining Services will nourish you with the Mizzou Spirit.

As we continue to find cost saving and economic ways to provide our college campuses with great dining experiences it is not by chance that you will have an opportunity to take part in some excellent educational seminars just a few miles down the road. 

Our Nutrition committee will be co-sponsoring 3 sub-regionals in 2013:

  • Purdue University – April 9, 2013  - look for registration to open Feb 1.  
  • Eastern Michigan University – May 16, 2013  
  • University of Kansas – November 6, 2013

For those looking at new culinary challenges we will be hosting a sub regional at:

  • The Ohio State University – May 2013

Keep warm, mark your calendars!  Spring is coming soon!

Greg Minner
Purdue University

Ashland University Dining Presents Eagles in the Kitchen

This fall, Ashland University Student Dining joined the Dietetics department to provide a unique opportunity to Ashland University Students. On Monday, November 12, these organizations put on the first “Eagles in the Kitchen” cooking class. The event took place in the dining hall kitchen of the John C. Myers Convocation Center, which is known around campus as “Convo.” At this event, Executive Sous Chef, Kevin Burke, instructed students on how to make a delicious and nutritious entrée that would fit perfectly into any holiday celebration. 

Fifteen students attended the cooking class. Upon arrival, students received a chef’s hat and a purple apron complete with “Ashland University” embroidered on the front. Chef Kevin welcomed the group to the first “Eagles in the Kitchen” event and shared a bit of his background. Then each student shared their name, major, and any cooking experience they had. A few students had previous restaurant experience or grew up cooking holiday meals with mom and dad. One student confessed “I can’t cook” which was her primary reason for attending the event. 

All of the students appeared to be excited to learn how to cook. Junior entrepreneurship major, Andie Kinsley, was looking forward to the event. “I know how to cook simple things-like chicken, but I wanted to know more” Kinsley explained. Nicki Overmyer, a sophomore Digital Media Production major said the event “sounded fun. I thought it would be cool to learn what goes on behind the scenes of convo.”   

After all introductions were made, students separated into four groups and chose a cooking station that consisted of a sauté pan, a cutting board, and all the ingredients students would need. Chef Kevin explained to the group the dish that they would be preparing. The entrée consisted of Apple Cider Chicken with Cranberry Apple Quinoa. His reasoning for choosing this dish was that it was “simple, yet healthy! All you need is a sauté pan!” 

Chef continued on to demonstrate the first step in preparing the dish. Several of the ingredients in the recipe needed to be chopped prior to cooking. Chef demonstrated the correct standing posture and hand placement for cutting with a chef’s knife while chopping several of the ingredients that students needed. Then students were let loose to try out their cutting skills under the watchful eye of Chef Kevin. 

After all the ingredients were chopped and prepared for cooking, Chef Kevin described the process of sautéing chicken. “In French, ‘sauté’ means ‘pop’ or ‘jump’” said Chef. After combining several ingredients in the pan, the students added the quinoa and the remaining ingredients. 

After all the ingredients had been added, the stove temperature was lowered and the dish simmered for about fifteen minutes. During this time, Chef Kevin gave examples of other items that could be a substitute for chicken. In addition, several students were not familiar with quinoa so Chef Kevin explained the taste, uses, and nutritional value of the seed. He also explained several other cooking rules. “What needs to be cooked the longest should be cooked first” Chef Kevin said was one important cooking rule. 

Once the dish simmered, it was ready to eat! Students were eager to taste their creations and you could see the pride on each of their faces as they dug into the apple cider chicken and cranberry apple quinoa. Many of the students said that the dish was “different, but good.” 

“I saw smiling faces at the end of class so it seemed as though the students enjoyed themselves” said senior Dietetics major, Heather Bumbalough. Bumbalough along with junior Dietics Major, Victor Pool, assisted in planning the event. When asked why they wanted to plan an event of this kind, Bumbalough replied “to teach cooking skills and nutrition in an interactive experience.” Pool explained that his goal was “to teach people how to cook because not knowing how to cook is a big problem in our society.” 

Post written by Colleen Martin, Public Relations Intern at Ashland University

Fall President's Message from Greg Minner

Greetings to the NACUFS Midwest Region:

The 2012 Olympics are history and it’s time for FOOTBALL! Hang on tight and punt if you have to. As president of the Midwest Region, I find it an honor to speak with you and express gratitude for all those involved with creating the fantastic excursion we had in Boston; What an opportunity for networking, training and variety of super sessions. Thank You! The conference infused a jolt of fresh ideas and new energy to return to our campuses and Run for the Gold! 

One last note on Boston—Yes, the Midwest region won its share of gold medals. In the Culinary Challenge: Laura Marie Strunk, from the University of Notre Dame, Midwest Region - 1st Place, Gold Medal… Laura, please take another bow!  A job well done and a delicious entrée!  The Loyal Horton Dining Awards a Gold medal to Ashland University for On-line catering menu, Cleveland State and The University of Michigan for their Catering Special Event entries. 

A special thank you goes to Carol Petersen from the University of Northern Iowa for serving as President of the Midwest region. Her leadership, service, and commitment is evident in the great opportunities we have had as a region.  Also, a special thank you to Zia Ahmed, Past President from The Ohio State University, Deanna Park, Education chair from The Ohio State University, Kayleen Vander Veen Culinary Challenge chair from Central College and Karen Adkins, 2012 Midwest Region chair.  Their dedication and service keep our region strong.

A special welcome to the regional board: Barry Greenburg, Treasurer from the University of Iowa, Doni Walker, Education chair from Illinois State University and Steve Simpson, chair 2013 Midwest Regional at University of Missouri.

On the NACUFS National Board for 2013 will be Mike Rice from Michigan State as Guest Director, Terry Waltersdorf from Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary as At-Large Director, Rich Neumann from Ohio University as Secretary/Treasurer and Nona Golledge from University of Kansas as Past President.  Please thank them for their continued service to NACUFS on a national level; they are dedicated to the success of college dining and our region.

Please join with me in extending a warm welcome to our new executive director, Gretchen Couraud, CAE, CFRE. Gretchen has more than 25 years in non-profit and association management, with extensive experience in government relations, issue advocacy, strategic planning, and organizational leadership. She is currently the executive director for the Michigan Library Association (MLA), a position she has held the past seven years.  Gretchen starts November first and will prove to be a positive force as she serves in this position of leadership.  She is third executive director in the association’s 54-year history, and will succeed Joseph Spina, CAE, Ph.D., who is retiring after 22 years of service to the association.

The regional council will meet on November 1-2, 2012 at University of Missouri, Columbia, the site of the 2013 Regional Conference, “IMPACT” Local, Regional, Global.  The 2013 conference will be March 24-27, 2013. A great lineup of General Session Speakers is in the works, the return of Pre-conference roundtables and special Super Sessions. Please look for registration to start in December.

YOU are an integral part of the Midwest Region.  Make an “IMPACT”!  Volunteer.

Greg Minner
Purdue University

Adkins, Allen Receive 2012 President's Awards

The 2012 President's Award winners were presented at the Midwest Region breakfast during the NACUFS National Conference held in Boston this past July.  The recipients of this award were Karen Adkins from Ball State University and Robin Allen from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Past President Carol Petersen said of Karen "She is one of those unsung heroes that go about their work diligently, not letting anyone or anything get in the way of what needs to be accomplished."  Karen's tireless work on the 2012 Region Conference held in French Lick, In was truly "Regional, Redefined" with great speakers, an awesome showcase and culinary challenge, at a truly grand hotel property.  There was no challenge too big to overcome and the hugely successful conference is a testament to her great leadership.

Karen Allen was lauded by these words of Past President Carol Petersen, "What I love most about Robin is her enthusiasm and passion about nutrition, wanting everyone to have access to the correct information and her willingness to do whatever it takes to be sure the information is available to all who desire or need it at our NACUFS member schools."  Robin first "starred" in a NACUFS Nutrition Webinar, then became a member of the regional council as Nutrition Chair and is now chair of the NACUFS National Nutrition Committee.  She has been instrumental in publishing several regional nutrition newsletter.

Congratulations to both Karen and Robin on jobs well done.