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IFDA Holds Successful Forum; Members Re-elect Directors

WASHINGTON, DC - Members of the International Foodservice Distributors Association re-elected a number of existing board members during the Annual Membership Meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 1, in conjunction with the IFDA Partners Executive Forum, according to the Falls Church, VA-based association.

At the same session Sen. John Thune, (R-SD), who defeated Sen. Tom Daschle in the 2004 elections, addressed IFDA members on priorities for the 109th Congress, including permanent estate tax repeal, tort reform, association health plans, and social security reform.

Six board members were re-elected to three-year terms on the IFDA Board of Directors. These include:
  • Etienne Snollaerts, chief executive officer of Smart & Final, Inc.;
  • James E. Kite, Jr., president, Ellenbee-Leggett Company, Inc.;
  • Terance S. Walsh, Sr., senior vice president & CAO, Maines Paper & Food Service, Inc.;
  • Donald Suber, vice chairman of the board, Merchants Foodservice;
  • Roger Toomey, chief executive officer, UniPro Foodservice, Inc.; and
  • Robert Aiken, executive vice president, Strategy and Governance, US Foodservice, Inc.

    In related news, a new board has been established for the IFDA Foundation for Education and Research and is chaired by Al Gaylor, assistant vice president, Industry Relations at SYSCO Corporation. During the session, Gaylor provided an overview of current work by the Foundation, which included a number of benchmark studies, regulatory guidance reports, and a 2005 strategic study addressing foodservice growth and opportunities in the 21st century.

    Gaylor also announced a new six-month Capital Campaign that will help fund existing projects, will provide funds so that the foundation can rapidly react to new opportunities, and will, over time, help make the IFDA Foundation for Education & Research self-sustaining.

    Mark Allen, president and ceo, spoke about the current status of the U.S. Department of Transportation Hours of Service Rule. The rule, which went into effect more than a year ago, has had significant ramifications for foodservice distributors.

    "The negative impact of the new rule has been multifold. It has forced distributors to hire more drivers, re-work routes, add additional trucks to service customers, and has put pressure on receiving inbound freight. Our current priority is to work with Congress to enact legislation to add greater flexibility by allowing up to two hours of additional off-duty time - such as meals and rest breaks - during the driver's work period," said Allen.

    "Due to a Federal Appeals Court decision overturning the rule, the Department of Transportation has issued a proposal to revise the rules and we are concerned that this might result in even tighter restrictions. We are currently preparing industry comments for the new proposal," stated Allen, who urged IFDA Members to participate in upcoming grassroots efforts to help educate lawmakers on the impact of the new rule.

    Overall meeting attendance at the IFDA Partners Executive Forum reached record highs in 2005 with a total increase of 14% in active participants compared with 2004. Representation by IFDA distributor companies reached gains of 10% and supplier companies attending the meeting increased by 4%. The total number of companies attending the forum, which features top-to-top strategic meetings between trading partners, included 51 distributor companies and 51 supplier companies. Since 2003, the first year of IFDA's status as a freestanding trade organization, attendance at the conference has increased by nearly 50%.

    McCain Foods USA was honored as the 2004 IFDA Supplier of the Year during a presentation at the IFDA Partners Executive Forum. The presentation was made by IFDA Chairman J. Michael Roach, president of Ben E. Keith Foods of Fort Worth, Texas, and Allen. Frank van Schaayk, president and ceo, Potato Business at McCain Foods USA, Oak Brook, IL, and Peter Reijula, president, McCain Snack Foods, received the award on behalf of the company.

    Read about IFDA's initiatives and the new Center for Distribution Excellence in an interview with Mark Allen, president of the International Foodservice Distributors Association, Falls Church, VA, in the Feb. 11 edition of ID Report

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