NACUFS Awards Recognize Campus Dining Professionals

On November 18, 2021, during a virtual award ceremony, the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) honored individual and organizational members for their outstanding service to the association.

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The Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor NACUFS bestows upon an individual in recognition of their outstanding and enduring contributions to NACUFS and the foodservice industry. Each year, following a nomination process, nominees are evaluated. One recipient is selected by the NACUFS board of trustees and past presidents to receive this prestigious award.

The 2021 Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award recipient is Zia Ahmed, senior director, dining services, The Ohio State University (pictured).

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Zia Ahmed
Senior Director, Dining Services
The Ohio State University

“I am extremely grateful for the gift of people from across this globe who contributed to my life. I continue to be a work in progress with many more opportunities to learn and grow,” said Zia upon acceptance of this honor. “Every day is a gift. Thank you for making mine very special with this award.”

As a member of NACUFS, Zia has served as Midwest Region President, Professional Practices Review Team chair, Strategic Planning Team member, Dining Awards chair, Midwest Regional Conference chair, Elevating Dining Services Project team member, National President-Elect, National President, and the Governance Work Group member. In addition, he is a Midwest Distinguished Service Award winner, a Richard Lichtenfelt Award winner, and is currently serving as the NACUFS 2022 National Conference Task Force chair.

Within his nomination, peers gave accolades noting Zia’s commitment to diversity, outstanding leadership, and being a well-known, well-respected voice for the industry. One noted, “Zia masterfully weaves people and projects together as he builds and empowers teams that continue to innovate, force change, educate, mentor, and be a leader in college and university dining.”

The David R. Prentkowski Distinguished Lifetime Member Award honors an individual who has retired from a college and university foodservice leadership position or other position that supported the betterment of college and university foodservice. The 2021 David R. Prentkowski Distinguished Lifetime Member Award recipient is Terri Moreman, former director of food and nutritional services, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The Richard Lichtenfelt Award honors individuals who have provided outstanding contributions to NACUFS at the national level. The 2021 Richard Lichtenfelt Award recipients are Kimberle Badinelli, business advisor/consultant, Hospitality Systems, LLC; Steve Mangan, senior director Michigan Dining, University of Michigan; and Patti Klos, director of dining and business services, Tufts University.

The Daryl Van Hook Industry Award honors an industry member who has provided educational support, product innovation, and outstanding service to our association. The 2021 Daryl Van Hook Industry Award recipient is Barbara Kane, former AVP -industry relations, Ecolab, Inc.

NACUFS Grand Prize Dining & Sustainability Awards

Also at the November 18 ceremony, NACUFS announced its 2020 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards and Sustainability Awards grand prize winners. These awards are named after a NACUFS founder, past president, and highly regarded innovator, celebrate members’ innovative ideas and implementation of programs.

Fifty-eight member institutions across North America submitted entries. In June, the award winners were announced. Institutions who won gold within the same category are then judged against one another to determine a grand prize winner. Winning one of these prestigious awards helps market one’s dining program and builds a sense of pride and team spirit among dining staff. Sharing creativity and knowledge with other foodservice professionals is a key component of NACUFS membership.

The grand prize winners for the 2020 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards are:

Residential Dining Concepts Grand Prize: Celebrates any residential dining concept housed with an all-you-care-to-eat facility, regardless of meal plan type. The grand prize winner is the University of Ottawa.

Residential Dining Facility Grand Prize: Celebrates any all-you-care-to-eat residential dining facility, regardless of meal plan type. The grand prize winner is Michigan State University.

Residential Dining/Special Event Grand Prize: A unique event that takes place outside of a typical dining program, such as a festival, holiday celebration, or recognition. The grand prize winner is Virginia Tech.

Retail Sales – Single Concept/Multiple Concepts/Marketplace Grand Prize: A retail location on campus that has innovative features and techniques. The grand prize winner is Washington University in St. Louis.

Catering/Special Event Grand Prize: A campus event that was executed with notable touches and had an original feel to it. The grand prize winner is Boston College.

Catering/Online Menu Grand Prize: A distinct, special menu used for catered occasions on campus. The grand prize winner is California Polytechnic State University.

NACUFS Sustainability Award Grand Prize: The Sustainability Awards recognize leadership in promoting and implementing environmental sustainability as it relates to collegiate dining operations. The awards celebrate the pivotal role dining services have in the overall environmental sustainability and social responsibility goals of a campus. The grand prize winner is the University of Oregon.

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