Mark R. McLellan

My year as IFT President, which is now ending, took us on the best roller coaster ride imaginable—and it has only just begun!

We started our ride with a planning process designed to create some of the biggest changes IFT has ever seen. In a nutshell, we were convinced that IFT’s future was tied to the concept of IFT’s being our members’ most indispensable, leading-edge source of programs, services, and experiences. Can we do it? How do we take an organization like IFT and really change it?

In my President’s Page a year ago, I made sure that you understood who was with me on our leadership team. Encouraging the change process and motivating us to stretch was Past President Philip Nelson. Phil presented invaluable foresight in the motivation for change and launching of the strategic planning process. You also got to know the person who will carry on the change process after me, President-Elect Ann Hollingsworth. Ann offered the dedication to bring these changes to fruition with her own vision of an IFT focused on its members.

IFT’s “Three Presidents” team was essential to create the engine of change that will span multiple years. Ann, Phil, and I took this process to heart, and joined by our Executive Vice President Dan Weber, we rode this horse for all our heart. Former, present, and future leaders coalesced to form one entity eager to inaugurate changes and see them through.

A significant restructuring of IFT—described in my article in the July issue—has been created through the vision of some 60 volunteers working on task forces designed to answer one question: How do we change IFT so that what IFT does changes for the better? With new committee structures and motivation set to meet our 5-year goals, we are on the way to being the best resource our members have in the food sciences.

One of the first major changes rolling out this summer will be myIFT.orgSM, a new personalized IFT Web site where every member of IFT will be recognized and receive access to IFT information resources customized to meet their individual needs. Initial stages will be moving online this summer, with developing services expanded in the near future.

This was also the year that IFT staked out a new corner in the food science world—the IFT Research Summits. Two Summits were held earlier this year, each attended by about 40 individuals, all experts in their fields. A report on the Summit addressing research needs regarding bacterial spores and other dormant microbes appeared in the June issue of Food Technology, and a report on the Summit on kinetic models for microbial survival during preservation appears in this issue. The planning process for these leading-edge science discussions was chaired by IFT Past President Daryl Lund and was supported by an array of fine researchers from industry, government, and academia. Watch for the Summits to continue as the place to come up to speed on some of the most crucial and controversial issues of our scientific society.

Just as I took time a year ago to tell you of my leadership partners, it is important now to introduce two new players who will be helping to shape this roller coaster ride we have started and help flesh out this new vision of IFT as its members’ most valuable resource. Herbert Stone joins us as President-Elect II and follows Ann Hollingsworth in our leadership legacy. Herb has been a part of the strategic planning process from the beginning. His leadership experience and creative entrepreneurship join together with a strong sense of commitment to quality as we launch the strategic process. Also joining the leadership team is Barbara Byrd Keenan, our new Executive Vice President. Barbara brings extraordinary experience in association management. She is energetic and committed to helping lead this organization into a new future.

Of course, so much of this simply could not be accomplished without the incredible IFT staff. Change is usually not an easy or comfortable process, but our IFT staff carry it off in style. We owe a lot to those folks, and I hope you will join me in thanking them personally.

Finally, a very special thank-you needs to be said to a very special leader of IFT, Executive Vice President Dan Weber, as he retires this month. He has single-handedly helped to form and shape the incredible strength and capabilities of this organization. IFT was given a gift to have his leadership for all these years. We will all miss you, Dan.

IFT President, 2002–03
Director, Institute of Food Science & Engineering,
Texas A&M University, College Station