Margaret A. Lawson

IFT is committed to sound science leadership and to evolving into a flexible, nimble, and dynamic professional organization. One key component to remaining a leader in sound science is to be at the forefront of identifying emerging issues and trends within our profession. IFT needs leaders who can identify these emerging issues and trends and successfully direct members into new frontiers within food science and technology.

Earlier this year, through our call for nominations for IFT’s national election, we reached out to our entire membership to identify these member volunteers. I am proud to report that through our successful online nominations process, we increased our pool of qualified candidates by five times over last year.

Our Nominations & Elections Committee members, under the dedicated leadership of Committee Chair Bruce Stillings, have worked tirelessly to develop our ballot of distinguished volunteer candidates, which we will officially announce in early 2006. These candidates possess exemplary leadership qualities, demonstrate a true commitment to IFT and its related professional organizations, and have an extensive background in the food science and technology profession.

Two of the candidates will run for President-Elect, four for Membership Representative to the Executive Committee, and four for Councilor Representative to the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee, IFT’s primary governing board, sets the future direction of IFT and ensures the availability of resources to direct IFT programs and services. The Executive Committee comprises the President, President-Elect, Past President, six representatives of the IFT membership who are not Councilors, and six representatives from the IFT Council. As Chief Elected Officer and Chair of the Executive Committee, the IFT President is the primary steward of the strategic vision and plan leading IFT forward. Council Representatives must be individuals who have served as a Councilor or Alternate Councilor within three years of their nomination to the Executive Committee. Each of IFT’s elected leaders serve three-year terms to ensure continuity, oversight, and ongoing progress of his or her critical volunteer work.

Our recent move to electronic elections will continue to serve our members around the globe by enhancing communication and overall awareness of the leadership opportunities available within IFT. This online process underscores IFT’s continued commitment to proactively building community and supporting our food science and technology colleagues.

All IFT Regional Sections, Divisions, and the IFT Student Association are invited to hold their 2006 elections online also, in conjunction with the IFT national election—a tremendous cost- and time-saving endeavor. For these elections to be held online, information on candidates must be provided to Kristen Distelhorst at [email protected] by no later than January 27, 2006. Please submit the following: plain-text ballot, plain-text biography of not more than 200 words, and electronic color photo (72 dpi, 150 pixels wide, jpeg file format) for each candidate. Any questions regarding electronic elections should be directed to Gail Wiseman at [email protected] or Lori Conley at [email protected].

From March 1 through April 1, 2006, IFT members may cast their ballots from any Internet-connected computer anywhere in the world. To vote using this online process, you will visit a secure Web site providing all candidate background information. Access will be restricted by a required login, and usernames and passwords will be verified to ensure single and unique votes. The confidential votes will be tabulated automatically, and a report of the results will be issued by IFT at the close of the election.

You will learn more about the online elections within the next few months as we use all IFT communication vehicles to make members aware of this new process. We ask for your help in spreading the word within our community and in ensuring that we have accurate e-mail addresses in our database system. E-mail is the best way to direct members to the voting Web site. If you have a new e-mail address, go to, click on Membership and Member Center, and update your profile.

I look forward to sharing with you the names, expertise, and experience of our talented candidates for our national election as soon as our ballot is finalized. Thank you in advance for casting your vote in the IFT member volunteer elections in March 2006. Your important vote can help to shape the promising future of IFT. 

by Margaret A. Lawson,
IFT President, 2005–06 
Technical Services Manager, T. Hasegawa USA, Cerritos, Calif.
[email protected]