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Our 2007 IFT Annual Meeting & Food ExpoSM in Chicago was an incredible event! It takes a lot of effort behind the scenes to make any event of this complexity and magnitude run smoothly. Many thanks to the IFT staff and our student and member volunteers for making our premier event a resounding success.
I was gratified to see so many members take the time to reconnect with their peers, impressed with the level and diversity of the scientific program, amazed at our industry’s commitment to the Food Expo, and energized with the prospects for the coming year and for returning to the great city of New Orleans for the 2008 Annual Meeting & Food Expo.
I am humbled to take the helm of IFT as your president. I cannot imagine a more exciting time to help lead our dynamic organization. The prospects for this year are even more exciting, knowing that I will share the year with the remarkable leadership team of Past President Dennis Heldman, President-Elect Sheri Schellhaass, and Executive Vice President Barbara Byrd Keenan. We are committed to developing our organization, advancing our profession, and, most important, enhancing the professional reach of our members. IFT’s leadership team exists to serve you.
The profession of food science and technology is faced with an environment of rapid changes, increased uncertainty, and hidden opportunities. IFT exists to uncover such hidden opportunities and equip each of us with the tools needed to navigate through our profession as we know it today, and as we will know it in the future.
To better align the organization with the realities of today and tomorrow and to meet the challenges presented by this environment, dedicated groups of volunteer members and IFT staff have been working over the past two years to shape a new strategic plan and organizational structure. Along with member input, this joint effort resulted in a living and breathing strategic plan that will guide our organization, foster our most valuable programs, services, and resources, and ensure IFT’s future growth.
In this, my first President’s Message, I will highlight some key components of our new strategic plan.
Our mission is simple: The Institute of Food Technologists exists to advance the science of food. Our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply for healthier people everywhere. As an organization, our commitment is to create an inclusive and welcoming community for all food science and technology professionals and provide the knowledge and tools they need to enhance their professional capacity and competency.
To fulfill our mission and ultimately realize our vision, we will focus on four goals:
1. To be the steward of our profession and community, providing learning, networking, and leadership development opportunities that will enable our members to become leaders in the global food science community.
2.To be a research champion and innovation catalyst, working to increase funding for research in food science and technology, other emerging technologies, and for technology transfer efforts to ensure a safe and nutritious food supply.
3. To be an influential advocate and trusted spokesorganization, engaging in advocacy and communication that enhance recognition of our profession and increase understanding and application of the science of food.
4. To be a global citizen and partner, proactively contributing to and partnering with organizations for the global advancement of food science.
Our strategic plan and other organizational documents are available at www.ift.org. I urge you to familiarize yourself with the strategic plan that is shaping our organization and guiding our efforts. Over the next year, I hope to share with you our efforts to use the strategic plan for making decisions and to highlight key areas of progress for achieving our goals and supporting our mission and vision.
Your leadership team is committed to this process and to this plan, but it will take the full support and engagement of our members for the plan to be successful. Our Sections and Divisions are vital in identifying emerging issues in the profession, as well as providing solutions to these challenges. They are "where the rubber meets the road" and thus critical to our success.
I will end my inaugural message with an exhortation and a wish. All of you as IFT members have rights and responsibilities. I urge you to voice your opinions, bring your ideas forward, take seriously the responsibility of advancing the science of food, IFT, and our profession, and become involved. We live in an exciting era, and we will prosper as long as we continue to marshal the ideas and energy of our members.
by John D. Floros,
IFT President, 2007–08 Professor and
Head, Food Science Dept., The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, Pa.