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2015/2016 President's Report

2015/2016 President's Report

Dr. Hosahalli (Swamy) Ramaswamy

First of all I would like to start this report by thanking all the volunteers from all of our various sections for the hard work and dedication that makes this organization possible. As you know, CIFST is a truly volunteer-based organization. It may surprise some people to know that CIFST Executive Director Carol Ann Burrell is CIFST’s only full-time staff resource. Two Sections have part-time administrators, but the others are all entirely volunteer-run. Close to 200 members volunteer for CIFST regionally and nationally. Some of you might know, CIFST was founded in 1951, and since then CIFST has been the Canadian principal organization that links food science professionals across the country and across different sectors: industry, government and academia.

After we hosted a very successful IUFoST World Congress in Montreal in August 2014, we held a national conference in February, again quite successful, in Burnaby, British Columbia. Bringing together a diverse assembly of food industry professionals has been CIFST's hallmark, and CIFST2016 certainly delivered on this front. The conference hosted 201 attendees from Canada and US, with 60 percent coming from outside of BC. The theme - What’s On Your Plate? – Healthy, Sustainable, Profitable? – was captured in the delivery of meaningful and valuable content through high quality workshops, technical sessions and plenary presentations. A key highlight of CIFST2016 was CIFST’s partnership with Pulse Canada in hosting the national Mission ImPULSEible student food development competition, where six teams competed for the opportunity to present their product at the global pulse competition in July. Many thanks to a large and talented Conference organizing committee, and especially the Committee Chair Jenny Tian who was quite dynamic and very effective.

CIFST has five Scientific Expert Panels which rely on the expertise of more than two dozen volunteer experts as panel members. In addition to responding to media requests, we are looking forward to engaging SEP members and drawing on their technical and scientific knowledge to contribute to a variety of CIFST’s activities, including writing white papers, presenting webinars, and contributing to Canadian Food Insights magazine.

For the first time, CIFST honoured and highlighted the 2015 Institute Award recipients in a popular volunteer-produced video presentation shared through CIFST’s digital and social media channels.

With respect to membership, we could and certainly do better. So far in 2016, CIFST is seeing a slight upwards trend in membership, but more is required. Membership renewals were bolstered by a strong Membership Renewal Committee, again chaired by Milana Abramovich. Members of the board, led by President-Elect Mike Nickerson, spent a lot of time looking to what we could do to further bolster our membership numbers, identifying many important areas to consider which would highlight benefits to members in order to attract more members. If you know anyone who hasn’t renewed, please encourage them to do so. Membership comes with a wide range of benefits, so it is certainly a good bargain. I would like to thank Allan Paulson, a Past President of CIFST, for all of his efforts in promoting CIFST and representing CIFST at various levels.

Executive Director Carol Ann Burrell has been working closely with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) to explore and expand collaboration among our associations, with the goal of enhancing membership benefits and features – stay tuned for more info as we enter the next academic year of CIFST. Sections have also been encouraged to explore opportunities to collaborate and partner with regional groups, as part of an overall strategy to enrich member value.

CIFST National and Sections are fortunate to have the support of many sponsoring and advertising companies for Directions weekly Newsbrief, Canadian Food Insights magazine, the National Conference, regional supplier nights, networking events and section newsletters, among others. Thank you to these valued supporters. I would like to thank Ann Manley for her efforts in making CFI successful.

Sections are the face of CIFST, offering regional technical programming, student development, sales and networking opportunities, and technical tours, among a variety of other activities. It is my pleasure announce the formation of the CIFST Saskatchewan Section. Thanks to our President-Elect Mike Nickerson for leading the process.

President-Elect Mike Nickerson will provide a detailed financial report for 2015/16, but I would like to emphasize that the Institute is in fine financial shape, which will allow us to move forward with confidence as we continue to implement our strategic plan. I would like to thank Executive Director Carol Ann Burrell for her diligence in maintaining a close eye on all things financial and the many hours working closely with the auditors for the past few months.

I am very pleased to report that CIFST DIRECTIONS and Canadian Food Insights magazine are increasing in popularity and should help to both retain and increase membership. If you haven’t visited the CFI website, I encourage you to do so. It is www.canadianfoodinsights.com. There is something for everyone - news, reviews, interviews, special reports, opinions, and more. A job well done, and indeed it is becoming a highly regarded publication within the sector. 

Planning for the 2018 National Conference is underway, with a committee formed to look at an appropriate venue and theme. We are looking for input from sections and from volunteers to make this next Conference a success.

I would like to thank the Saskatchewan Section for hosting the AGM and organizing the Saskatchewan Section mini-conference. I would also like to thank the Board of Directors of CIFST for the wonderful cooperation they have given me in doing my job for this whole year. Together, we have tried to handle the tasks in an effective and cooperative manner.

Swamy Ramaswamy presenting the President's Report at the Annual General Meeting on June 20, 2016 in Saskatoon, SK.

Swamy Ramaswamy is presented with a Past President's pin by incoming President Mike Nickerson.

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        This page was last updated on 2016-06-23 2:04:44 PM