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President’s Message – November 2018

“We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail.” ~ Jim Collins, Good to Great

The quote above is from one of my favorite books, Good to Great, by the well-known and greatly respected author, Jim Collins. Good to Great has been heralded as one of, if not the very best written management books, which answers the question why some companies make the leap mentioned in the title, while others fail. If you have not yet already become a disciple of Collins's leadership and management style and approaches, I highly recommend you make the time to do so – it will greatly behoove your company while at the same time providing your business and employees with great professional and personal insights and knowledge.

So, you are probably wondering what the above quote has to do with you and your Association? This quote comes from chapter four of the book and is in reference to one company's efforts to overtake a competitor. It likewise pertains to our efforts as well.

As many of you recall, several years ago we embarked on an effort to tackle one of the biggest issues facing our industry – securing and providing trained technicians. This initiative was needed to overcome an aging workforce of retiring technicians and to address the fact that today's processing and packaging equipment continues to become increasingly more complex, requiring much more extensive formal training. With the attitude of “finding a way to prevail” we initiated the enormously complex task of creating our Food Industry Technician (FIT) Development Program. Pulling together subject matter experts of leading industry companies, we developed and constructed an educational curriculum and the necessary training requirements that would ensure an industry educated, skilled and certified technical workforce. After reviewing potential educational providers with which to join forces, we choose and entered into a contract with a well-known and respected national institution. Unfortunately, after interviewing potential students and securing the location and start date to begin our FIT classes, our educational partner filed for bankruptcy.

However, the effort and story does not end there. Taking up the mantra of “never capitulating“, our Foundation Board was steadfast in their support of our cause to create a first ever national Food Industry Training and Certification Program. Hence, it is with great pride that I inform you that have we secured a national leading education partner to host our FIT pilot program, have successfully recruited students, and our membership has donated equipment so that the program could be initiated. Our first graduating class of students will become FIT Certified Technicians early next year. Additionally, we are now working with our partner to see how we take the lessons learned from our first class of students to both improve the training and expand our program to multiple locations throughout the country.

As the FIT Program evolves, and in order to educate our membership on the FIT Program, I encourage you to visit the FIT website and the Association's website for further information. Likewise, I hope you will be able to participate in our FIT webinar that will be held early in 2019 to learn more about our program.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or at 703/663- 1200 with any questions about the FIT Certification Program or how the Association and Foundation can be of assistance to you.

David Seckman
President/CEO, FPSA