A Message from Your SE Region VP Candidates

American Culinary FederationACF NewsA Message from Your SE Region VP Candidates

Hello Chefs, Culinarians & Colleagues!

Voting is an important part of moving the ACF forward. Please read the special messages below from your two 2015-2017 Southeast Region’s Vice President candidates (listed alphabetically):

Michael Deihl, CEC, CCA, AAC

For decades now our National Presidents have worked very hard to improve and move our organization forward. I truly applaud their efforts as I now have seen firsthand how difficult a job it is, especially as a volunteer position. Where I see the main problem in our system is that we have no continuity in our leadership. Every two or four years we have a new president elected according to our bylaws, and this is where I see our major flaw. We have no consistent plan as each new president does what they believe in their heart is the right direction to take our organization on a road to success. Sounds like a noble thing to do, except we have gone in 10 different directions in the last 30 plus years and we ALWAYS end up back where we started with about 20,000 members give or take. For every new member that joins, we lose 1.2 members and now we have dropped to a little over 17,000 members currently. You do the math, how much longer can this go on. This has affected sponsors perception of us, moral at the local level and frustration among our chapter presidents as many of our chef members are going elsewhere for their needs. In addition, our National Presidents have jobs that they must continue to do as to take care of their families. There just is not enough time in the day to do two full time jobs.

I learned very young that you never talk about a problem without suggesting a solution, so here is one possible answer to utilize the amazing untapped talent in our organization.

  1. Select a full-time paid president that will serve at the behest of an advisory committee which will be made up of one person from each region and two industry experts. The president will stay in office as long as he or she is doing a very good job. Many of us, myself included have been in positions for over a decade which allowed me to grow my kitchen and facility, make great one on one partnerships with purveyors, brokers and sponsors while using those contacts to build a great local chapter. This needs to be done on the national level. Now this lady or gentleman who would be selected after an extensive interview process, must possess the vision, skill and acumen of national and global industry awareness.
  2. Restructure the current National Board of Directors as we know it, to be replaced with two volunteer regional ambassadors from each region appointed by the president and advisory committee. With a full time office staff and regional ambassadors I see no need for a national board of directors. The regional ambassadors should represent the demographics for our industry in these regions.
  3. All elections at the regional and national level will cease under this plan. After 35 years of service to the ACF, the one thing that is obvious to me is that the members dislike almost everything that comes with our election process. I have seen it divide regions, chapters and chefs who once were friends. I whole heartily believe that our political process is the largest thorn in our side, especially when I discuss the ACF with non-members who refuse to join because of, “all of the ACF politics”.

Thanks for your time,

Click to view Michael Deihl’s ACF Candidate profile page.

Jeffrey Rotz, CEC, CCE, AAC

As many of you know, I have accepted the nomination for the office of Southeast Regional Vice President of the American Culinary Federation. For some time I have felt we need to point our great organization in a new direction. I am a realist and understand changes are not easy.  I have been very happy to see some changes being made over the past few years but I believe we need to do quite a bit more. My main goal if elected would to work to increase our membership.  I have always been asked and I always ask the question, “Why are we losing those young members after they complete school? Where are the 25 – 45 year old members?”  I think I understand why we ae not retaining them. First of all let me tell you my story.

In 1969 while in high school, I first started working in the hospitality industry at a resort in Highland Park New York as a bus boy, waiter and you name it for the summer.  The following summer I moved over to another resort in Parkville New York.  There I was a dishwasher and was being trained as a prep cook.  At this point I fell in love with cooking.  I was a confused teenager and was not sure what to do next.  I enlisted in the United States Navy where I became a cook.  The Navy sent me to a 8 week cooking school where I was taught the basics (real basic). After that I reported to my first command, USS Abraham Lincoln SSBN 602.  The Lincoln was one of the first Fleet Ballistic Nuclear Submarines (FBM).  I was assigned as a cook apprentice.  I spent 22 years in the Navy and rapidly progressed through the ranks and retired in 1993 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer serving as the Senior Instructor of the Navy Food Management Team, Mayport Florida.

It was in 1992 when I met an ACF chef, Hal Holanchock, CEC, AAC. Chef Hal took me under his “wing’ and prepared me for life after the Navy.  He explained the importance of the ACF and in 1993 I joined and have been member continuously since.  Chef Holanchock did something then that I think we need to be doing today.  That is taking those young and not so young (like in my case) cooks and chefs and show them the way.  I think we are lacking in that area today.  The ACF chapters are great in helping the community, raising funds for many worthwhile causes, but I believe we are forgetting about taking care of our own.  If it wasn’t for Chef Hal getting me involved with the ACF I would not have been able to be where I am today.  Chef Holanchock helped me refine my culinary skills.  He guided me through my certification. He also told me when I was doing wrong and helped me correct them.  He guided me in the right direction.  I became a Culinary Educator, initially at the Post-Secondary then at the Secondary level.  I was the first professional chef placed in a high school program in Lake County Florida.  I spent 14 years teaching at Eustis High School, and in 2005 I was honored to be chosen as the Lake County School’s Teacher of the Year and competed for the 2006 State of Florida Teacher of the Year.  I retired from teaching in 2011 and have established my own training and consulting business called Chefs Helping Chefs.

If it wasn’t for the ACF and Chef Hal Holanchock, an ACF Chef seeing something in me that I might have not seen in myself I would not be where I am today.  This is what I believe we should doing and other things to show our members and future members the worth of the ACF. If we accomplish this we can move forward into the 21st Century.

Click to view Jeff Rotz’ ACF Candidate profile page.

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