A Winning Call

A Winning Call

Last Thursday afternoon, I received a call from John Lehmann of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA).  He casually asked if I were available during the middle of May. I checked my calendar and answered yes. Then John said, “Congratulations, you have been selected to receive one of the 2013 Silver Plate Awards in the category of College and Universities.” He also requested my attendance for several events leading up to the evening of the Gold & Silver Plate Celebration.

I was dumbfounded. The Colleges and Universities category is the most competitive in the Silver Plate awards because there are so many nominations. I was so excited that I rattled off something that sounded like an unprepared Oscar winner’s acceptance speech.  It went something like, “I am honored, and thanks to the jury and IFMA.” I even said, “We can still do better.”  

Since its inception in 1954, the Silver Plate Awards have been one of the foodservice industry's most prestigious honors. They are presented annually by IFMA in nine segments of the industry. Once the Silver Plate awards are selected, a ballot is cast to determine who gets the highest honors, the Gold Plate. The Gold Plate recipient is announced at the celebration, which will be held May 20th in Chicago.

It is such an honor to be selected, and I am so proud to be working for this great university. The support I receive daily has been instrumental to getting UMass Dining to where it is today. Since I received the good news, I have been walking on Cloud 9, and I probably won't come down until after May’s event. I was fortunate to have a great team surrounding me at UMASS that believed in a vision of what I thought was possible.

It is also humbling for me to receive this award, especially since previous winners are such a high-achieving group of professionals. There are also so many individuals who are just as deserving of recognition for the work they do. It's a dream come true for many of us at UMass

There are so many people that I would like to thank, and students (our customers) on the top of my list. You are great supporters of UMass Dining, and we value your comments, suggestions, and encouragement.

To show our appreciation, on Tuesday, March 5, we will host Princeton Review’s “Best Campus Food” dinner event from 5-9 pm at Berkshire. The event will feature five peer schools in addition to our own.  

Come early - I look forward to seeing you there.

This is Ken Toong , thank you for keep UMass Dining at the top.

Blog Category: 
Author Name: 
Ken Toong
Author Title: 
Executive Director Auxiliary Enterprises
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