SPECIAL FEATURE: NAFEM talks advocacy with new board

Rob Connelly, CFSP

President

CEO, Henny Penny Corporation

Richard Packer, CFSP

President-elect

President, American Metalcraft

At its February Annual Meeting and Management Workshop. NAFEM welcomed new board leaders, President Rob Connelly, CFSP, CEO, Henny Penny Corporation, Eaton, Ohio, and President-elect Rich Packer, CFSP, President, American Metalcraft, Franklin Park, Ill.

Advocacy Update sat down with Rob and Rich to learn more about their views on NAFEM’s advocacy initiatives.

Editor: Obviously, the main issue on everyone’s mind is the COVID-19. What is NAFEM doing for members during this time?

Rob: This crisis illustrates the value of our association as a resource for helping us through good and bad times. In the article above, we introduce three new COVID-19 resources for members, a daily webcast, regular email updates and a private Facebook group where members can share their learnings and ask questions. Please make it a priority to join us. We’re all learning together as this situation constantly unfolds.

Rich: And don’t forget to let us know what you need and how else we can help!

Editor: Members have asked NAFEM to provide a larger voice in regulatory matters. Why do you think this is important?

Rob: NAFEM members support foodservice, one of North America’s largest industries, which faces increasing regulation. Our advocacy work, which is about policy, not politics, is already important and becoming more so. It’s our role to elevate issues that impact our members and work to break down barriers that negatively impact member companies.

Rich: Most NAFEM members are small- to midsize companies and don’t have advocacy support within their businesses. By coming together to amplify our voices through NAFEM’s efforts, we’ve seen the results. Policy makers now consider and even seek out our industry’s perspective.

EditorWhat do you see as the most pressing issues facing NAFEM members in the next couple of years?

Rob: There are many and we share updates on this work each month in this Advocacy Update e-newsletter. We are especially concerned when individual states start considering new policies that make it difficult for our members to operate consistently across the country. This is illustrated by topics like requiring ENERGY STAR® certification for products sold or leased in certain states, and state-by-state plans to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Rich: We also must keep an especially careful eye on what’s happening in California, since it sets the stage for so many regulations in other states and even nationwide. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which became effective Jan. 1 and may become a ballot initiative in November, would further strengthen the state’s already strong data privacy rights, including allowing consumers to sue businesses if email addresses and passwords are stolen. We need to understand how this could impact our members.

EditorWhy should NAFEM members get involved in advocacy efforts, even if it’s regarding issues that don’t have an immediate impact on their product categories?

Rob: At the least, we all need to be aware of proposed policies and determine their potential impact on our businesses. Increased regulations can change the way we run our companies and the products we bring to market. We must be aware; our businesses depend on it.

Rich: Being on the smallwares side of the business, our company is less impacted by energy and environmental regulations and much more by trade policy, including tariffs. But we get involved more broadly because of all NAFEM does to help our company and industry grow. I think we owe it to NAFEM and the industry to give back.

EditorWhat advice do you have for members about undertaking advocacy initiatives within their companies?

Rich: A long time ago, we made a strategic decision to hire people smarter than we are so we can rely on them to help steer the ship. When advocacy-related issues arise, our point person depends on the topic. For example, finance and IT take the lead on privacy issues; the supply chain team leads work around tariffs. This approach means our entire leadership team gets involved in advocacy-related work to help our company continue to thrive.

Rob: We understand that most NAFEM members don’t have dedicated government relations, or advocacy teams. Neither does our company. We start by understanding the issues closest to home – within our state – and then consider national issues with the greatest impact to our supply chain and largest customers. We rely on NAFEM to help us reach out to the policymakers, either elected officials or agencies, so we can effectively advance our point of view.

At its February Annual Meeting and Management Workshop. NAFEM welcomed new board leaders, President Rob Connelly, CFSP, CEO, Henny Penny Corporation, Eaton, Ohio, and President-elect Rich Packer, CFSP, President, American Metalcraft, Franklin Park, Ill. Advocacy Update sat down with Rob and Rich to learn more about their views on NAFEM’s advocacy initiatives.

Editor: Obviously, the main issue on everyone’s mind is the COVID-19. What is NAFEM doing for members during this time?

Rob: This crisis illustrates the value of our association as a resource for helping us through good and bad times. In the article above, we introduce three new COVID-19 resources for members, a daily webcast, regular email updates and a private Facebook group where members can share their learnings and ask questions. Please make it a priority to join us. We’re all learning together as this situation constantly unfolds.

Rich: And don’t forget to let us know what you need and how else we can help!

Editor: Members have asked NAFEM to provide a larger voice in regulatory matters. Why do you think this is important?

Rob: NAFEM members support foodservice, one of North America’s largest industries, which faces increasing regulation. Our advocacy work, which is about policy, not politics, is already important and becoming more so. It’s our role to elevate issues that impact our members and work to break down barriers that negatively impact member companies.

Rich: Most NAFEM members are small- to midsize companies and don’t have advocacy support within their businesses. By coming together to amplify our voices through NAFEM’s efforts, we’ve seen the results. Policy makers now consider and even seek out our industry’s perspective.

EditorWhat do you see as the most pressing issues facing NAFEM members in the next couple of years?

Rob: There are many and we share updates on this work each month in this Advocacy Update e-newsletter. We are especially concerned when individual states start considering new policies that make it difficult for our members to operate consistently across the country. This is illustrated by topics like requiring ENERGY STAR® certification for products sold or leased in certain states, and state-by-state plans to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Rich: We also must keep an especially careful eye on what’s happening in California, since it sets the stage for so many regulations in other states and even nationwide. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which became effective Jan. 1 and may become a ballot initiative in November, would further strengthen the state’s already strong data privacy rights, including allowing consumers to sue businesses if email addresses and passwords are stolen. We need to understand how this could impact our members.

EditorWhy should NAFEM members get involved in advocacy efforts, even if it’s regarding issues that don’t have an immediate impact on their product categories?

Rob: At the least, we all need to be aware of proposed policies and determine their potential impact on our businesses. Increased regulations can change the way we run our companies and the products we bring to market. We must be aware; our businesses depend on it.

Rich: Being on the smallwares side of the business, our company is less impacted by energy and environmental regulations and much more by trade policy, including tariffs. But we get involved more broadly because of all NAFEM does to help our company and industry grow. I think we owe it to NAFEM and the industry to give back.

EditorWhat advice do you have for members about undertaking advocacy initiatives within their companies?

Rich: A long time ago, we made a strategic decision to hire people smarter than we are so we can rely on them to help steer the ship. When advocacy-related issues arise, our point person depends on the topic. For example, finance and IT take the lead on privacy issues; the supply chain team leads work around tariffs. This approach means our entire leadership team gets involved in advocacy-related work to help our company continue to thrive.

Rob: We understand that most NAFEM members don’t have dedicated government relations, or advocacy teams. Neither does our company. We start by understanding the issues closest to home – within our state – and then consider national issues with the greatest impact to our supply chain and largest customers. We rely on NAFEM to help us reach out to the policymakers, either elected officials or agencies, so we can effectively advance our point of view.