Standing Committees and Advisory Panels

    As with any association, much of ACS’s work is done through volunteer efforts provided by the standing committees and advisory panels of the American Cheese Society. Each member provides support and advice to the Board of Directors through the chair(s) on actions and initiatives directed by the Board. ACS Bylaws require that committee chair(s) provide periodic reports to the Board of Directors through minutes of meetings. Not all chairs are members of the Board of Directors, except in the cases where the association’s Bylaws require it, and in most cases the committee or advisory panel works in conjunction with the ACS Executive Director in achieving its goals.

    Membership on these standing groups is open to any member currently holding Individual, Small Business, or Corporate membership in the American Cheese Society. All members are encouraged to participate in ACS committee or advisory panel work where time and special talents allow. If you wish to be a contributing member of any of the committees or panels listed below, please contact the chair or ACS staff liaison, and inform them of your interest.

    Conference Planning Committee

    2016 Co-Chairs:

    C.J. Bienert, The Cheese Shop of Des Moines
    Stephanie Clark, Iowa State University
    Myrna VerPloeg, Maytag Dairy Farms

    ACS Staff Liaison: Nora Weiser, Executive Director

    The conference planning committee advises and assists in the planning of the program and activities associated with the Annual Conference & Competition. Committee members develop the annual conference theme, suggest guest speakers, seminar and general session topics, events, tours, and help recruit volunteers for conference events. Through its work, the conference planning committee assumes responsibility for developing and monitoring the conference budget and ensuring that the conference provides both an informative and enlightening experience for conference attendees.

    Festival of Cheese Sub-Committee

    ACS Staff Liaison: Steve Binns, Meetings & Events Coordinator
    Leads: TBD

    Members at large: Ilene Moore, The Cheese Guy LLC; Kelly Sheehan; Jeanne Rodier, Yannick Fromagerie

    Brunch of Champions Sub-Committee

    ACS Staff Liaison: Steve Binns, Meetings & Events Coordinator
    Lead: Leah McFadden, Whole Foods Market

    Cheese Sale Sub-Committee

    ACS Staff Liaison: Steve Binns, Meetings & Events Coordinator
    Lead: Erin Clancy, Whole Foods Market

    Members at large: Robin Luke

    Judging & Competition Committee

    Chair and Board Liaison:  John Antonelli, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
    Vice Chair: Stephanie Clark, Iowa State University
    Immediate Past Chair: Tom Kooiman, Carmen Ranch
    ACS Staff Liaison: Michelle Lee, Programs & Operations Director and Eliza Wetherill, Office & Programs Coordinator
    Members at large: Patrick Bleck, ACS CCP, DPI Specialty Foods; Matt Bonano; Stephanie Clark, Ph.D., Iowa State University; Craig Gile, ACS CCP, Cabot Creamery Cooperative; John Greeley, Gourmet Foods International; David Grotenstein, Food and Image; Kirsten Hindes, CCP, Gourmet Foods International; Rachel Perez, French Cheese Club; Julia Powers, ACS CCP; Rich Rogers, ACS CCP, Scardello; and Karen & Richard Silverston

    The Judging & Competition Committee is inherently linked to the Annual Conference. This committee is responsible for determining all criteria for the cheeses entered into the competition by ACS member cheesemakers. The committee determines the roster of judges and their compensation, the categories of cheeses, the judging processes, scoring, reporting, and awards criteria. The committee also coordinates volunteers and guides production of a printed awards brochure that is published onsite and made available to attendees at the Festival of Cheese.

    Certification Committee

    Chair: Bill Stephenson, DPI Specialty Foods
    Board Liaison: Pat Ford, Beehive Cheese Company
    Staff Liaison: Jane Bauer, Education & Outreach Manager

    Members at large: Stephanie Ciano, World’s Best Cheeses; Tim Gaddis, ACS CCP, Many Fold Farm; Emilio Mignucci, Di Bruno Brothers; Brandon Schilling, ACS CCP, The Kroger Company; Lee Smith, Deli Business News/Cheese Connoisseur Magazines; Bill Stephenson, DPI Specialty Foods; Kelsie Parsons, ACS CCP, Sobeys.

    The Certification Committee is responsible for overseeing the creation, maintenance, and operation of the Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam.  Working groups within the committee handle review of applications, appeals processes, exam writing and question analysis, governance, and scoring functions.

    Member Services Committee

    Chair: Christine Hyatt, Cheese Chick Productions
    Board Liaison: Vern Caldwell, Pholia Farms
    Staff Liaison: Jeff Yeager, Member Services Specialist

    Members at large:  Audrey Aponte, Sprout Creek Farm Market & Creamery; Olivier Beaulieu-Charbonneau, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Vern Caldwell, Pholia Farm; Shawn Duffy, Lovera’s Market; Chris Gentine, The Artisan Cheese Exchange; Dan Hogan, Enthusiast; David Puchta, Henri’s Cheese; Doug Shube, Shubie’s Marketplace, Wine & Spirits

    The Member Services Committee’s primary focus is to enhance member communication and improve and create new programs that increase members’ satisfaction. The programs include new member recruitment, member retention, new member outreach and orientation, new benefits, services and affinity programs, and professional development programs. The committee also reviews fees and creates membership materials for prospective and current members.

    Education Committee

    Chair: Jeanne Carpenter, Wisconsin Cheese Originals
    Immediate Past-Chair: Sasha Davies, Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon Winery
    Staff Liaison: Michelle Lee, Programs & Operations Director

    Members at large: CJ Bienert, The Cheese Shop of Des Moines; Alyce Birchenough, Sweet Home Farm; Saxon Brown, Terroir Travel; Béné Coudé, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research; Marc Druart, Emmi-Roth USA; Sara Hill, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; Brie Hurd, Concord Cheese Shop; Eric Meredith, Wegmans Food Markets; Veronica Pedraza, Meadowood Farm

    The Board of Directors has recently created this committee with a focus on enhancing existing, and developing new, educational initiatives for ACS members.  It includes the Conference Program Group, Body of Knowledge Group, and the Online Education & Tools Group.


    Regulatory & Academic Committee

    Co-Chair: Bob Wills, Cedar Grove Cheese
    Co-Chair: Marianne Smukowski, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research
    Staff Liaison: Nora Weiser, Executive Director

    Members at large: Ranee May, Alyce Birchenough, Bob Wills, David Gremmels, Dennis D’Amico, Emilio Mignucci, Gianaclis Caldwell, Jeff Bloom, Cathy Gaffney, Mark Wustenberg, Kendall Russell, Peggy Smith

    This committee keeps abreast of the growing body of scientific research and ongoing changes in regulations, works on building relationships with FDA and local regulators, and advises the ACS board and members on the latest research, best practices, food safety, regulatory issues, and scientific findings.  This committee is currently developing a best practices guide for cheesemakers, and also develops and maintains relationships with related industry groups.


    Marketing & Communications Advisory Panel

    Staff Liaison: Rebecca Orozco, Marketing & Communications Director
    Chair: Lynne Devereux, Butter Communications

    Members at large: Jill Giacomini Basch, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company; Stephanie Skinner, culture Magazine; Representatives of ACS’s public relations firm-of-record

    The Marketing & Communications Advisory Panel is responsible for defining and managing the ACS brand through external communications with the media. It also has responsibility for educating consumers about the American Cheese Society. This panel consists of an ACS Board liaison, ACS staff liaison, and representatives from the public relations firm of record for the annual conference.


    Sponsorship Advisory Panel

    Staff Liaison: Rebecca Orozco, Marketing & Communications Director

    Members at large: Patrick Bleck, DPI Specialty Foods; Terry Comer, Euro USA; Mike Gingrich, Uplands Cheese Company; David Gremmels, Rogue Creamery; Heather Opolony, KeHE Distributors; Cheryl Sullivan; Bob Wills, Cedar Grove Cheese

    The Sponsorship Advisory Panel is responsible for outreach to sponsor prospects to help defray the expenses of producing the Annual Conference & Competition, and the day-to-day operation of the association. Typically, the panel develops an annual campaign targeted to those involved in the cheese industry, whether at the producer, retailer, or distributor level, with the goal being an amount determined by the Chairs and the Board of Directors. Members of this panel draft a benefits program, contact industry affiliates, and ensure that sponsor recognition benefits are consistent as outlined in the benefits program.


    Scholarship Selection Panel

    Cheesemaker, Student, & Chef Scholarship Chair: Brian Keyser, Casellula, LLC
    John Crompton Memorial Scholarship Chair: Linda Luke, Luke & McKenna
    Staff Liaison: Jeff Yeager, Member Services Specialist

    Members at large: Rebekah Baker, Nugget Market; Sue Conley, Cowgirl Creamery; John Eggena, Independent Farmer; Steve Ehlers, Larry’s Market; Francois Kerautret, Peterson Company; Emiliano Lee, FarmShop; Sue Miller, Birchrun Hills Farm; Jess Perrie, Fromagex; David Rogers, Standard Market

    Cheesemaker Scholarships provide support for ACS cheesemaker members through scholarships to attend the Annual Conference. The panel sets scholarship criteria, communicates scholarship availability and deadlines, reviews applications, and selects scholarship recipients.

    The John Crompton Memorial Scholarship provides support for ACS retailer members through scholarships to the Annual Conference. The panel sets scholarship criteria, communicates scholarship availability and deadlines, reviews applications, and selects scholarship recipients.