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
Lydia Burns, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread and Wine
Kerry Kaylegian, Pennsylvania State University
Brian Keyser, Casellula
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 Manager
Leads: Joy Ascher, Gourmet Foods International; Gabe Salazar, Mercantile Dining & Provision
Members at large: Ilene Moore & Patrick Moore, The Cheese Guy, LLC; Jeanne Rodier, Yannick Fromagerie, Tara Harmon, Gourmet Foods International
Judging & Competition Committee
Chair: Stephanie Clark, Ph.D., Iowa State University
Vice Chair: Rich Rogers, ACS CCP, Scardello
Board Liaison & Immediate Past Chair: John Antonelli, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
ACS Staff Liaison: Michelle Lee, Programs & Operations Director and Matt Richard, Database Manager
Members at large: Patrick Bleck, ACS CCP, Specialty Food Sherpa; Matt Bonano, Brooklyn South Cheese; Craig Gile, ACS CCP, Cabot Creamery Cooperative; John Greeley, Gourmet Foods International; David Lockwood, Neal’s Yard Dairy; Kirsten Hindes, ACS CCP, Laura Chenel Chevre; Tom Kooiman, Portland Creamery; Rachel Perez, ACS CCP, Tony’s Fine Foods; Julia Powers, ACS CCP, Peterson Company; 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.
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, I; Max McCalman, Maxvol, Inc.; Emilio Mignucci, Di Bruno Brothers; Brandon Schilling, ACS CCP, The Kroger Company; 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.
Chair: Eric Meredith, Neal’s Yard Dairy
Vice Chair: Brie Hurd, Cheese Shop of Salem
Staff Liaisons: Michelle Lee, Programs & Operations Director and Eliza Wetherill, Membership & Programs Manager
Members at large: CJ Bienert, The Cheese Shop of Des Moines; Béné Coudé, Schuman Cheese; Sara Hill, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board; Brie Hurd, The Cheese Shop of Salem; Lance Lynn, ACS CCP, Scardello Artisan Cheese; Veronica Pedraza, ACS CCP, Jeremy Stephenson, Spring Brook Farm, Devin Lamma, Sue Miller, Birchrun Farms.
Regulatory & Academic Committee
Chair: Dennis D’Amico., PhD, University of Connecticut
Staff Liaison: Nora Weiser, Executive Director
Members at large: Kate Arding, Alyce Birchenough, Cathy Gaffney, David Gremmels, Michael Kalish, Emilio Mignucci, Kendall Russell, Peggy Smith, Marianne Smukowski, Ron Tanner, Brian Bailey, Daniel Utano
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 has just released the Second Edition of the ACS Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers, and also develops and maintains relationships with related industry groups.
Marketing & Communications Advisory Panel
Chair: Lynne Devereux, Butter Communications
Staff Liaison: Rebecca Orozco, Marketing & Communications Director
Members at large: Jill Giacomini Basch, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company; Greg O’Neill, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine; Meri Spicer, Grafton Village Cheese; 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, Specialty Foods Sherpa; Mike Gingrich, Uplands Cheese Company; David Gremmels, Rogue Creamery; Heather Opolony, KeHE Distributors; 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 Scholarship Chair: Brian Keyser, Casellula
Crompton Scholarship Chair: Linda Luke, Luke & McKenna
Staff Liaison: Eliza Wetherill, Membership & Programs Manager
Members at large: Rebekah Baker, Nugget Market; Sue Conley, Cowgirl Creamery; John Eggena, Independent Farmer; 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 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.