Official Conference Cheesemongers

Overview

Each year, the ACS Annual Conference relies on the hard work and dedication of countless volunteers. Among these key volunteers are the Official Conference Cheesemongers (OCCs). The OCCs are a crucial part of the Conference Leadership Training Program which includes an eight-member Conference Back of House Team.

This team is a vital part of making ACS Conference successful, working to streamline Conference food receiving, inventory, preparation, and safety for all Conference events including food tasting sessions, meals, ACS Judging & Competition, and Cheese Sale.

The OCCs create displays of cheese and accompaniments for meals, sessions, and events (ranging from a 200-person educational session to a meal for 1,000+ people requiring 90+ family-style platters), practicing safe handling, storage, and transport of all food and overseeing a team to volunteers.

The Application period for the Official Conference Cheesemonger Team is open now through February 28. Apply today!

 

Why Apply to be an OCC?

The OCC application process is competitive and being selected as an OCC comes with prestige and recognition in the cheese industry.

  • OCCs are promoted and lauded in all conference communications and materials.
  • The exclusivity of the position means those selected are recognized as a top-professional in the field (and recognition for their organization as one that sees the value in investing in their employees’ professional development.)

The OCC role is high-impact and high-importance, leading the heart of conference operations with the Conference Back of House Team.

  • The OCCs oversee the thousands of Conference cheeses and other specialty foods, creating displays and accompaniments for meals, educational sessions, special events, sponsor displays, and the Cheese Sale. It’s an opportunity to flex their problem-solving and creative skills!
  • ACS is dedicated to best practices in food safety and OCCs are on the forefront of that, practicing safe handling, storage and transport of all food.
  • They lead a team of volunteers of various skill levels, overseeing their handling and transportation of conference products.

Being an OCC is an opportunity for career growth through the Conference Leadership Training Program.

  • OCCs work closely with the other Back of HouseTeam members, learning from and developing professional relationships with them that will last beyond Conference. This team is made up of highly respected, highly experienced and often longtime members of the cheese industry who are willing and able to share their skills and knowledge.
  • The Conference Leadership Training Program is a pipeline for growth, with opportunities to advance into other Conference leadership roles.
  • Former OCCs have even gone on to join ACS Committees and be elected to the ACS Board of Directors, groups that lead in supporting American cheeses and help set ACS strategy and goals.
  • OCCs refine their skills in organization, arrangement, tempering, and transportation of multiple products for events.
  • They leave Conference with valuable experience in catering management, staff and volunteer oversight, cross-departmental collaboration, event logistics, project management, food safety, and sponsor fulfillment.
  • Being an OCC helps refine personal skills as well, helping them grow professionally and creatively so they can better perform and advance in their regular jobs.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

The Official Conference Cheesemongers must possess:

  • Strong ability to organize, arrange, and schedule the tempering and delivery of multiple products (including cheese, fluid milk, crackers, charcuterie, chocolate, beverages, etc.) for multiple events throughout the Conference
  • Catering experience
  • Experience managing staff or volunteers
  • Ability to be team players
  • Strong collaborative skills
  • Project management skills
  • Creative drive and strong work-ethic

Hours

Pre-Conference:
March to July (before the Conference): 4-6 hours per month. The pre-Conference work will include but is not limited to:

  • Attending conference calls with ACS staff and the Conference planning team
  • Reviewing and updating volunteer schedules
  • Coordinating with tasting session presenters and Conference sponsors

On Site:
OCCs commit to spending approximately 7-10 days behind the scenes at the ACS Conference. OCCs should anticipate working extended hours and will be too busy to attend Conference sessions or events in the year they are serving in this role. Typical schedules average 12 hours per day.

Benefits

  • Travel to/from host city
  • Lodging for the duration of the Conference
  • Complimentary ACS Conference registration to attend in the following year
  • Personalized embroidered ACS chef coats
  • …And more!

Apply

The Application period for the Official Conference Cheesemonger Team is open now through February 28. Apply today!

After the application period closes, the ACS Management Team evaluates all applications and conducts interviews with top applicants. The final three candidates are chosen and notified by the end of March.

Testimonials

“Such an amazing experience! It was enthralling to work alongside such motivated and capable cheese professionals. I walked away being confident in my own skills, motivated by the skills of my OCC family and reinvigorated in my commitment to the cheese community. I wanted to be an OCC for so long and had such high expectations of the role. Let me tell you, the experience did not disappoint. It was hard work, a test in organizational and coworking skills and I loved every moment of it.” -Noreen Mayer, OCC 2019

“The OCC experience was one that challenged me to take the skills I have been developing as a monger, manager, and caterer and display them on a whole new level! Having this experience alongside such a talented group of people developed some lifelong friendships as well as created new opportunities for growth that I never dreamed were possible. Joining such a great group of names who have worked as OCC over the years is truly an honor, and being able to give back to the industry that you love and care for so much is also a great honor. This is a huge event with so many moving parts. You will work long hard days, you will meet so many great people, you will be humbled by the commitment of amazing volunteers, you will throw something in frustration, you will forget to eat enough cheese because you have so much in your head… and, if I could, I would do it every year!”-Evan Talen, OCC 2019

“Being an OCC is a life-changing experience. It offers you the opportunity to form lasting friendships, strengthen existing relationships and serve your industry. It was truly an honor to support our community for one of the most important events for cheese and ACS members.”-Devin Lamma, OCC 2019