20 Most Influential: Barbara Kane, Ecolab Inc.

Last year Kane became the first business partner to be named president of the Society for Foodservice Management


Barbara Kane
Vice President, Industry Relations,
Ecolab Inc.

If influence were measured by mere involvement, Barbara Kane would be at the top of our list. Kane is the current president of the Society for Foodservice Management. She is the chair of the Industry Advisory Board of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice. She is active in the American Dietetic Association, the Women’s Foodservice Forum, the International Food Manufacturers Association, the National Association of College and University Food Services, the National Restaurant Association and more.

But Kane is not involved in organizations for the sake of appearances. She truly has made a difference in those associations with which she has become involved. Most notable is her role with SFM. Last year, she became the first business partner member to lead the organization.

Tony Butler, executive director of SFM, says her presidency has injected new life into the organization. “I have never seen someone with so much energy and drive to make something happen,” says Butler. “She has helped this organization turn the corner and is moving it forward in a more aggressive way. She is always thinking about what’s next. She’s a great leader.”

Patty Oliver, director of nutrition services for UCLA Medical Center and current president of AHF, says that Kane’s energy and her involvement in so many organizations benefits every association she becomes engaged with.

“She brings so many ideas and suggestions with her because of the array of experience and responsibilities she’s had with other associations,” says Oliver. “She is a hard worker and she has a wonderful head for business. She has taught me a lot; I consider her to be a mentor as well as a friend.” 


Foodservice Director has undertaken a bold initiative by identifying people who we believe are having the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice. Our list may surprise you and should certainly intrigue you. Our honorees have backgrounds as varied as their personalities. They range from the father of the modern-day food truck to the wife of a sitting president. They include operators and suppliers, chefs and consultants, CEOs and civil servants. There are traditionalists and there are mavericks. Well-known names share space with hot newcomers. In all, 17 people, two groups of individuals and one institution compose the list. It’s time to meet FSD’s 20 Most Influential.