20 Most Influential: Bill St. John, Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals

Bill St. John is leading the charge for change for the organization formerly known as DMA.

Bill St. John
President and CEO,
Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals

On Jan. 1, the 50-year-old Dietary Managers Association changed its name and its focus as an organization. In becoming the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals, the organization has acknowledged the need to adapt to a changing foodservice environment and evolving membership.

The man at the heart of this change has been its president and CEO for more than 25 years. Bill St. John, at a time in his life when he might contemplate retirement, has instead chosen to be part of a rebirth.

“DMA is at a pivotal moment in its history,” said St. John when the name change was announced. “It has just celebrated its first 50 years and recognizes that, like so many other organizations, it must evolve and grow with the changes occurring around it. There is a growing demand for individuals who have the skills needed to navigate the increasingly complex foodservice environment and are able to combine that skill with a solid understanding of how to implement nutrition care plans.”

St. John has had a profound influence on the DMA membership since he took over management of the group in 1986. Ironically, shortly before St. John joined the organization it had undergone a name change; when the group had formed under the sponsorship of the American Dietetic Association it was known as the Hospital, Institution and Educational Food Service Society.

“Bill has been just such a tremendous asset to this organization,” says Ricky Clark, training and development coordinator supervisor at the Academy for Staff Development for the Virginia Department of Corrections and the current chair of ANFP. “He keeps us up on the latest trends and is instrumental in keeping the association moving forward.”


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.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
dress code geeks

Team uniforms are a way we encourage fun. I tell the mangers that every person on your team needs to look like a member of your team, but they can decide together what they want to wear. When the students see a cafeteria person that is matching and having fun with their outfits, they relate to those people better. We don’t want them to look stiff and stuffy.

Menu Development
meatloaf slices plate

“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

Ideas and Innovation
oxford school district cafeteria

We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Ideas and Innovation
kale quinoa salad

With all the hype around probiotics, we decided to create a daily dish that incorporates probiotics in addition to prebiotics. You rarely hear about prebiotics, and this was a great way to highlight how the two work synergistically to maintain a healthy gut. Our chefs have developed menu items such as roasted salmon with yogurt and mint vinaigrette; kale and quinoa salad with warm maple dressing; and leek soup with pickled cucumbers, to name a few.

FSD Resources