IFMA selects 2011 Silver Plate winners

Diane Hardy, associate vice president for Campus Services at the University of Richmond, achieved a rare feat last week when she was named winner of the IFMA Silver Plate Award in the College and University category.

Hardy, who has been a Richmond foodservice employee for the past 32 years, became the second person from the university to earn that recognition. Her former boss, Ron Inlow, was accorded the honor in 1990.

Five other universities share that distinction: University of Tennessee, Michigan State, Stanford, Notre Dame and the University of California at San Diego.

In the Healthcare category, the Silver Plate winner was Bruce Thomas, associate vice president of Guest Services for Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa. In addition to overseeing a top-flight foodservice program, Thomas was the primary architect of the recent merger of the National Association for Healthcare Foodservice Management and the American Society for Healthcare Food Service Administrators into the Association for Healthcare Foodservice.

Lora Gilbert, R.D., senior director, Food & Nutrition Services, for Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools, was honored in the Elementary and Second Schools category. Steve Sweeney, president and CEO of Chartwells, a division of Compass Group USA, won in the Business & Industry/Foodservice Management category, and George Miller, chief of Food & Beverage Operations for the U.S. Air Force, was honored in the Specialty Foodservice category.

In the commercial restaurant segments, the winners were Independent Restaurants: Buzz BeLer, owner of The Prime Rib, Baltimore; Chain Full-Service/Mult-Concept: Jerry Deitchle, chairman, president and CEO, BJs Restaurants, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Chain Fast Service: Joe Tortorice Jr., CEO, Jason’s Deli, Beaumont, Texas, and Hotel & Lodging, C. W. Craig Reed, director of food and beverage, The Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colo.

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Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

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