2019 SNAM Annual Conference & Exhibit Show


October 24, 2019 9:00 AM to October 27, 2019 11:00 AM
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Grand Traverse Resort and Spa | 100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd
Acme, MI 49610
Venue Website

Annual Conference & Exhibit Show

Online registration closed, on-site walk in registrations only.

Harvest Your Passion For Feeding Children

Conference Packages

Early Bird
(through 9/27)

(after 9/27)

Full Conference - Member Rate (includes: education sessions; exhibit show; Fri. reception; Sat. breakfast & dinner; & Sun. breakfast) 



Full Conference - Non-Member Rate (includes: education sessions; exhibit show; Fri. reception; Sat. breakfast & dinner; & Sun. breakfast) 



All pre-conference sessions Thursday and Friday and guest tickets are an additional cost.


Printable Registration Information & Form


Keynote Presentations

Opening General Session


Closing General Session

Saturday, October 26


Sunday, October 27

Craig Zablocki
Motivational Speaker
Zablocki & Associates


Be ALL In…Getting to 100%!

The world class schools and food organizations that are thriving develop a work culture where people have a sense of ownership, accountability, and engagement. Where people know WHY they do what they do.

BE ALL IN… Getting to 100% is filled with humor and big engagement! Craig delivers with relevance and a keen sense of irony to help unlock the truth of Being All In!


JoAnne Robinett, MSA, SNS
Child Nutrition Consulting, Training, and Conference Keynote
America’s Meal


Here’s What I Know…

JoAnne Robinett is a School Nutrition Specialist. Her school food service spans 30 years in many different capacities. She has worked the serving line, the POS, the dish room and the central office.

She shares her wisdom and observations about how great our programs are, how special the people she has met are, and the challenges we all face – no matter how good we are at what we do. Learn, Laugh, and Be Inspired by what she knows. She currently is the owner of “America’s Meal,” a school meal consulting and training firm.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pre-Conference Sessions (additional fees apply)

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Nutrition #1 (day 1 of 2)

Presenter(s): Wen Guo, Warren Consolidated Schools

Two-day course designed to provide an overview of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with a focus on school nutrition programs. Learn these nutrition basics: how nutrition impacts students as well as Americans overall; tips on encouraging and influencing good food choices; the role of vitamins and minerals in a diet; and how media plays a role in how school nutrition programs are perceived. Required for SNA certification.

CEU: 10

Registration Fee: Member $55, Non-member $105

Introduction to Financial Management

Presenter(s): Dan Connors, Detroit Public Schools CD & Sara Simmerman, Huron Valley Schools

Gain an understanding of the financial outcomes of your operational decisions, and an overview of sound financial principles for child nutrition programs. Learn how to interpret financial data in your operation while increasing financial accountability to sustain the child nutrition program, through evaluation and decision making. Required for CND certification.

CEU: 4

Registration Fee: Member $40, Non-member $95

School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) Credentialing Exam (Pre-Registration Required Through SNA)

The SNS Credential is a mark of excellence and achievement that reflects what it takes to manage school nutrition programs in today’s challenging climate. The SNS Credentialing Exam evaluates candidates’ knowledge and skills required to perform specific job activities related to managing or directing school nutrition programs.

Pre-registration required through School Nutrition Association (SNA) www.schoolnutrition.org/credentialing

2:30 – 7:00 pm

Old Mission Peninsula Wine Tour

Network with colleagues while enjoying a relaxing tour of Traverse City's Old Mission Peninsula. Enjoy the scenery at two wineries, with wine tasting included. The bus departs Grand Traverse Resort (GTR) at 3:00 pm and returns at 7:00 pm. Limited space, pre-registration required.

Registration Fee: $50

Friday, October 25, 2019

Pre-Conference Sessions (additional fees apply)

8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Nutrition #1 (day 2 of 2)

Continued from Thursday

8:00 – 11:00 am

Present like a Leader

Presenter(s): Scott Little, SNAM

Great leaders effectively express their ideas, represent their organizations, and develop their staff – all of which require basic skills in public speaking. Working to be a better speaker will help you grow as a leader and advance your career. If public speaking isn’t your favorite thing to do. . .you’re not alone! Many people aren’t comfortable speaking in front of groups, but it’s often difficult to find opportunities to practice and improve. This interactive workshop will provide a safe environment to learn how to successfully develop a presentation and deliver it with poise and confidence.

CEU: 3

Registration Fee: Member $40, Non-member $95

Knife Skills

Presenter(s): Dan Connors, Detroit Public Schools CD & Xaviar Jaramillo, Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services

Become acquainted and adept with the most classic and important chef tools, and your time in the kitchen will be transformed. You’ll enjoy this hands-on class where you'll hone basic knife skills and practice fundamental cuts like dice and julienne. Additionally, the instructors will teach you advanced techniques and offer tips for keeping all your knives maintained and sharp. You'll use these knife skills every time you cook.

CEU: 3

Registration Fee: Member $40, Non-member $95

12:00 – 3:00 pm

The Role of the Chef in School Nutrition

Presenter(s): Dan Connors, Detroit Public Schools CD & Xaviar Jaramillo, Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services

Collaborating with a Chef in school food programs has become a vital component for success. A chef can help improve taste, nutrition, consumption and palatability in your school district. Learn hands on tools and techniques to take back to your district and enhance your program.

CEU: 3

Registration Fee: Member $40, Non-member $95

Dealing with Conflict in the Workplace

Presenter(s): June Altom, South Haven PS

Learn to resolve conflict in a positive manner as a practical skill that can be developed using strategic techniques.   Participants will discover appropriate responses to conflict, increase communication skills by practicing the art of listening effectively, identify their style in managing conflict, and learn how life experiences effect how people react to conflict. 

CEU: 3

Registration Fee: Member $40, Non-member $95

Saturday Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session A

9:45 – 10:45 am (Pre-register for your sessions, select one below)

A01 - The Intelligence of Fun in the Food Service World

Presenter(s): Craig Zablocki, Zablocki & Associates

It is a proven fact that a culture of fun increases productivity, creativity, and engagement, to say nothing of new learning, and a sense of well-being. As a past restaurant manager Craig gets what you do and the pressures you face at your school. Leave this session laughing, while learning the distinctions between fun and funny, and how to create a positive Food Service culture of fun that strengthens morale, builds self-worth, and shifts perspectives.

A02 - Rejuvenate Your Menu

Presenter(s): Karen Johnston, The Core Group; Mandy Sosnowski, Utica CS & Lori Writt, Rich Products

Today's students are looking for new and exciting options in their school meals. Hear what resources you have at your fingertips to bring these types of items to your district. Discover simple solutions to rejuvenate your menus.

A03 - Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

Presenter(s): Mary Valnes, Nardone Brothers Pizza

Conflict will always happen, but the way we learn to approach it will determine the outcome. Create a culture that provides mutual trust and understanding within the workplace environment to ensure staff support. Learn the steps you can take to better understand the root cause of conflict and strategies to diffuse it.

A04 - Creating a Customer Service Focus in Child Nutrition Programs

Presenter(s): Sue Bevins, SPARC & Carolyn Thomas, Macomb ISD

Our customers are who create the need for the services we provide. Do you really know who your customers are? Learn how you can positively influence them & your community all through the power of customer service.

A05 - Show me the Money with Non-Traditional Revenue Generators in School Nutrition

Presenter(s): Emily Mattern, UDIM & Jennifer Mattison, Dexter Community SD

Are you looking for ways to increase your a la carte sales? Discover first-hand how you can make non-traditional feeding options work in your district and what tools you need to make it happen. Folks just like you are recreating the image of food service with school gardens, coffee shops, catering, etc.

A06 - Collaboration with Your Community

Presenter(s): Rachelle Bonelli, Gleaners Comm. Food Bank; Amy Klinkoski, SNAM; Jennifer Laninga, Grand Rapids PS & Colleen Matts, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

How do we work effectively with others in our communities to enhance our collective capacity to feed kids? Moving your program outside the cafeteria and into the community provides opportunities to collaborate with community partners, gain parental support, and increase participation. Learn who might be possible partners, along with strategies to successfully collaborate with them.

Breakout Session B

11:00 am – 12:00 pm (Pre-register for your sessions, select one below)

B01 - Top 10 Common Write-Ups in Food Safety and Sanitation

Presenter(s): Mike McKay, SMART Systems

Discover the top 10 food safety and sanitation write ups and downfalls. Get a brief overview of general food safety and sanitation practices in the kitchen to ensure you’re providing a safe and healthy environment for everyone.

B02 - Discover Your School Meal Success

Presenter(s): Richard Browder, Brighton AS & Mary Darnton, Jenison & Hudsonville Schools

We all want to increase participation to support our district while providing healthy, tasty meals. What opportunties do you have to improve in your district? Hear how other directors are being successful regardless of the districts demographics. Become inspired to help your community serve more school meals.

B03 - Strategies for Procurement

Presenter(s): Stacey Lamper-McFall, MDE & FSD Panel

How do larger districts in Michigan make purchases? Hear best practice approaches to procurement of produce, food and equipment in bigger districts, and see how you can apply the same principles in your district, regardless of size.

B04 - Success in Succession Planning

Presenter(s): June Altom, South Haven PS & Maureen Ouvry, Emeritus

The changes in today's workforce can create challenges, especially as you look at who will replace you. Are you looking to retire soon and don’t know where to start in your succession planning? Join us for a resourceful session on the steps you can take to create a better transition for you, the new FSD, and the school district.

B05 - Using Flavors to the Fullest

Presenter(s): Chef Josh Diekman, Land O’ Lakes

Get a better understanding of balancing and layering flavors without adding sodium. This session will engage you with fun and memorable hands-on activites to learn alternate ways of adding flavor to your menu.

B06 - Increasing Food Access for Children from a Superintendent's Perspective

Presenter(s): Caroline Dylewski & Dr. Robert Livernois, Warren Consolidated Schools

Hear a Superintendent's perspective how one innovative school district is tackling child hunger and ensuring meal access for all students.  Hear how this district nourishes the whole child the whole year through child nutrition and community based programs.

12:00 – 1:15 pm

Exhibit Show (Directors & Managers Only)

The first hour of the exhibit show is dedicated to 1:1 time with Michigan’s decision makers. Visit over 140 booths to discover new ideas and find unique products for your program.

Breakout Session C

12:15 – 1:15 pm (Pre-register for your sessions, select one below)

C01 - Overcoming Barriers to Serving School Food

Presenter(s): Mary Rose Vanas, Shelby PS & MDE Representative(s)

Unforeseeable barriers can wreak havoc for communities in a time of need. Days that school are not in session or canceled, creates a negative chain of events for school food service. How can you overcome these barriers and provide meals to children in need and keep your program thriving? Hear from the MDE team and Shelby PS Director about how they made the impossible possible for her community this past winter.

C02 - Scratch Cooking: Make it or Fake it

Presenter(s): Arletha Banks & Patricia Wall, Holland PS

Want to menu some scratch cooking recipes, but not sure where to start? Or think you don't have the time, equipment, or labor?  Discover menu ideas that you can make from scratch, or make from "fake" scratch. Learn unique menu concepts that are sure to be a hit whether you make it or fake it.

C03 - Your Wellness, Your Choice

Presenter(s): Ryan Haughey, University Club of MSU

We are constantly thinking ahead and often forget to live in the moment. Identify good and bad behaviors to help you become less stressed, healthier and more mindful.  Your well-being is your choice, learn how you can take control of your behaviors to create a better you.

C04 - School Food Service Impacts Lives

Presenter(s): Charity Hackett, Berrien County Juvenile Center & Xaviar Jaramillo, Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services

Food Service Professionals have a unique perspective when it comes to interacting with kids. For one thing, you see them in a more social, less structured setting. You also get to know them and can recognize when things might be amiss, or there is turmoil in their lives. Discover how to better observe and recognize issues in a student’s life and where to turn for help.  

C05 - Learn the Difference a Dime Makes

Presenter(s): Kelly Bolton, Grass Lake SD; Meghan McDermott, Groundwork Center; Dan Gorman, Montague Area PS/Whitehall Schools

School food service directors say the state’s 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms program has given them the flexibility to try 67 new fruits, vegetables, and beans with students and engage them in healthy eating. Parents are happy too. Join us to learn more about this grant and how to make it work for the benefit of your program.

1:15 – 3:30 pm

Exhibit Show (All Attendees)

Visit over 140 booths to discover new ideas and find unique products for your program.

Breakout Session D

3:30 – 4:30 pm (Pre-register for your sessions, select one below)

D01 - Communication as a Leader

Presenter(s): Scott Little, SNAM

Communication is key to success and how we communicate is critical. Methods of communication continue to change. Learn how to make the most of your communication to create lasting relationships and a positive perception of Food Service.

D02 - Leadership Growth Opportunities in Child Nutrition

Presenter(s): Diane Golzynski, MDE

Networking is the best part of attending an event.  This is also the best reason to expand your professional experience and join the charge with SNAM. Get involved - learn and grow with your peers all while supporting the Industry you are passionate about.

D03 - Get on Board – What it Takes to Start Up a Mobile Site

Presenter(s): Tanya Nofs, L’Anse Creuse PS

Ready to bring a mobile site to your school community? Discover how a district used multiple mobile sites to gain greater participation, awareness and acceptance among students and other stakeholders. Buckle up for a mad dash through purchasing, funding, menus, staffing and implementation strategies.

D04 - Leading the Way to Be Better with Breakfast

Presenter(s): Brianna Banka, UDIM; Sara Simmerman, Huron Valley Schools; & Carolyn Thomas, Macomb ISD

Increase school breakfast participation in your program with alternate breakfast models and new menu ideas. Implementing innovative breakfast delivery models moves breakfast out of the cafeteria, makes it part of the school day, and are proven to increase participation. Join us to decrease roadblocks and gain support from key stakeholders in schools.

D05 - Creating Partnerships to Build Successful Farm to School Programs

Presenter(s): Dan Gorman, Montague Area PS/Whitehall Schools & Elissa Penczar, Muskegon Area Career Tech Center

Learn how one director has worked with the area career tech center to build a farm to school program that brought fresh local items to the district’s students, while also giving the career center culinary program real world experience in recipe development and execution. Discover how they performed thousands of student tastings, developed recipes, and provided student chef hours in the food service kitchens. Find out how you can replicate a program like this in your area!

Hotel Accommodation Information

Hotel Guestroom Rate: $119.00
Tower Guestroom Rate: $149.00
Guestroom rates are before taxes & the daily resort fee. Reservations must be made by Monday, September 23, 2019 to guarantee the group rate.

Call 1.800.968.7352 and mention the School Nutrition Association of Michigan (SNAM19) or book online here and use the promo code SNAM19 to receive the discounted rate.

Reservations must be made with a valid major credit card, check or money order made payable to the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. If you provide a debit card for the reservation, a monetary hold will be placed on funds in your bank account. If reservations are to be paid for with a credit card, you will not have at check in please contact the hotel directly for a credit card authorization form.

Blessings in a Backpack Donations

Join us in assembling food to go in backpacks for local students to take home. Grab a SNAM bag to take into the Food Show so you can collect a variety of items that will be provided to the Blessings in a Backpack organization. This is a great way for SNAM to help the local community - and when you turn in your bag, you’ll be entered in a drawing on Saturday night for a $50 gift card!

Silent Auction

Participate in the Silent Auction Fundraiser to support SNAM scholarships. Stop by the Education Room to bid on great items and check out resources SNAM has to offer.

STEPS Wellness Event

Walk with us! Meet in the hotel lobby at 6:00 am on Saturday to join the group for a fun walk and get a free t-shirt.

Continuing Education Units

All full conference attendees will earn 6 CEUs. Pre-conference sessions may qualify as additional CEUs.

Co-sponsorship of a conference by the State Board of Education and Michigan Department of Education assumes the active participation of Department of Education staff in the planning and development of the agenda.  No person shall be denied the opportunity to participate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, sex, marital status or disability.  The conference facility must meet federal and state accessibility standards.  Commercial products or services displayed or presented as a part of the conference are not considered endorsed by the State Board of Education or Michigan Department of Education.


$170.00 Full Conference - Member Rate (includes: education sessions, exhibit show, Fri. reception, Sat. breakfast & dinner & Sun. breakfast)
$150.00 Earlybird rate before September 30

$220.00 Full Conference - Non-Member Rate (includes: education sessions, exhibit show, Fri. reception, Sat. breakfast & dinner & Sun. breakfast)
$200.00 Earlybird rate before September 30