FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner
Sean Leer Chosen as SNA 2013 National Industry Member of the Year
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD (June 7, 2013) – The national non-profit School Nutrition Association (SNA) has selected Sean Leer, Vice President of Gold Star Foods, as the eleventh recipient of SNA’s prestigious National Industry Member of the Year Award.
Throughout his 19 years of service in school nutrition, Leer has worked tirelessly to help school nutrition programs increase efficiency, maximize the value of their USDA Foods entitlement dollars, serve the freshest, most nutritious food available and improve food safety and sanitation.
Leer helped lead Gold Star’s initiative to increase local sourcing, link school meal programs with the farms supplying their foods and minimize the company’s carbon footprint. Leer has worked with farmers, wholesalers and processors to provide local produce to over 1.5 million students each day. As much as 72% of the produce the company delivers to schools is grown within 200 miles of Gold Star’s Los Angeles home base.
With Leer’s help, Gold Star has also overhauled its bakery products, switching to 100% sustainable, California grown wheat flour, which is milled and baked locally. The company now prepares all whole grain, low sodium bread products meeting both Alliance for a Healthier Generation and HealthierUS School Challenge standards at no price increase for school districts.
Prior to his work with Gold Star Foods, Leer spent fourteen years as a leader in food safety and sanitation. He worked closely with SNA in the development of the HACCP Education Plan and Task Force to provide food safety training to school nutrition personnel nationwide.
Leer has served in numerous leadership positions for SNA national and state affiliates. California School Nutrition Association recently honored Leer with the California SNA Innovation Award for his impressive contributions to improving fundraising events for the Association.
Tony Roberts, SNA’s 2011 Industry Member of the Year, nominated Leer for this year’s award, saying that Leer “feels it is a privilege to work in this industry and always puts forth the extra effort. He is not just an Industry Member; he is a ‘Partner for Progress.’”
Sean Leer will receive the 2013 National Industry Member of the Year Award before his SNA colleagues at the association’s 67th Annual National Conference in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday, July 14. Leer, along with the 2013 SNA National Outstanding Director of the Year, will also be honored at the Global Child Nutrition Foundation’s “A Possible Dream Gala” in March 2014 in Washington, D.C.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit www.TrayTalk.org.
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