The highlight of the awards presentations at the recent 2013 SHFM Annual Conference in Bonita Springs was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Ron Ehrhardt, vice president of operational safety for Compass Group. He was introduced by longtime friend Rick Post, Compass Group’s President/CEO of contract foodservice, who reminisced about their relationship and the many services Ehrhardt had provided to the organization (formerly known as SFM) over the years. Most prominent was his very successful term as association president in 2003-04 when he oversaw the group’s 25th anniversary celebration at SFM’s 2004 Annual Conference in Baltimore.

“Not only am I honored [to make this presentation] but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” Post said. “If I had a chance to go to the Super Bowl or be here to give this award, I’d be here.”

“I couldn’t be more happy tonight than to be with all of you,” Ehrhardt said in his acceptance speech. “I’m deeply humbled, very honored. As I think back about all the very good things that have happened to me in my career, all the meaningful things, they happened because of someone in this room, some member of SHFM, who was here to guide me, to help me, to lead me…and to tolerate me sometimes.”

For a video of the presentation to Ehrhardt, go here.

The Annual Conference was also the venue for the presentation of SHFM’s 2013 Director’s Awards, the winners of which had previously been announced. They included the Community Service Award to Dick Hynes, director of consultant services for Hobart-Traulsen; the Spirit Award to Genevieve Stona, director of joint ventures for Thompson Hospitality; the Leadership Award to Barbara Kane, vice president of industry relations for Ecolab Inc.; and the Richard Ysmael Distinguished Service Award to Kathy Sanders, vice president of corporate properties & strategic sourcing for Wells Fargo.

Among the awards not announced beforehand, the Bob Pacifico Award, presented for dedicated service to the society and to the corporate services community, also went to Ecolab's Barbara Kane, the only associate member of the group ever to also serve as its president (2011-12). She was introduced by last year’s Pacifico Award winner, Mike Johnston of Tyson Food Service, and welcomed to the stage by a gathering of other previous winners of the award.

As one of his last acts as SHFM president, Microsoft's Mark Freeman chose to honor Steve Follett of Follett Corp. with the President’s Award, which is presented at his discretion by the outgoing SHFM president to an individual who had been of greatest help to him in preparing for and fulfilling the responsibilities of his office.