The trade association leading innovation in food production.‬

Member Login    Become a Member      

I recently had a chance to sit down with Tim Rugh, Executive Director of 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc to catch up on 3-A and what it has planned for their Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (May 8-11), although the discussion went far beyond that. It was a great chat as I have known Tim for over 20 years, back when 3-A was a department of our Association. Since spinning off, 3-A has done a great job of growing the program and serving as the advocate for hygienic equipment design. That includes equipment for all types of food products as 3-A stopped being just for the dairy industry decades ago. In fact, Tim pointed out that most 3-A inquiries come from segments other than dairy, due largely to FSMA and its goal to prevent food safety problems before they occur.

That will especially be true at the 3-A Meeting where they will be addressing trends in hygienic design, the science of food safety and regulatory requirements. These apply to all segments, not just dairy.

One aspect of this meeting that I found very interesting is its outreach to students who are looking to learn more about the industry they will eventually be coming into. In fact, 3-A provides travel awards for eligible students to attend the meeting and network with other students and professionals from fabricators, processors and sanitarians. Tim explained that this support is crucial for our industry as we go deeper into the retirement of the baby boomer generation, and lose that institutional knowledge of the importance of hygienic design. Tim assures me that 3-A is on top of this and that this next generation is already showing the eagerness to fill this gap.

That said, also working at a not-for-profit organization, I totally understand the challenge of recruiting new volunteers to “keep the trains running on time”. In that respect, 3-A is no different from FPSA. We’ve got great volunteers stepping up but in many cases our younger generation workforce is still learning where they can make an impact while at the same time being quite busy in their regular job. We can easily make the argument that the lessons from these volunteer opportunities absolutely serve to make the individual more effective in their job, but so often we see that these relatively new people new to the industry don’t know what they don’t know. Hence, it’s our job to build awareness of these opportunities. In the case of 3-A, you could start by attending the Annual Meeting and learning from a great set of experts. Whether you’re an engineer looking to access sanitary standards for equipment design or a processor studying how new equipment can impact your production, this program is for you. At very least, learn more about 3-A here to see how it might help you in your business.

Don’t miss out.

Andy Drennan, FPSA SVP