Featured Sessions

General Sessions

Thursday, July 11


The Spirit of Ubuntu—Three Questions to Change How You Live, Work and Lead

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” - African Proverb

Sponsored by:  BusBros_Feb2010.JPG


Shola Richards’ life’s mission is an ambitious one: To end generations of professional suffering, simply by changing how we treat each other at work. Whether it is through his dynamic keynote speeches, his two published books, or his weekly email series that is read in over 160 countries—Shola’s core message is that everyone deserves a healthy work environment, because the quality and meaning of our work shines when we do.

In this engaging, fun and deeply actionable keynote talk, Shola will introduce participants to the transcendent African word, Ubuntu (pronounced, oo-BOON-too), which is translated to mean, “I am, because we are”. Additionally, Shola will share how Ubuntu, along with three powerful questions, can be used to create high-levels of collegiality, professionalism and civility on any work team. If you’re looking for practical strategies combined with some hard-hitting inspiration, then you will love this session.

Saturday, July 13


Digital Leadership & Innovation: The 5 Habit to Success & Happiness


Erik is a #1 best selling author of five books, and motivational speaker, who has performed in over 50 countries, reaching over 25 million individuals over the past decade. He was also voted the 2nd most likable author in the world by J.K. Rowling, voted a top 50 professor, ranked as Forbes & Fortune 50 Digital Thought Leader, and has performed in front of groups as large as 27,000 people. 

Leaders in the Exponential Age are made — not born. Leadership takes many forms, but the key to empowerment is grasping the five habits that all successful leaders practice to achieve success and happiness in this digitally paced world. Embracing these habits will help you become more productive, reduce stress and drive success. With pioneering video-storytelling techniques, this motivating message from Erik Qualman is entertaining, educating and, more importantly, empowering.

· Why multitasking is killing you & your business.
· The art of being Flawsome: failing fast, failing forward, failing better.
· The importance of avoiding through-put traps to produce output.
· How to surround yourself with the right people both offline and online.
· The two questions every individual and company needs to ask its customers.

Super Sessions 

Thursday, July 11


The Latest Trends You Need to Know

Sponsored by: DawnLogoPMS179.jpg


Do you know what’s in store for the future of food? We do. Join Marie Molde from Datassential as we uncover all the latest trends, from shifting consumer eating patterns to a demand for personalization. We’ll also uncover what’s new and trending on restaurant menus, next-gen health and wellness trends and how automation and AI are impacting food, today and in years to come.

With a strong background in both nutrition and business - she holds a combined MBA/RD from Dominican University - Marie brings Datassential a unique culinary perspective and health-driven point of view. Restaurant chains and suppliers have relied on Marie’s expertise in menu and product development, and for years she has helped foodservice and retail companies excel in better-for-you innovation.  Marie represents Datassential on the Menus of Change Sustainable Business Leadership Council working to confront issues that surround the food industry today and establish plant-forward dining as one of the main areas of focus for culinary innovation.  Marie has been interviewed in a number of industry-leading media and news companies including BuzzFeed, SmartBrief, The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.

Collegiate Dining HR Talks 


A quick-fire style session of four different HR-related presentations, all within the context of collegiate dining. Our five presenters will connect their presentations to the others and offer a panel-style Q&A at the end of the session. Topics are varied and include conducting fair investigations, using ‘nice talk’ to get results, how to manage a successful early move-in program for student employees, and nurturing staff development.

Friday, July 12

DR. MICHAEL WU, PhD & Robert Holden, MPA, CASP

From B.I. to A.I. - A Practical Journey for the Food Service Industry Through Examples

Sponsored by: Jackson WWS, Inc.


Dr. Michael Wu is an accomplished professional knowledgeable in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), behavioral economics, data science, and machine learning. He is currently the Cheif AI Strategist for an AI-powered solutions provider, helping companies monetize effectively in a digital economy by creating a frictionless and personalized buying experience. Prior to his current role, Dr. Wu focused on developing predictive and prescriptive algorithms, conducted research in face recognition, and was recognized as an Influential Leader by CRM Magazine, along with Mark Zuckerberg.

Dr. Michael Wu will speak to the importance of data analytics. Collegiate dining programs have data coming from multiple sources: customer counts, production reports, meal plan use, retail transactions and more! There are a million bits of data out there that can be used to help us make decisions, we just need to determine how to make the connections between the data and apply what we learned. This session will give you insight into Business Intelligence (BI) in order to be able to understand how to analyze those crucial data points. There will also be examples of actions utilizing cause-and-effect from understanding those insights into BI before hearing about the growing world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its use in the university dining program.

All Things Culinary, A Three-Part Super Session

Sponsored by: The Kraft Heinz Company & Porter Khouw Consulting, Inc.


Come to this session to learn about how the use of ancient grains can benefit your menu, how opportunity buys and the increase in plant-based foods can breathe flexibility into your cost of goods expense, and how a local Denver chef-restaurateur taps local producers for menu inspiration.

Part One: Ancient Grains Resurgence in Modern Cuisine: Sorghum Story
Allison Arnett, MS, RDN, Food Choice Architecture & Wellness Manager at Yale University
Chef Rob Landolphi, Assistant Director Culinary Development at University of Connecticut
Kathy Siegel, MS, RDN, Partner, Director of Nutrition Communications at Triad to Wellness
Tracee Yablon Brenner, RDN, CHHC, Partner, Culinary Director at Triad to Wellness

Part Two: Local Restaurant
Jon Schlegel, Founder/Host of Snooze Eatery

Part Three: Plant Based Foods
Don Donagrandi, Associate Director of Residential Dining
Michigan State University

NEW THIS YEAR! Micro-Sessions

NACUFS is incorporating concise, informative learning sessions, presented by the best and brightest industry experts and ideal for adult learners.

Presentations include:

Thursday, July 11

2 p.m. Simplify Scheduling and Training (US Foods)

2:45 p.m. The 4 D’s of Robotics (Ricca Design Studios)

3:30 p.m. How is Your Food Packaging Affecting the Environment (Packaging Resources, Inc.)

4:15 p.m. Hunger vs Food Insecurity - BOTH Issues on College Campuses (Soylent)


Friday, July 12

11:15 a.m. Honey Time! (Honey Stinger)

12 p.m. Micro Trends and Solutions (Lakeside)

12:45 p.m. Reach New Heights: Demystifying the Design Process (Bakergroup)

1:30 p.m. Risk Reward Business (Envision Strategies)


Sponsored by: USFoods.jpg             Cintas_RFTW_Logo.jpg

Come one, come all to the 19th annual NACUFS Culinary Challenge.

Six contenders chosen in regional challenges earlier in 2019 will be traveling to Denver to showcase their talents in this American Culinary Federation-sanctioned contest.

Each chef has created an original recipe with the mandatory ingredient, venison saddle. In a dash against the clock, and battling each other’s culinary talents, individual competitors will be searing, sautéing, and braising, as they aim to take a stab at first place and a gold medal in this fiery competition.

Three ACF-approved judges will select the winners in this Category W - Customized Wildcard Competition. Contestants will be judged on the taste of the finished product, the demonstration of cooking skills and culinary techniques, and the practice of organizational skills, including sanitation principles.

ACF gold, silver, and bronze medals will be awarded on competition point totals, and the winner of the 2019 NACUFS Culinary Challenge will be the chef with the highest point total.

Be sure to be in attendance to cheer for the chef of your choice as they bring the heat to Denver!