Barbara Jirka, PhD, SNS, will be the tenth recipient of the School Nutrition Association's prestigious Industry Member of the Year Award at SNA’s 66th Annual National Conference in Denver on July 15. She, along with the 2012 SNA National Outstanding Director of the Year winner, will also be honored at the Global Child Nutrition Foundation’s “A Possible Dream Gala” next March in Washington, DC.
Jirka, senior manager of customer marketing for McCain Foods USA, has been an active SNA industry member throughout her 24 year career in school nutrition. She has held numerous SNA leadership and committee positions, including serving as industry representative on SNA’s board of directors and as chair of SNA’s Industry Advisory Board. In her current position at McCain and through her previous work with Tyson Foods and the National Dairy Council, Jirka has always been committed to strengthening child nutrition programs and supporting school nutrition professionals in their efforts to improve and expand their school breakfast and lunch programs.
Tami Cline, PhD, RD, SNS, and past Industry Award recipient, nominated Jirka for this year's honor, pointing to the resources, materials and other assistance she has consistently provided to school nutrition directors. Jirka “always strives to achieve the highest of credentials related to the profession,” Cline points out, and her PhD dissertation on commodity programs in schools has been a critical tool as she has informed both operators and manufactures of the advantages and disadvantages of various commodity processing options.