To thank the large number of Opaa! employees who over the years have dedicated themselves to providing the finest service and quality nutrition to their students and staffs, Opaa! has implemented an Employee Recognition program.
New this year, all regularly scheduled employees are receiving an Opaa! service pin after they have completed one year of service (based on their employment anniversary date). For every five years of service, employees receive "rocker panels" that affix to the service pins and denote the number of years of service.
Opaa!'s president Kevin Short launched the new Service Pin program by traveling across Missouri to personally attend several employee recognition events, including Excelsior Springs, Jennings, Montgomery County and Richmond. Here are some photos from those events.
he following excerpts are from Kevin's opening address at Opaa!'s summer retreat July 29-31 at the Lake of the Ozarks.
HOW OPAA! BEGAN...
While coming back from a business trip, my father, Ken Short, was passing through Boonville Missouri, noticed the signs for Kemper military academy and thought: why not just make a cold call - there's always a possibility. It was his lucky day - the Colonel would see him.
Now at this time Kemper bought and prepared their own food and weren't involved in any government programs. Dad offered them a partnership to help provide better food service at a better value so the academy could concentrate on education.
Well, there was good news and bad news. Within two weeks his proposal was accepted. The problem was he had no money and no investors-but he still believed in the possibility. So with a wife and two children to consider (I was 15 at the time), he took a second mortgage on our home in Kirksville and bought the food and equipment to get started. Opaa! was born.
Many people have asked where dad got the name Opaa! It's a Greek word used pretty much the way we would say hurray or wonderful. It denotes excitement and celebration and it's often used in connection with, what elseâ€¦ food. The Short family is not of Greek descent, but dad wanted something unique, something that would make the company stand out from the crowd.
Two years ago we adopted a new vision, a vision of personal empowerment and finding more fulfillment in our work. I've seen some wonderful things happening in your schools...some really unique ideas that continue to set Opaa! apart from the rest. Big things are importantâ€¦.. but it's all those little things added together that make the difference.
Whether it's your work or your personal life, just a little adjustment here or there can improve your life and empower you to work through any setbacks and find you possibilities. That's what we are continuing to do for the Opaa! family. We've been making those small adjustments and striving to empower everyone at every level. And I think it's working.
We continue to add new accounts and new employees. We welcome Sharon Moore and the East Prairie staff to our family. To facilitate our continuing growth we have created a new position of Chief Operating Officer. Scott Hoffmann will be handling day-to-day operations which will help free me from the office and allow me more time to visit your schools. In addition Sheila Middleton has been promoted to Vice President of Operations.
We must never lose sight of the value of our work. When I visit our schools I see children who obviously don't have the best clothes or best care, and I remember that we are providing the best and maybe only real meal they'll have for the day. We are helping - and in more ways than just food.
I came across these lines from a song sung at the Special Olympics in California, I think they are fitting for our Opaa! family: "How far is far, how high is high? We'll never know until we try." I think my father would be proud of the company he started 25 years ago. We've kept to his vision of partnership and possibilities while creating a new vision of our own.
You can find profound wisdom in unexpected places. When I was reading a little book called the Three Questions to my daughter one evening I recognized a clear expression of the Opaa! philosophy. Here are the questions. What is the best time to do things? It's right now. Always be aware of what is going on and know that you are empowered to act. Who is the most important one? It's the person in front of you at the moment. It makes no difference whether it's a child, a coworker, or a superintendent. Give them your full attention because they're important. We value everyone. What is the right thing to do? It's to always do your best. Be helpful and supportive and know that you are appreciated for your contributions.
As we celebrate our twenty fifth anniversary we're poised to make the next 25 years the best ever. As my father did, we will need to take some risks and try some new ideas. But as the great inventor Thomas Edison said years ago, "If we all did the things we are capable of doing,â€¦. we would literally astound ourselves."
Let's have another astounding year!
|Opaa! President Kevin Short and his father Kenneth Short, founder of Opaa! Food Management.|
|Scott Hoffmann (left) is Opaa!'s new Chief Operation Officer, while Sheila Middleton (right) has been promoted to Vice President of Operations.|
At its annual Summer Retreat July 29-31, 2003, Opaa! Food Management announced Robin Paulson, Opaa!'s Regional Director of Operations for southwest Missouri as the recipient of the 2002-03 Regional Director of the Year award. Company officials selected Robin as Regional Director of the Year from among Opaa!'s Regional Directors of Operation across the state of Missouri. Robin is a two-time winner of this award having won the same award for the 2001-02 school year. In presenting the award, Vice President of Operations, Sheila Middleton, described Robin as, "someone that can aways be counted on, someone that treats her staff in a special manner and is very dedicated to the Opaa! family culture".
Robin has been an Opaa! employee since August of 1995 and previously served as Opaa!'s Director of Nutrition Services at the Nixa School District before being promoted to her current position. At the top on her list of priorities is spending time with her family. Robin and her husband of 21 years, Dan, live in Nixa and they have three children, Joshua, Moriah and Caleb. Robin and her family are fond of hiking and try to hit a new trail in the Missouri-Arkansas area at least one weekend a month. Robin also enjoys working in the garden and just recently, her family acquired a motorcycle and they enjoy spending time on it.
As Regional Director of Operations, Robin supervises eight school districts and 24 preparation sites in her region. Robin said, "I love working for a company that believes in you and what you are capable of and then gives you the opportunity to be yourself and have fun on the job."
Opaa! Food Management, Inc., is based in Ellisville, Missouri, and is celebrating its 25th year of operation. Opaa! currently operates the nutrition programs for 44 Missouri school districts.
At its annual Summer Retreat July 29-31, 2003, Opaa! Food Management announced Lisa Crust, Opaa!'s Director of Nutrition Services for the Fayette R-III School District as a co-winner of the 2002-03 Outstanding Marketing award. Company officials selected Lisa for this award from among all of Opaa!'s Directors' of Nutrition Services across the state of Missouri. Also selected was Jenny Schneider, Opaa's Director of Nutrition Services for the Gasconade County R-I School District.
A successful Marketing Plan plays a key role in developing and maintaining a strong nutrition services program. Opaa! Food Management has sponsored a number of highly successful marketing events throughout the year with the highlight coming this past February with the AgriMissouri Promotion. This event was a cooperative event involving the Fayette R-III School District, local businesses, Opaa! Food Management and the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Capping this event was a visit to the nutrition services program and school district by Missouri First Lady, Lori Holden. Other popular marketing events were National School Lunch Week and National School Breakfast Week.
At the presentation, Opaa!'s Director of Development, Linda Jones, stated, "Lisa did much more that just the required marketing events and showed great creativity and diversity with her promotions. We are truly looking forward to seeing what great ideas Lisa has for the upcoming school year." Lisa has been Opaa!'s Director of Nutrition Services at the Fayette R-III School District since August of 2002.
Opaa! Food Management, Inc., is based in Ellisville, Missouri, and is celebrating its 25th year of operation. Opaa! currently operates the nutrition programs for 44 Missouri school districts and has been serving the nutritional requirements of the Fayette R-I School District since 1989.
At its annual Summer Retreat July 29-31, 2003, Opaa! Food Management announced Jan Frederick, Opaa!'s Director of Nutrition Services for the Kennett #39 School District as the recipient of the Director of the Year award. Company officials selected Jan as Director of the Year from among all of Opaa!'s Directors' of Nutrition Services across the state of Missouri. The criteria for selection included top ranking in the categories of creative marketing, employee training, employee safety, fiscal performance, and student and adult participation.
Jan has been a food service employee since 1974, an Opaa! employee since 1992, and Opaa!'s Director of Nutrition Services at the Kennett #39 School District since 1996. Jan had previously won Opaa!'s New Director of the Year award for the 1996-97 school year and is the first Opaa! employee to have won both the New Director and Director of the Year. Jan and her husband Myrl live in Kennett and they have two sons, Scotty and Danny, and five grandchildren. When not at work, Jan enjoys her church activities at the Harrison Street Church of Christ.
As Director of Nutrition Services, Jan supervises five serving sites in the Kennett #39 School District. As to her selection, Jan said, "This is quite a surprise! I am very honored to be recognized by Opaa! and I would like to give credit to a great group of employees. Without their support and cooperation, this award would not be possible."
Opaa! Food Management, Inc., is based in Ellisville, Missouri, and is celebrating its 25th year of operation. Opaa! currently operates the nutrition programs for 44 Missouri school districts and has been serving the nutritional requirements of the Kennett #39 School District since 1992.