Cheers to 20 Years!

In a surprise acknowledgement of appreciation, PMCA Chair Tom Houlihan, Guittard Chocolate Company, recognized COO Yvette Thomas’s 20 years of service to PMCA.

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PMCA Distinguished Service Award

Dedicated PMCA volunteer, Reginald Ohlson, retired from Mars, Inc. was named the second recipient of the PMCA Distinguished Service Award for his longtime outstanding service to PMCA. Reg is active on the Production Conference Program Committee, which he has served on since 1999. He also currently serves on the PMCA Board of Directors, a position which he has undertaken multiple times. Reg has presented and moderated at the Annual Production Conference and was instrumental in planning Hosted Displays for the Monday exhibit. He has been recognized throughout the confectionery industry, including but not limited to being the recipient of the AACT Stroud Jordan Award and being inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame.

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Marie Kelso Memorial Award

Steve Genzoli, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company handed down the position of Marie Kelso Memorial Award Chair to Sarah Houle, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company in a symbolic passing of a comically small torch, which those in attendance found amusing.

Ms. Houle then presented the award to Pam Gesford, The Hershey Company. Ms. Gesford is the twenty-fifth recipient of the Marie Kelso Memorial Award for her presentation titled Rheology of Sweets, which was presented Monday, April 11, 2022 during the 75th Annual Production Conference.

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Dennis L. Zak Education Award

Student Outreach Program participant Skylar Moreno, University of Florida was the second recipient of the Dennis L. Zak Education Award. The award seeks to honor Dennis Zak’s love for science, learning, mentoring and confections by recognizing the PMCA student participant who most exhibits these qualities. It is bestowed by Karen Zak and presented at the PMCA Annual Production Conference. Students who are chosen do not know they are the recipient until the award presentation during the annual dinner. The second photo below shows the moment Ms. Moreno (left) realizes her name is about to be called.

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Post-Dinner Celebration

After the awards dinner, attendees were treated to spicy candy tasting stations and a DJ. Traditionally, this is when attendees redeem their blue tickets (found inside each full-conference attendee badge) for PMCA candy bags, which are stuffed with generous donations from member companies.