Congratulations to the 2021 Marie Kelso Award Recipient

Sarah Houle

Sarah Houle, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Sarah’s award-winning presentation, Nuts, Almonds, Chocolate – Functionality, Shelf Life & Liking was given during the 2020 virtual production conference. Find her presentation, paper and video in our conference materials database.

Sarah Woodling Houle is currently the research and development manager at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company in San Leandro, CA. In this role, she is responsible for leading the team of talented technologists that work on developing new chocolate bars, squares, baking items and professional products. Prior to her role at Ghirardelli, Sarah was a senior scientist at Continental Mills in Seattle, WA. In addition, she has also held positions as a staff scientist at The Hershey Company and a food scientist at General Mills. Her experience in product development has covered a wide category of products, including but not limited to fresh breads, breakfast cereals, caramels, sugar confections, baking mixes, popcorn, tortilla chips and chocolate confections.

Sarah holds a B.S. in food science from Penn State University and an M.S. in food science and technology from Cornell University. She is a member of IFT and the Western Region Committee of PMCA.

About the Award

All PMCA Production Conference presenters are eligible for the Marie Kelso Memorial Award. It includes a $1,000.00 cash award, a distinctive timepiece, a complimentary registration to the next year’s conference and the speaker’s name on a memorial plaque.

The PMCA Board of Directors established the Marie Kelso Award in 1997. It is given each year to the author of the paper presented at the previous year’s annual production conference that most significantly contributes to industry knowledge, thus honoring the memory of Marie Kelso and her faithful dedication and unwavering belief in the value of the production conference for the industry.

About Marie Kelso

Marie Kelso

Marie Kelso served as secretary to the Production Conference Committee for 38 years, and her name became synonymous with the event itself. In her youth, she was secretary to Hans Dresel, a salesman for Felton Chemical Company in Philadelphia, PA. As her boss worked tirelessly to organize and promote the PMCA Annual Production Conference, as well as AACT events, she organized and managed tirelessly as well.

After Marie left her job at Felton Chemical, the production conference became her life’s work. She was also active for many years in the Philadelphia Section of AACT.

Marie Kelso passed away in September 1995.

Award Recipients

All speaker papers can be found in our online conference materials database.

Nina Puch

Nina Puch, Knechtel, Inc.

Ms. Puch presented Advancements in Gummies Wednesday, April 18, 2019 during the 73rd Annual Production Conference.

Carly Meck

Carly Meck, Blommer Chocolate Company

Ms. Meck presented Mysteries of Conching Revealed Wednesday, April 18, 2018 during the 72nd Annual Production Conference.

Jeffrey Bogusz

Jeffrey Bogusz, Ferrara Candy Company

Mr. Bogusz presented Panning Equipment – Classic, Belt, Automated and Future State of the Art as part of the Basics & Beyond Seminar Monday April 3, 2017 during the 71st Annual Production Conference.

John Ashby

John Ashby, California Natural Products

Mr. Ashby presented Beyond Corn Syrup as part of the Basics & Beyond Seminar Monday April 11, 2016 during the 70th Annual Production Conference.

Mark Kline

Mark Kline, The Hershey Company

Mr. Kline presented Natural Pasteurization of Tree Nuts & Peanuts Wednesday, April 15, 2015 during the 69th Annual Production Conference.

Kerry Kaylegian

Kerry Kaylegian, The Pennsylvania State University

Ms. Kaylegian presented Milk-Derived Ingredients for Confections as part of the Basics & Beyond Seminar Monday, April 14, 2014 during the 68th Annual Production Conference.

More Award Recipients

2013: Joseph Bell, Joseph Bell Consulting

2012: Jordana Swank, The Hershey Company

2011: Abdoulaye Traore, Mars Chocolate

2010: Kurt Muentener, Keymount GmbH

2009: Tracey Duffey, World Cocoa Foundation

2008: Richard Hartel, University of Wisconsin – Madison (awarded twice)

2007: Cindy Cosmos, Bell Flavors & Fragrances

2006: Joe Smillie, Quality Assurance International, (QAI)

2005: Jeffrey Fine, AAK USA

2004: Greg Ziegler, The Pennsylvania State University

2003: Bill Dyer, Blommer Chocolate Company

2002: Nicole Staniec, Firmenich

2001: Harold H. Schmitz, Ph.D, Mars Snackfood

2000: Marlene B. Stauffer, Blommer Chocolate Company

1999: Susan L. Hefle, Ph.D., University of Nebraska

1998: Edward S. Seguine, Mars Snackfood