Thomas Dempsey will take up the post of CEO at the SFA on July 1 as part of a strategic move to enable current president Jim McCarthy to focus better on government relations.
Speaking to BakeryandSnacks.com at Snackex 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden, Dempsey said he has big plans in place to ensure the SFA remains relevant to a changing and growing snack sector.
“I would like to see more cooperation between trade associations like the European Snacks Association (ESA) and the National Confectioners Association (NCA),” he said.
“We do already share and collaborate on many topics, including regulatory issues. But I would like this to be openly and proactively, rather than reactively.”
“These are the types of synergies we need to leverage to provide better access to education, information and government relations for our members,” he added.
Dempsey said he would work to ensure the trade body remains relevant and valuable to members amid a changing environment.
“The industry itself is consolidating...We need to transition ourselves to become an association that proves of value to these international players. Lines in industry are also blurring – you have salted snacks, biscuits, cakes, popcorn and bars – and the narrowness of what a company used to do is expanding, so we need to stay relevant to all these segments too,” he said.
Dempsey said that another challenge was working with an increasingly international membership.
On the ground, first-hand experiences
“I want to implement a more aggressive travel plan to visit our members to see what they’re doing. We need to be able to walk in their shoes, to understand their needs and see first-hand the challenges they are facing,” he said.
One challenge facing some snack makers is keeping up with the fast pace of technological advances, he noted.
As not all players are able to provide training facilities, he said the SFA should provide such technical training for new or current staff where needed.
“Being able to attract a workforce that is competent with new technologies is an industry challenge,” he said.
SFA president Jim McCarthy previously told us about many more challenges up against the snack industry. (See HERE)