Previous Award Winners

Name OrganizationAward TypeYear Awarded
Citation Summary
Patty Harvey
ConAgra Foods
Certificate of Appreciation
Melva Ball
Nebraska Department of Agriculture
Ruth Hendy Award (Administrator Award)
Angela Kohls
FDA Office of Partnerships
Outstanding MCAFDO Award
Angela has been a longtime member of MCAFDO in both her state and federal positions. In her current FDA position Angela has taken it upon herself to be the motivator that keeps the MCAFDO Board of Directors moving forward. Her dedication to regularly scheduled conference calls and taking control of the conference agenda has been vital in organizing our annual conference. Angela is also an asset in scheduling and confirming FDA speakers and participants in our annual conference.
Scott Platt
Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals
Outstanding MCAFDO Award
Scott Platt has been the MCAFDO Treasurer since 2011. In that role he has been instrumental in making the annual conference happen, administering the small conference grant, and maintaining a web site presence. Without his participation we would be unable to make the annual MCAFDO conference a success. He also was instrumental in moving MCAFDO forward and instituting credit card acceptance and moving us into the Wild Apricot membership and meeting management system.
Steve Moris
Kansas Department of Agriculture
Ruth Hendy Award (Administrator Award)
Steve Moris has been very involved in MCAFDO since approximately 2007. Mr. Moris has served as president for nearly two terms, he has assisted in the planning of numerous conferences, and has consistently promoted MCAFDO. Without Steve's leadership, MCAFDO may have not continued in 2010-2011. Further he has served AFDO as its secretary, treasurer, and is now Vice President. Steve has demonstrated commitment by bringing a large number of his staff to the conference each year, providing speakers, committee members, and countless hours leading the organization.
Jeff Jackson
Arkansas Department of Health
MCAFDO Recognition Award - Achievment
Jeff has been a longtime member of MCAFDO. Within the last year, Jeff had to take on temporary supervisor responsibilities in addition to his inspector duties. Jeff is always knowledgeable and offers input in many areas of discussion during conferences and is always there to answer questions when needed. I appreciate Jeff and his ability to go outside of the box to find a solution to a problem.
Tom Jensen
Retired from NE Dept of Agriculture - August 28, 2016
Special Recognition Award
Brief description of accomplishments : Tom Jensen has been with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture since 1977. He was the Nebraska State Lab Director for 32 years before becoming the Chief Administrator in 2011. Tom has made an impact on the field of environmental health with his commitment to the Association of Food and Drug Officials, and the Mid -Continent Association of Food and Drug Officials, as well as the American Association of Control Officials who regulate feed, fertilizers and pesticides. Tom is also active in the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and has been a member of AOAC International. Tom served on several committees and boards, including the Official Methods Board and the AOAC International Board of Directors. In 2001-2002, he served as President of AOAC International. For his service to the Association, he has been named a Fellow. Since 2003, Tom has served as the department’s Emergency Coordinator, with responsibilities in Homeland Security and emergency management. Under his direction, NDA employees have learned the Incident Command System, which has been used several times; most recently with the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) event in northeast Nebraska. Tom has been instrumental in acquiring grants to keep the Department in a leadership role in many areas. The Feed program and Food program are enrolled in the Regulatory Standards Programs. The Department is actively involved in the Specialty Block Grant program and the Farmer Market Program.
Christopher Sparks Houston Health Department
Outstanding MCAFDO Award
2018Mr. Sparks Managed the Public Sanitation and Retail Food Safety Group under the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) from 2013-2016 and was pivotal in the implementation and adoption of the 2013 FDA Food Code into the 2015 Texas Food Establishment Rules. Before Mr. Sparks there were many failed attempts to pass new FDA Food Code into Texas due to legislative issues like Raw Milk and Cottage Food. Mr. Sparks with his first attempt was able to setup stakeholders meeting, answer comment periods, and pass a draft of proposed rules by DSHS General Council and then into the Texas Administrative Code giving Texas a new food code in almost 10 years. Doing all this while working on and completing his 2nd Master’s Degree in Public Health from Texas A&M University.
Steve Mandernach
Iowa Department of Inspecitons & Appeals
Ruth Hendy Award
2018Steve Mandernach has been very involved in MCAFDO since he started in his current position almost 10 years ago. Mr. Mandernach has served as MCAFDO president and he has assisted in the planning of nearly every conference for the past 10 years, and has consistently promoted MCAFDO. Without Steve's leadership, MCAFDO may have not continued in 2010-2011. Steve has demonstrated commitment by bringing a large number of his staff to the conference each year, providing speakers, committee members, and countless hours leading the organization.
Preston Moberly
Iowa Department of Inspecitons & Appeals
Achievement Award
2018"Since joining the Department less than two year's ago Preston has become a leader in the food safety program. He has a positive ""can do"" attitude with a passion for food safety. He has been a leader in working to improve processes in many areas and always up for a new challenge. He has embraced the concept of environmental assessments for foodborne illness investigations, actively improved the process for temporary food events, exceeded productivity expectations, and has handled complex enforcement with little coaching.
Sue Holbert
ConAgra Foods
Certificate of Appreciation
2018Certificate of Appreciation is herby presented to Sue Holbert for her outstanding and unwavering support for Mid-Continental Association of Food and Drug Officials and leadership in advancing collaboration between the food regulatory and regulated communities.
Julie LoeraTexas Department of State Health Services
Certificate of Recognition2018Certificate of Recognition is herby presented to Julie Loera recognizing her twenty-six year career with the Texas Department of State Health Services and her leadership with the US Food and Drug Administration's Manufactured Foods Regulatory Program Standards and the Human and Animal Food Rapid Response Team programs.
Kurt Rueber
Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals
Outstanding MCAFDO Award
In the past year, Kurt Rueber, Environmental Specialist, has worked on two complex investigations for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Food and Consumer Safety Bureau. The first was a long-term compliance case with an operator resistance to change. This investigation was conducted jointly with our FDA District Office. Kurt showed great poise, patience, and resolve to move this operator towards compliance. The investigation stretched over a year with the end result of the operator selling the business. Once the business came under new ownership Kurt worked tirelessly to ensure the new owners were educated on all the regulatory requirements. A second instance of Kurt’s ability to work on complex investigations was demonstrated during investigation into at a dietary supplement firm using kratom as an ingredient. Kratom is an unapproved dietary supplement ingredient that has been linked to adverse health effects. Again, this investigation was jointly conducted with our FDA District Office. Kurt worked alongside an FDA CSO for over a week. Although this investigation began as a joint FDA/Iowa inspection it quickly became much more. Product samples were collected, both finished products and raw materials were embargoed and ultimately all kratom and products containing kratom were destroyed with full cooperation of the firm. Kurt’s positive attitude and ability to dive into any investigation with confidence and poised enthusiasm makes him an excellent nomination for the Outstanding MCAFDO Award.
Brian Church, Barry Phillips, Tenesha Stubblefield, Scott Platt Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals
Achievement Award
We would like to nominate this group of inspectors for the Achievement Award due to their above and beyond response to an investigation initiated by our FDA District Office. Our FDA District Partners were inspecting a facility with possible human health impact but could not clearly establish interstate commerce, so our Bureau decided to send in our manufacturing team to conduct an inspection and environmental sampling. This may sound routine, but our inspectors were informed of the assignment and the need to be onsite the same week of our staff meeting. This required quick reaction time on their part to mobilize as a team and make arrangements to be at the firm all week with just 48 hours of notification. Once on-site the team conducted a limited scope PC inspection and spent two days collecting environmental samples for a for-cause investigation. Their work allowed the Bureau to take quick and decisive action to fortify our request for recalling of product as well as demonstrating to the firm that their current processes lacked adequate controls to ensure safe production of food and posed a significant health risk to their consumers, which included students of several Iowa schools. Their collective effort was an example great teamwork, flexibility, and willingness to protect the public. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Food and Consumer Safety Bureau recommends that this group be consider for the Achievement Award for their exemplary response.
Elizabeth NuttTulsa Health Department
Special Recognition Award
Elizabeth Nutt has been a longtime member of MCAFDO as a local regulator. Elizabeth’s impact on food safety spans well beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of the Tulsa Health Department. In addition to her work in Tulsa, she has represented her program and MCAFDO on the national level as the Chair of the Conference for Food Protection and as a board member for the Association of Food and Drug Officials. Elizabeth has been instrumental in the planning and implementing of several MCAFDO Conferences, has worked on countless committees providing a local voice on national issues, and has always represented her program and MCAFDO with knowledge and passion. Her leadership as a MCAFDO Board Member has been vital to the continued success of our organization and has given countless hours helping lead this organization.
Jennifer "Jenny" Pierquet
Special Recognition Award
"Jenny Pierquet has been an active member of MCAFDO from her early days of working for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals - Food and Consumer Safety Bureau. Even though she has left that agency, she continues to server her fellow MCAFO members. Jenny was the main person who worked on and submitted our Small Conference Cooperative Agreement (grant) with the Food & Drug Administration. As a result of her hard work, we were awarded the grant. This is just one of a few examples of why Jenny is deserving of this recognition.

While she worked for Iowa, she was the Manufactured Foods Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) Coordinator. She was one of several coordinators that worked on developing the Coordinators Manual. This is a guide that is helpful to all programs that are enrolled in the MFRPS. She was also instrumental in developing a workshop for Program Standards Coordinators during the annual MFRPA meeting.

In her current position with The Association of Food & Drug Officials as Project Manager, she continues to assist those MCAFDO state programs that utilize USAFoodSafety or USAPlants. She has been instrumental in getting a new software support vendor for the state users. She communicates issues with the state programs and the new vendor, and she is the main point of contact for state to process the licensing agreements between the State of Pennsylvania and the user states.

For the above reasons, I nominate Jennifer “Jenny” Pierquet for this award.
Tenesha StubblefieldIowa Department of Inspections & Appeals
Outstanding MCAFDO Award
"2019 was a busy year for Tenesha. Due to severe snow storms late in February, the Missouri River and its tributaries rose significantly in mid-March and floodwaters spread throughout SW Iowa. During the entire event, Tenesha was the “boots on the ground” representative of Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, visiting food establishments door to door in Glenwood and other small towns that were safe to enter. Hamburg and other small towns were not fully accessible but Tenesha and other DIA staff used telephone and email messages to check on the status of the water systems and the establishments affected.

During the first several days of flooding, the Department’s Food Emergency Rapid Response Coordinator, Operations Section Chief and Planning Section Chief were on vacation. Tenesha immediately took charge of all field operations in SW Iowa while coordinating activities with the Bureau Chief. During this phase, Tenesha capitalized on existing relationships with community leaders and reached out to others to build new relationships.

During Iowa’s RRT Activation, Tenesha continued to lead field operations and feed valuable information into the RRT’s incident command. This information was also shared with the State Emergency Operations Center.

Glenwood and Hamburg were the main communities operating under boil orders and boil advisories due to floodwater infiltration in their treatment plants. Tenesha initiated contact with and led the Department’s efforts to coordinate operations with Iowa’s water authority, the Iowa Department of Natural (DNR). As a result of her collaboration with the Iowa DNR, Tenesha helped to create new guidance regarding the use of dishwashing machines at establishments operating under a water advisory, and the new document was sent to all food establishments affected.

Most establishments had safe water supplies by mid-April and the Iowa RRT stood down on April 19, but Tenesha’s work was not yet finished. She maintained contact with communities that still had boil advisories, especially the town of Pacific Junction. She did not get access to that community until May, and the town of Hamburg did not have the boil advisory lifted until the end of May.

More rains brought more flooding over Memorial Day weekend, with evacuations taking place from the town of Percival. Floodwaters continued to cause concern through the summer and fall, including one establishment that was not accessible by Tenesha for inspection until October. Some areas still have standing water but it appears there are no longer food establishments operating on an emergency basis.

Through her efforts, Tenesha has maintained a positive relationship with the communities and DNR staff while working through issues of establishments operating without water or using an unapproved water source. She has been consistent in her efforts to reach the unreachable areas. In fact, persistence is her key quality trait that has served her well during her response efforts, and for that reason, she deserves recognition – for going above and beyond in the service of public health.
Mark SpeltzIowa Department of Inspections & AppealsRuth Hendy Award (Administrator Award)2022Mark is a passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated public servant committed to food safety. He uses his knowledge and vast experience to improve food safety here in Iowa and around the country. He further uses his skills and talents to mentor his staff so the impact on food safety can cast an even wider and more profound impact.

Mark’s accomplishments are many.
- Navigating through the ever-changing COVID-19 changes that impacted food establishments, providing education and regulatory enforcement in order to ensure compliance and promote public health.
- Modernizing our licensing system, which will reduce red tape and redundancy for Iowa businesses.
- Serving as MCAFDO President for two terms.
- Providing Iowa businesses excellent customer service and advice during the land hurricane (Derecho) that impacted Iowa during the Summer of 2020.

It is hard to put into words the impact Mark has had on our department and state. We are incredibly proud of Mark and his many accomplishments. We are very grateful to be able to call him a colleague. He is very deserving of the Ruth Hendy Award.
Ivy BremerSiouxland District Health DepartmentMCAFDO Achievement Award2022Ivy was a key partner with Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals after her discovery of food products for retail sale produced from unlicensed kitchens. She thoroughly investigated the sources of these products, and determined the products originated from multiple sources in Iowa and Nebraska. Ivy spent time reviewing social media accounts to track the retail locations selling these unapproved foods and put together a detailed spreadsheet which enabled DIA to activate ICS. Ivy was a key partner in our ICS activation, and through her efforts, allowed the investigation to move quickly and effectively, removing all unapproved products from retail sale in Iowa, and helping to get the Iowa and Nebraska producers to begin the licensure process. Ivy is a motivated investigator who is very thorough and follows through. She has been receptive and always willing to help DIA, and for her hard work and steadfast partnership with DIA she was nominated for this award.
Thao SchlichteIowa Department of Inspections & AppealsMCAFDO Achievement Award2022Thao has done an extraordinary job over the past two years evolving and growing the Rapid Response Coordinator role, utilizing tools provided to her to better Iowa’s program when in need. Thao stood up Incident Command Structure (ICS) more the past 2 years than the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) has ever done over the same period of time. This has allowed the Food and Consumer Safety Bureau to respond to natural disasters (Derecho, and Mini Derecho), and imminent health hazard to the public health, in a focus, timely, and effective manner. Thao oversaw the enforcement with COVID-19 due to the Iowa Governor's Proclamations and worked diligently to ensure the Food Bureau was responding appropriately while keeping DIA staff as safe as possible. She takes her job very seriously and cares for it's role and purpose.
Julie KralingIowa Department of Inspections & AppealsMCAFDO Achievement Award2022Julie Kraling was nominated for the MCAFDO Achievement Award due to her accomplishments of brining valuable training to both new and experienced Food Safety Inspections Officers through in-person, on demand online training modules and virtual training courses which incorporate adult learning techniques. For the last decade Julie has set the standard for retail food safety inspection officer training in Iowa. Over that time Julie has developed, continuously improved, and modernized how Food Safety Inspections Officers are trained in Iowa. Just prior to the pandemic, Julie completed development of four online training courses made available through IFPTI’s ABSORB Learning Management System to food regulatory professionals both in and outside Iowa. These courses included Risk Based Inspections, Report Writing Documentation, Compliance and Enforcement, and Supervision and Active Managerial Control. Most recently, during the pandemic, Julie successfully transitioned the Iowa New Inspector Training Course from a week-long in-person training course with field activities to the Google Classroom platform. This transition not only required a redesign of the training modules and exercises but also implemented new techniques for the students to connect the classroom training through field based homework exercises. Julie’s “we can do better” approach to training and mentoring new and existing inspectors is great example of how one individual can make a tremendous contribution to food safety and advance mission and purpose of MCAFDO.
Sara KinglandIowa Department of Inspections & AppealsMCAFDO Special Recognition Award2022Sara served as a mentor, trainer, standardization officer, and advocate for change to ensure employees are cultivated, educated, and able to succeed in completing Risk Based Inspections. Sara worked to educate establishment operators and worked to assist them in evaluating risk and working towards and achieving long term compliance to reduce food borne illness risk factors in their establishments and communities.
Kim Miller & Taylor BoyleIowa Department of Inspections & AppealsOutstanding MCAFDO Award2022While the Department of Inspections and Appeals, Food & Consumer Safety Bureau had two open vacancies for well over 9 months, Kim and Taylor covered retail food territory inspections spanning over 20 counties. These counties made up a majority of South Central and South West Iowa. Kim and Taylor documented over 200 inspections outside of their assigned inspection territories and completed their high priority inspections between 96-100% on time. Kim and Taylor did not let long drive times and a lot of high priority work slow them down. They were organized, efficient, and had strong communication with each other to get the job done. Their accomplishments were imperative to the IA Food & Consumer Safety Bureau's success.
Tenesha StubblefieldIowa Department of Inspections & AppealsOutstanding MCAFDO Award2022Tenesha Stubblefield was nominated for the Outstanding MCAFDO Award. One year ago, Tenesha accepted the position of Iowa’s Consumable Hemp Program Lead. Over the course of a year, Tenesha has overseen the implementation of Iowa’s new Consumable Hemp regulatory program. In the last 12 months she has conducted numerous outreach activities for industry, regulators and the general public including participation in webinars, development of guidance documents and training materials, created registration video scripts. She has also delivered presentations during state, regional and national conferences and meetings. Including participating in a Hemp Panel discussion during the 2021 AFDO Annual Educational Conference. In a short period of time she has developed highly collaborative relationships with other state agencies including the Department of Public Safety, Iowa Poison Control, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Board of Pharmacy, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, State Hygienic Lab and Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Her collaboration efforts have not stopped at the Iowa boarder. During a visit to Colorado this past year, Tenesha was able to tap into the experience and knowledge of a more mature program and bring back valuable insights for Iowa’s Program. The knowledge and expertise she has acquired has led to changes in Iowa's Consumable Hemp law and regulations. She has become a Subject Matter Expert in regards to hemp manufacturing and is leading Iowa’s Consumable Hemp Program compliance and enforcement activities. She is continuously searching for and identifying new collaborators and partners. These efforts along with her relentless research into arguably the most dynamic industry we have ever seen has made Iowa’s consumable hemp regulatory program “Smarter”. Tenesha embodies MCAFDO’s purpose and mission.
Merri Cross & Scott PlattIowa Department of Inspections & AppealsOutstanding MCAFDO Award2022Scott Platt and Merri Cross were nominated for the Outstanding MCAFDO Award. Merri and Scott successfully lead the Iowa Manufactured Food Program to achieve 100% conformance with all 10 Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) without any findings or necessary corrective actions. This is a tremendous achievement in itself, but to continue to maintain the level discipline and quality standards necessary during a pandemic and while the Iowa Manufactured food Team is rebuilding makes this an extraordinary accomplishment. Over the last two years, together, Merri and Scott reviewed, audited, developed interventions and guidance, trained, mentored, reinforced and followed up with both new and existing manufactured food team members to ensure we did what we said we would do. They are both incredible assets to Iowa and the MCAFDO family. Additionally, Merri is recognized for many other contributions she makes outside of her job position and title. Besides coordinating all of the IA Food Bureau’s grant deliverables, she is an inclusive team player who will fill in a gap when key players are missing during any of the Bureau’s Incident Command Structure (ICS) activations, or any other project the Department is involved in. Merri is inquisitive and always willing to try something new and out of her comfort zone. Her input and work with the IA Food and Consumer Safety Bureau is invaluable.
Tressa Madden-McGillFDARetiree Recognition2022Tressa Madden-McGill, Consumer Safety Officer/Standards Implementation Staff at FDA, is retiring in March 2022. She has been in her current position since December 2010 (11 years 2 months). Before working for FDA, she was with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) where she was a Program Director - Consumer Protection. She worked for OSDH from December 1986 to December 2010 (24 years 1 month). During her career, Tressa has been recognized with the Association of Food and Drug Officials’ President’s Award in 2013 and again in 2015; in 2013 she received the Tim Green Award for Environmental Health Professional from the Oklahoma Society of Environmental Health Professionals; in 2010 she was recognized for exemplary service in the environmental health profession by the Oklahoma Public Health Association. She is a member of: Association of Food and Drug Officials; Association of Southern States Food and Drug Officials; Mid-Continent Association of Food and Drug Officials; National Environmental Health Association and Oklahoma Society of Environmental Health Professionals. Tressa also serves as a Chair/Director for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Inc.
Dan KahlerNebraska Department of AgricultureRetiree Recognition2022
Nancy BeyerMissouri Department of Health and Senior ServicesRetiree Recognition2022
Elizabeth NuttAFDOMCAFDO Special Recognition Award2023Elizabeth has had an over 35 year career as in retail food safety. She has led the Environmental Health program at Tulsa Health Department, and for the last 2 years led the retail food safety program at AFDO. She was CFP Conference Chair along with serving on numerous committees, and multiple times serving on Council I (one). She is passionate about moving retail food safety forward and making the retail program more public health centric through things such as risk-based inspections, root cause analysis, and improving staff training. Elizabeth will be retiring in 2023.
Tabbatha Revas-FrenchOklahoma State Department of HealthMCAFDO Achievement Award2023Tabbatha is a hard-working individual who cares about public health. She has worked in public health for over 11 years. This last year she spent a lot of time outside her normal job duties helping with COVID pods (both vaccine and testing). She has volunteered to work events outside her area and has helped train new inspectors. Tabbatha used to run the public bathing program and is always happy to answer questions, brain storm, train, and help the current public bathing program. She does thorough inspections and works well with her establishments to bring them into compliance. Tabbatha is an outstanding inspector and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is lucky to have her!
Gary RutherfordOklahoma State Department of HealthMCAFDO Special Recognition Award2023Gary has been in public health for many, many years; including time in the military when he retired. He has worked at Oklahoma City County Health Department, and now works for the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). He has so many years of experience and knowledge. He trains new inspectors, educates other inspectors, and works with facilities. He has a practical approach and is happy to explain the science or why something is done a certain way. Gary is always happy to help a coworker or a facility. Gary is retiring in April 2023, his knowledge and wisdom will greatly be missed throughout OSDH, and public health in general.
Bryon FerroHarris CountyMCAFDO Achievement Award2023In my 22-year Environmental Public Health career, I've seen numerous civil servants' patience, sacrifice, and commitment to protect, educate, and assist their fellow citizens. Bryon is a great colleague, and an integral member of the Harris County Public Health Department. Bryon is the Senior Environmental Health Investigator who leads the Plan Review & Pre-Opening team at Harris County Public Health. His primary responsibilities include interpreting and reviewing architectural blueprints, food establishment applications, and other documentation submitted by architects and contractors. He verifies accuracy and authenticity, and assures compliance with Texas and FDA Food Codes. In addition, as a Subject Matter Expert for the department, Bryon liaises with applicable regulatory officials to ensure compliance and manage regulatory concerns throughout the county. His knowledge with regards to Plan Review and Environmental Public Health is exemplary. There is seldom a time when Bryon is unable to answer a question presented to him.

Harris County Public Health is one of the nation's most diverse and populous jurisdictions, with nearly 5 million people spread over 1,778 square miles. To provide service to this level of population density, you must have outstanding team leaders like Bryon. He's the first one to the office daily, never complains, and he's always willing to assist his colleagues and customers where needed, despite the tremendous volume of work.

Hopefully, this picturesque metaphor of Bryon provides a little perspective. I, at one time, was something like Robin and Bryon was the Batman of Plan Review. As Robin, I supported and assisted Batman Bryon's lead so that we could conquer any scenario or circumstances that came the department's way. Working side-by-side with hardworking and humble professionals such as Bryon has undoubtedly helped me maintain a sense of pride and desire to contribute to the greater good. Most public health professionals will agree that that sense of pride and desire is essential when your chosen career path is local government.

With great pleasure, this nomination is respectfully submitted for Bryon Ferro to receive the MCAFDO Achievement Award.
Jose Victor BaldovinosCity of South Padre IslandRuth Hendy Award (Administrator Award)2023J. Victor Baldovinos, Environmental Health Director, has been a leader in our City whom many people from other local, county, and state contact for advice because of his 20 plus years of knowledge and experience. During his first year of employment, he often had to go to larger cities for training. As a result, he became frustrated and became a member of the Texas Environmental Health Association (TEHA) and started providing trainings within the conference for people in the Rio Grande Valley. Within five years, he had to change venues as people from all over the state flocked to his conferences due to the magnitude of speakers. This December, Jose will celebrate 20 years of hosting conferences, and he plans to hand the conference off to others for continuance.

Jose garnished his Bachelor's in Multidisciplinary Studies with honors from the University of Texas Rio Grange Valley via attending night classes and online, hybrid courses. Jose was also recognized as the National Environmental Health Association’s only Texas recipient of the Certificate of Merit. He has received the Texas Environmental Health Association – Members Spotlight Award and Presidents Award, and the Valley Environmental Coalition Founder Recognition Award. He also was issued a Proclamation by Senator Eddie Lucio Senate Gavel Recognition.

He is the Chairman of the Port Isabel Housing Authority, President of the Texas Environmental Health Association South Texas Chapter, and the association's former President. He has served in the following capacities: Chairman of the Port Isabel Volunteer Fire Department, Vice-Chairman of the Port Isabel Historical Museum and Preservation Board, and Vice-Chairman of the Laguna Madre Golf Association.

Jose is also an active member of the following: Code Enforcement Association of Texas, Texas State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association, National Environmental Health Association, Texas Animal Control Association, State of Texas Alliance for Recycling, Mid-Continental Association of Food & Drug Officials, Texas Association of Municipal Health Officials, and South Texas Tropical Medicine & Vector Borne Conference.
Thao Schlichte
Merri Cross
Kurt Rueber
Taylor Boyle
Courtney Thomas
Sherri Sigwarth
Joe Luing
Kim Miller
Cathy Lord
Ryan Jepson
Kemi Oni
Tara Marriott
Rosa Haukedahl
Mark Speltz
Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, University of Iowa State Hygienic Lab, Iowa Department of Health and Human ServicesOutstanding MCAFDO Award2023Iowa's Food Emergency Rapid Response Team and Iowa's Environmental Assessment Team is nominated for the Outstanding MCAFDO Award for their exceptional response to the 2022 Multi-State Salmonella Typhimurium Melon Outbreak. Iowa activated Incident Command and stood up a Unified Command Structure (ICS) to respond to the outbreak. In response the team investigated 39 cases and visited 38 businesses including several retail stores, numerous unregulated roadside and farmers market produce stands, distributors, brokers and an Amish auction house. The team collected 54 melon samples which were analyzed by the lab along with a myriad of traceback documents. The command staff successfully pieced together information from multiple sources to create a complex traceback diagram which ultimately identified the likely source of the outbreak. FDA later confirmed the likely identified source.

During the investigation, the Environmental Assessment Team overcame multiple challenges in order to collect essential information, documentation and samples. Many points of sale were unregulated produce stands which operated in temporary locations. The team was able to track down these stands and collect samples, information and documentation using non-standard and sometimes very creative means. In most cases, the points of sale were unregulated. The team was able to successfully obtain necessary information from vendors, distributors, and brokers on a voluntary basis.

Each member of the team worked countless hours including many hours outside of normal business hours during the investigation.

The Iowa team continuously fed information to the FDA and responded to FDA’s questions throughout the investigation. This information was delivered timely and provided the FDA with information needed to make critical operational decisions.

This groups responses to the 2022 Multi-State Salmonella Typhimurium Melon Outbreak was truly outstanding and representative of the core values and purpose of MCAFDO.