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TO:          4MAC Advisory Committee Members
FROM:    Cindy Giese, SWMSS Cooperative Food Bid Manager
RE:          Upcoming Meetings Have Changed: 10/30, 11/1, & 11/2
DATE:      Monday, October 8, 2018

Greetings to All, and Happy Fall!

I hope that each of you are off to a fantastic new school year. I wanted to reach out to share some important information about our upcoming food bid, let you know about some changes at Southwest Montana School Services, and provide some valuable information about our upcoming 4MAC meetings.
First, we have updated the bid to ensure that it complies with the most up-to-date USDA food procurement regulations. Notably, some recent guidance related to the "Buy American" provisions strongly encouraged the addition of specific language to compel compliance, which we provided in the IFB. Further, we have extended the deadline for our vendors with the hopes that more time will result in better pricing for all participating districts.
Next, following the retirement of Bruce Grubbs, SWMSS is under new leadership. Tom Franta came on board this summer, and he is excited to improve, expand, and continue this important program. While Jennifer Brekke and I will continue to be your prime contact with the program, please feel free to reach out to Tom at or (612) 360-7930 with any comments, questions, or concerns.
Finally, we are looking forward to getting great feedback from the 4MAC committee this fall; information about the scheduling of these events is detailed below. The primary purpose of the committee is to solicit the feedback of our program participants on items available or potentially available in the bid, and to ensure that the products that are offered meet each of the participants' high standards for quality. Our expectations remain unchanged: we expect you to attend our annual meeting (pending inclement weather), provide an accurate and thorough evaluation of the products presented, participate in discussions and sharing of information with others, and promote the SWMSS bid to other food service managers across the state.
While we will continue to invite all that have participated in the past, it is important to note that each of the 4MAC committee meetings will prioritize those that have participated in the SWMSS program within the past bid cycle. Those who have not participated in the SWMSS bid in either of the previous two bid cycles are still invited to attend for the valuable professional development but will be charged $80 to cover program and location expenses. The 4MAC committee meetings and professional development will remain free of charge for all SWMSS bid participants.
I would appreciate a response from each of you as to your attendance at the committee meetings. I would like to thank all of you for your commitment to this program and your assistance in moving forward to improve the process of feeding our kids. Listed below is pertinent information regarding dates, locations, time frame and agenda. Please note the date changes for all locations and the change of site for the Missoula meeting.
Each meeting runs from 10 am - 2 pm. Participants will receive certificates for 4 hours of Professional Standards credits for attending. There will be no reimbursement available for time, travel, and/or lodging from SWMSS.

East Region:  Miles City Sleep Inn  |  Tuesday, October 30th
Central Region: Great Falls Heritage Inn  |  Thursday, November 1st
West Region: Missoula Food Bank  |  Friday, November 2nd

The agenda for each meeting is as follows:
10:00-10:10           Arrival and Introductions
10:10-10:30           Cooperative Bid Updates
10:30-11:20           CORE / Steve Worthington
11:20-11:30            Break/Broker Change
11:30-12:20            Food Marketing Service / Jerry Newhouse
12:20-12:30            Break / Broker Change
12:30-1:20              Acosta / Don Peters
1:20-1:30                Break
1:30 -2:00               Evaluations & Group Discussion
The brokers invited to this round of meetings are from Billings and represent companies that have products on our bid. These brokers and their assistants are making the effort to travel across Montana and cover the whole state in one week and are excited to have the opportunity to demo their products to us.

The Spring 2019 Order Window runs
Nov. 15 - Dec. 11.

Again, thank you to everyone who participated in our Fall 2018 order window. Suggestions for improvements in the order process or changes to the program are greatly appreciated. In fact, we recently made a HUGE change to our order process through the Marketplace that will make your order process go much faster. Thank you for the feedback! You asked. We delivered. You're welcome. Details coming in November. Mmmwah!
Again, thank you for your willingness to serve on our advisory committee! Your attendance ensures that our bid most closely meets the collective needs of our program participants. Please mark your calendars for this important event. I look forward to seeing you there!
Cindy Giese
SWMSS Cooperative Food Bid Manager

Cindy Giese, SWMSS Co-op Food Bid Manager   |   cell 406.366.9829
Jennifer Brekke, SWMSS Marketing Coordinator   |   office 406.522.6024

Southwest Montana School Services    |  
  |    800.284.9271