I was extremely fortunate and privileged to be selected as one of the 18 candidates to
participate in the 2010 NACUFS Financial Management Institute held at the ConAgra
headquarters located in Omaha, Nebraska. I felt that the institute was extremely well
planned and organized and I came away from the experience excited and prepared to
utilize various financial management ideas and tools for my own university.
The Financial Management Institute focuses on how to utilize financial tools to
successfully direct and control University food service operations. Cam Schauf, Campus
Dining Service Director at the University of Rochester, David May, Assistant Vice
President for Business Affairs at the University of New Hampshire, and Rich Neumann,
Director of Residential Dining at Ohio University worked extremely hard putting
together a superior program that provided in and out of class experiences as well as
After a fabulous welcome reception and dinner at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, day one started
with a presentation on basic budgeting from Dr. Ray Schmidgall. Dr Schmidgall is the
Hilton Hotels Professor of Hospitality Financial Management at the Michigan State
University and is the schools accounting and financial management expert. During the
presentation, Ray got the class started on the basics of budgeting. He went over the
different types of budgets, explained the difference between cash vs. accrual accounts,
went over some budgeting assumptions, reviewed the different types of costs, explained
forecasting, and went over depreciation methods. After lunch, David May gave a
presentation on revenue generating opportunities and the day finished with another
presentation from Ray on capital budgeting.
Day two continued with Ray Schmidgall presenting on operational budgets and financial
analysis. During the operational budget presentations we learned the purpose of
budgeting, how to understanding the process, how to forecast revenues, how to estimate
expenses, how to understand the control process, and how to analyze budget variances.
The financial analysis presentation explained the cost / benefit approach to analysis, how
to determine the breakeven point, knowing the five general classes of financial ratios and
how to calculate those ratios. During all of Ray’s presentation the class was given case
studies to practice what we had learned. Day two ended with a powerful presentation
from Rich Neumann on analyzing collegiate foodservice financial statements. Rich even
provided the class with a CD with examples and templates for the class to utilize when
they got back to their own Universities!
Day three began with a David May explaining the financial impact of meal plans and
retail operations as well as menu reengineering for board operations. After a tour of the
ConAgra facilities and a lunch provided by the chefs at ConAgra, Cam Schauf gave a
presentation on the financial impact of catering and c-stores. After the presentation the
class was than introduced to the final group project. The class was broken up into three
groups to focus on specific areas of a case study. Team members were given questions
and financial related issues with the expectation that they be addressed during the final
Day Four started with a presentation on contracts and risk management from Alan
Reichmuth, ConAgra foods director of procurement. After Alan’s presentation Cam
Schauf wrapped up the educational section of the institute with a presentation on
negotiations. The rest of day four consisted of group work as each group worked hard to
prepare for the presentations. Day four ended with an exciting ride on “Ollie the Trolley”
and an amazing dinner at Speezia Italian restaurant.
Day Five consisted of final group presentations and graduation! After it was all said and
done, I could not believe how much I had learned about financial management and how
much I had truly enjoyed the in class and outside of class experiences.
Thank you NACUFS for providing continuing education to us food service professionals.
I also want to express gratitude to ConAgra foods and the facilitators of this institute for
their exceptional hospitality and commitment to the educational process. It was evident
that everyone involved with the planning and presenting of the institute understood the
importance of financial management within collegiate foodservice operations. I strongly
recommend this institute to any NACUFS member wanting to expand on their financial
Assistant Dining Unit Manager, University of Northern Iowa