At a time of massive, generally disquieting global change, the milling industry should be greatly encouraged by new leadership taking charge at the North American Millers’ Association. In August, NAMA announced Jane DeMarchi had been named the group’s new president. DeMarchi joined NAMA from the American Seed Trade Association. Then, at its Oct. 2 board meeting, NAMA elected as chairman D. Ford Mennel, president of The Mennel Milling Co., Fostoria, Ohio, US.
DeMarchi brings both outside perspective and familiarity to her new position. Before joining the ASTA, DeMarchi had spent more than six years with NAMA from 2004 to 2010 as director of government relations. Millers who recall working with her during that time period expressed delight that NAMA was able to recruit her back to the fold. Mr. Mennel is among the younger milling executives to be named chairman in NAMA’s history, but during the seven years he has led Mennel Milling he has established himself as an engaged, thoughtful and respected industry leader. As a Mennel he also brings an unmatched multi-generation family tradition of NAMA/Millers’ National Federation leadership.
NAMA’s board was meeting at a time when milling faces many serious challenges. Like so many other organizations, NAMA will not be gathering in person for its annual meeting, for the first time in decades. Per capita flour consumption trends remain worrisome, and milling continues to be plagued by excessive production capacity. The timing for such impressive new leadership could not be better.