Chick-fil-A serves up innovation at the NACAS Senior Executive Institute

Chick-fil-A, Inc. hosted the NACAS Senior Executive Institute on July 22-24, 2014, in its Innovation Center also known as “The Hatch.”


Chick-fil-A, Inc. hosted the NACAS Senior Executive Institute on July 22-24, 2014, in its Innovation Center also known as “The Hatch.”

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Chick-fil-A Innovation Center site was specifically chosen because it serves as an incubator for fresh ideas and provides an innovative environment for new processes and creative ways to view the many challenges facing senior leadership today.

Senior executive leaders from many campuses and business partners attended the three-day workshop that began with a Chick-fil-A Home Office “Backstage Tour” where the attendees enjoyed learning about how founder Truett Cathy grew his business from a simple four-stool restaurant to an industry giant with more than 1,860 restaurants in 41 states and Washington, D.C. Afterward, the attendees, along with the NACAS board of directors and members of the NACAS Foundation board, convened at the Westin Hotel where Rodney Bullard, executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, shared his personal story of perseverance and growth to become a United States Air Force Academy appointee where he learned valuable leadership skills, went on to work at the Pentagon and then heard the call to serve others. Bullard also shared how Chick-fil-A, along with other key members of the Atlanta business community, formed an alliance to build the Junior Achievement’s Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center that teaches more than 30,000 middle school students annually about financial literacy.

The following day was chock-full of events starting with an in-depth tour of Chick-fil-A’s Innovation Center. The attendees were able to see how a successful national company like Chick-fil-A is constantly innovating across all areas of their business. The experience covered how Chick-fil-A looks at challenges and solutions, the design and execution processes, as well as an up-close look at actual restaurant models in action.

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Great speakers were on hand to share ideas and solutions relating to auxiliary service challenges. Georgia Tech’s senior director of auxiliary service, Rich Steele, CASP, presided over a session to challenge innovative thinking and addressing senior leadership challenges to better execute strategy. Next on the agenda was David Stallsmith, director of product management for Color ID, LLC, presenting the latest ideas and innovations on campus identity solutions. Stallsmith was followed by a roundtable breakout session mediated by Ron Campbell, CASP.

Chick-fil-A hosted SEI attendees along with the NACAS board and members of the NACAS Foundation to dinner at Maggiano’s in Buckhead where the discussions from the day continued.

Chick-fil-A senior manager, Ryan Bowman, provided the following day’s presentation on How Great Leaders Serve Innovatively. Bowman shared various leadership models and challenged the group to better understand the leadership models that they are currently using and how important finding the right people and right leadership process is to the growth of the organization. Attendees were divided into groups for discussion and discovery about how to identify how they can lead and innovate on their campuses and in their businesses.

Ron Campbell, CASP provided a wrap up from the three days and challenged everyone to recall the way that Chick-fil-A focuses on innovation, guest interaction, and how a heart of service is woven into the fabric of their company. The session closed with Allen DuPont, senior real estate representative for Chick-fil-A’s licensing team, sharing a video on the importance of taking the time to understand that Every Life Has a Story.

The entire Chick-fil-A team provided an excellent experience for us. We certainly understand the need for a break with the family. I really enjoyed the ability to listen to Rodney Bullard, Elizabeth Snively, and Ryan Bowman talk about their roles at CFA and enjoyed the passion and enthusiasm they all shared. The center around innovation was right on point as well. I thought it was a great event!

Eddie Mills, CASP
Associate Vice President
Auxiliary Services
Georgia Southern University

SEI Attendees

  • 
Rich Steele, CASP – Senior Director Auxiliary Services, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 
Ruth Berger – Controller, Georgia Gwinnett College
  • 
Mark Palmore – VP Consulting, Neebo
  • 
Renaud Rodrigue – VP Higher Education, Richo American Corp.
  • 
Alan Coker, CASP – Director Auxiliary Services, The Citadel
  • 
Larry Alberts – Reg. Asset Manager, The Coca Cola Co.
  • 
Scott Kachmarik – Director of Auxiliary Services, University of Notre Dame
  • 
Jerry Brewer – Director of Student Life, University of South Carolina
  • 
Donna Swarb, CASP – Executive Director Auxiliary Services Campus Ops., University of Texas at Arlington
  • 
Laura Nairon – Executive Director Business Services, Vanderbilt University

NACAS National Board of Directors Attendees

  • 
Jean Kwaterski, CASP
  • 
Kathryn LeGros, CASP
  • 
Bill Redwine
  • 
Carlos Garcia, CASP
  • 
Ron Martel
  • 
Matt Portner
  • 
Dave Courtier
  • 
Eddie Mills, CASP
  • 
Chris Bradle

NACAS Foundation Board Attendees

  • 
Frank Mumford
  • 
Ken Ramey
  • Nancy Becerra
  • 
Dave Kratzer
  • 
Laura Stevens

Chick-fil-A, Inc. Hosts

  • 
Allen DuPont
  • 
Kim Howard

Julie Ahlgren
Julie Ahlgren, editor of College Services magazine, serves the association community through her role as a content strategist at Naylor Association Solutions. Ahlgren graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a specialization in online media and design. She started her career with Naylor in 2007 and began partnering with NACAS on its communications and publications in 2009. Outside of work, Ahlgren enjoys traveling to new destinations and using her journalism skills to record her experiences through writing and photography.

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