Scott Swogger SNA Member Since 2002 » Kendallville, Indiana You’re more likely to find Scott Swogger climbing a mountain or working around the family farm than relaxing poolside. Swogger attributes his drive and his “get-up-and-go” attitude to lessons he learned from his father. As a former chair and current vice chair for the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) Board of Directors, Scott’s guidance, support and leadership demonstrate a genuine commitment to school nutrition that extends beyond his work as president and CEO of AccuTemp Products, Inc.—one that is reflected in his being named 2016 SNA Industry Member of the Year. On Inspiration Growing up on a farm in Indiana, I learned many important lessons from my father that became the basis for how I live my life and how I approach my work. Some of his favorites included “Hard work never killed anyone” and “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” I internalized those lessons, and today I use them as the foundation for our corporate culture. For example, he used to say, “If you borrow something, return it in better condition than you found it,” which at the time related to borrowing the neighbor’s hay wagon. The lesson I take from that now is to be a good corporate citizen and to leave the world in better condition than I found it. That’s foundational to what I want to see AccuTemp do from a business standpoint. And it certainly doesn’t exclude giving time to other things, such as the School Nutrition Foundation or Big Brothers Big Sisters or even how I leave the family farm for another generation—or leave our grandchildren prepared to make a difference in their world. These touchstones serve me whether I’m mentoring an employee or planning an event like the SNF Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes—taking that inspiration from my youth and passing it on to others, to encourage them to become influencers. The passion I have for children is rooted in my love for my family, my kids and my grandkids. They provide me with inspiration and direction as I consider the legacy I am leaving for them. If you can’t get passionate about kids, there must be something wrong with you! On Leadership I’m kind of a driven person; I have a strong desire to get things done, and get them done quickly. The toughest thing for me can be to set a direction and then stand back. Leadership is a delicate balance, and every situation is different, but whether I’m working with my team at AccuTemp, helping SNF create a strategic plan or raising awareness for #GivingTuesday and the Celebrations it all goes back to another foundational lesson from my dad: “Never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.” My dad always took the crummiest job, whether it was baling hay or shoveling manure. Most people want to take the easiest job, but he took the hardest. Tackling a big job, like realigning the Foundation’s strategic plan to more closely match SNA’s overall mission, means keeping track of a lot of moving parts. Finding the enthusiasm is easy—we’re all passionate about helping school nutrition professionals and the students they serve to succeed. However, striking that balance between leadership and effective teamwork is something I’ve learned and developed over a lifetime in business. I don’t hold someone to a different set of standards than what I hold for the leadership team or myself. On Achievement Today, we have everyone on staff, from Baby Boomers to Millennials, and managing those different expectations, needs, work styles and personalities can be difficult. But diversity is important for an organization to have staying power and leave a legacy. It’s also important to be able to assess the people you bring into an organization and to make sure—as well as you can—to find people who are like-minded and share like values. Diversity is important, but it’s also crucial to build a cohesive team with people who fit into the corporate culture. I use a TEAM acronym: The “T” is for trust—honesty and business ethics—and the “E” is for energy and enthusiasm. The “A” stands for accountability and actions—we do what we say we’ll do. The “M” stands for manage, measure and metrics. Ultimately, we want to leave a lasting legacy, whether it’s for our families or in our work environments. We are here for such a short time. In the grand scheme of things, we are a grain of sand, so to really make a difference in the world, you have to make sure you’re doing a lot of the right things. On Goals As I look back on my career with organizations—of all different sizes and corporate cultures—I stress one thing more and more: There is no environment in which doing the right thing at the right time, and for the right reasons, is not possible. There is no environment—whether it’s a corporation or a school cafeteria—where that philosophy doesn’t fit. “Do the right thing, and do it for the right reasons” brings me back full-circle to my dad’s early lessons. Sometimes it’s hard, and we think to ourselves, “I’m doing this because that’s how we do it” or “This is what so-and-so expects,” but we’re ultimately here for one reason: to do the right thing, at the right time for the right reasons—leaving the world better than we found it. As told to Christina Uticone, a freelance writer in Houston, Texas. 30-SECOND BIO CURRENT & CHILDHOOD HOMETOWN Kendallville, Indiana, on the farm his family has owned for 70 years EDUCATION B.S. in Business, Indiana University, Kelly School of Business TITLE President & CEO, AccuTemp Products, Inc. COMPANY AT A GLANCE Founded in 1993, AccuTemp Products is an industry leader in commercial foodservice cooking equipment for all segments, including schools. Company philosophy: “Provide products that improve quality of food, cut labor costs, assure health, food safety and improve the environment.” SNA LEADERSHIP School Nutrition Foundation, Board of Directors, Chair, Vice Chair PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP Institute of Child Nutrition, National Advisory Council; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana, Board of Directors; Ketner School of Business, Trine University, Advisory Board. FAMILY Wife Jane, married 43 years; two sons and daughters-in-law and four grandchildren
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