A Historical perspective behind the Hennessy Award
The Hoover Commission was established by
President Eisenhower to study ways to improve the efficiency
of government agencies. One such agency was the Department
of Defense. One task group was charged with making improvements
to commissary (principally the troop element as opposed to
the retail stores) and troop feeding programs. Among other
recommendations, the task group suggested that services initiate
a competition among food service operations that would identify
and reward the best ones. The Air Force was the first to implement
the recommendation and establish a program that would become
known as the Hennessy Trophy Awards Program. The program was
named in honor of John L. Hennessy who was a member of the
task group. Other members were Vernon Stouffer and Perry Shoemaker.
B. John L.
Hennessy - Recognized by US presidents as a leader in
his field, John Lawrence Hennessy was one of the nation's
most capable and respected hotel and restaurant
executives. Born in Angola, New York, in 1886, he
began working in hotels as a freight elevator operator.
He worked his way up through the ranks to become Vice
President of Statler Hotels in 1928 and the Chairman of
the Board before World War II. When Hilton Hotels
Corporation absorbed Statler Hotels, he became Vice
President of Hilton, the largest hotel corporation in the
world at that time.
1. When we
entered World War II, mobilization efforts presented
many challenges. In 1943, President Roosevelt appointed
Mr. Hennessy as Chairman of the War Food Committee
to develop food service systems capable of sustaining
millions of military personnel. He became the Special
Food Consultant to the Secretary of War and was a member
of the National Meat Board, controlling meat production
and processing during the war. As a member of the
Restaurant Industry Advisory Commission to the Office of
Price Administration, his expertise was used during food
rationing due to wartime needs. In 1946, he engaged in
fund-raising activities in the hotel industry,
supporting Disabled American Veterans.
1952, with the advent of the Nuclear Age, Mr. Hennessy
served as a special food consultant to the Atomic Energy
Commission at Los Alamos, New Mexico. He evaluated the
impact of nuclear radiation on food products. He was
appointed to the Hoover Commission. Their tasks
included improving military food service operations.
One of Mr. Hennessy’s recommendations was to encourage
the military services to adopt a program of food service
competition and inspire better management and command
support of food service. Mr. Hennessy did not live to
see his recommendation in action. At the time of his
death, he was working on the design of the cadet dining
hall at the Air Force Academy.
3. The memory
of John Lawrence Hennessy lives on in the annual Air
Force Hennessy competition—a testimonial to his efforts
in the food service field.
Services office at Wright-Patterson AFB, OHIO starting in
food service conferences. The first two of these
conferences had subcommittees that were charged with developing the ground rules and procedures
for an Air Force food service competition. They did develop
the outlines and members of the Services office staff
then completed the program. Early participants were Lt
Col John Oroszi, Capt Walter Pienkowski, and Roger
D. Early industry participants in the program start-up
were Ralph Kuenning, National Restaurant Association (NRA),
Phillip Connelly, International Food Service Executives
Association (IFSEA), and Dan Robertson, Society for Foodservice
Management (SFM). The Air Force participants were Lt Col
Vernon Cordell and Maj George Fowler of HQ USAF, Washington,
A. The original idea was to enlist the assistance of
outstanding restaurateurs to assist with the program.
It proved difficult to reach out and find individuals
who had the time and money to travel. It was suggested
that a better approach would be through industry-related
trade associations. Since several members of the Hoover
Commission task force were active NRA members, the NRA
was invited to participate. A strong local chapter of
the IFSEA in Dayton suggested that they too would be interested.
Also present in Dayton was NCR, who was a member of
Industrial Cafeteria Managers Association (now SFM).
suggested that they also might be interested, and they
were invited. At that time each of the associations represented
a specific element of the food service industry, thus,
providing a balanced approach. Each of the organizations
agreed to select representatives to be on the evaluation
|B. The first few presentations were hosted by one of
the organizations at one of their conventions. There was
no sponsorship, but simply to act as host and make arrangements
incident to the presentation. Several years later a serious
conflict in Association convention dates and the evaluation
schedule suggested that there would be an advantage to
one organization acting as host (sponsoring) organization
for several years running. The NRA was requested to be
the sponsor for a five-year period to provide the continuity
and stability desired. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
was signed by NRA President Page Yaw and HQ USAF Maj Gen
Charles Bondley. The agreement has been extended by MOU
since that time and is renegotiated every five years.
(Photo of the
first presentations at the Palmer House, 1958,
Air Force Services Office
Central to the Hennessy Trophy Awards Program has been the
Air Force Services Office (AFSO), also known under several
different names. When the Air Force separated from the Army,
it was recognized that there was a need for a quartermaster-like
organization. Patterned roughly after the QMC, but with emphasis
on overall management guidance
through the Major Air Commands
rather than direction as with the QMC. The office was established
under the Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) as the command
responsible for equipment, supply, and management. The original
commander of the division, within which AFSO was located,
was Col Dallas Knolls. He was succeeded by Col Nathan Folwell
after whose retirement in 1966 a succession of chiefs presided.
LT Col John Oroszi was Chief of the Food Division and Capt
Walter Pienkowski was head of the branch responsible for the
operation and management of the Hennessy Trophy Awards Program.
office was located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,
Ohio from 1954 to 1957; Mallory Air
Station, Memphis, Tennessee from 1957 to 1958; Marietta
Air Force Station, Pennsylvania from 1958 to 1960;
Olmsted Air Force Base, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from 1960
Personnel Support Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
from 1966 to 1979; 1979 to 1993 Tyndall Air Force Base,
Florida and in 1993 found its current home in a leased
office building in San Antonio, Texas.
C. Until the move in 1979, the Office was a part of
Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC), the major air command dealing primarily in supply
and logistics. With this move, the office became an
of Headquarters Air Force then called the
Civil Engineering and Services Center (AFESC), a field
operating agency (FOA) of Headquarters Air Force
Pentagon (HQ USAF). The office moved again
in 1991 to Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas
when Services and Morale, Welfare and Recreation merged
into a new FOA. The office was renamed the Air Force Services
Agency, and as it grew in size it was relocated to its
current location in the city of San Antonio,
Texas. A leased office building adjacent to San Antonio's
International Airport allows for easy access for staff
travel worldwide. Known today as the Headquarters
Air Force Services Agency (HQ AFSVA) today. This
office is a field operating agency (FOA), an external arm
of the Pentagon with worldwide responsibilities for all of
Air Force Services global support missions. Food
Service is the core force multiplier, from peacetime to
wartime; still today a force is supported by the food
supplied, created and served any time, any place that the
Air Force mission is projected in to. Some 3,700
Services specialists supply over $94M meals annually at a
delivered food cost of $184M.
D. Command lines have always presented difficulties,
as commands and installations sought to deal directly
with AFSO rather than following command/organizational
lines. Due to the worldwide nature of the function and
actions, this direct contact resulted in quicker action
than following command lines. It also generated some friction
as AFSO also dealt directly with many elements of HQ
E. Today, with the
reorganization of the Air Force in 1991, the Air Force
Services Agency freely supports all Major Commands
mission, Joint Service, Combined Command and multinational
mission demands reporting directly back to the
Headquarters Air Force Pentagon.
A. The HQ USAF conference workshop committee, in establishing
the guidelines for the evaluation, recommended that a
committee be formed to insure the direction and continuity
of the program. A Steering Committee, when selected, would
have representation from the AFSO, its major command (AFLC),
from each of the commands that would be providing a traveler,
HQ USAF/LE and USAF/SG, and from the three industry food
service associations participating in the program.
steering committee would meet prior to the evaluations
to make recommendations to improve current and future
year programs, based on input from the MAJCOMS, the Associations
and prior travelers. The committee would also provide
information and guidance to the current year travelers.
B. Concept. From the beginning, it was felt that there
could be no substitute for personal on-site evaluation
of a facility to effectively rate the facilities operation
and management results. The Steering Committee early on
spent much time discussing evaluation concepts that would
assure the best and fairest results. While it was agreed
that standards for evaluation were necessary to assure
uniformity in judging, it was essential that the evaluations
must be the result of personal visits. This process was
followed except for only one occasion when early in the
program severe fund limitations and a lack of command
understanding prevailed, precluding the final round visit
and resulting in a highly subjective winner decision.
C. The AF Form 1038, still in use today, is essentially
the same as the one developed by the original committee.
The relative weight for management operating procedures
and regulatory aspects still prevail, although there have
been changes in the weight of some elements and some changes
in philosophy. The effectiveness and usefulness of the
form is shown by the fact that many of the industry travelers
have taken the form home with them for use in their own
D. Geographical areas of evaluation.
At the time of the
origin of the program, the Air Force had large numbers
of forces in the overseas areas. Additionally there were
several major air commands located totally outside the
United States. Thus, it was decided that the three areas
should be evaluated and then the best of these three would
be revisited. They would select a winner, a first
and a second runner-up. The areas were the Pacific area,
the European area, and the continental United States.
In order to balance the number of bases to be evaluated,
some east coast bases were included with the European
area bases, and some west coast bases and Alaska were
included with the Pacific area nominees. This was in effect
for several years, but difficulties were encountered in
finding time and money for the second round evaluation.
Attempts were made to gather the travelers in one location
and to determine the winner by their collective discussions.
This was not totally successful. At about the same time,
there arose a perception in the minds of many that comparisons
between stateside and overseas bases could not be truly
made because of the differences in operational procedures
and practices. Each group tended to feel that the other
had an advantage. There was also a feeling that it was
not possible to fairly compare and judge a small unit-dining
hall with that of a large multi serving-line facility feeding
thousands. Based on these factors, perceived and real,
it was decided to do away with the geographical lines
and establish the basis as installations having one facility
and those having more than one. With some modifications,
this classification has worked out well.
E. Special Categories
- had to be established to suit peculiar
and/or non-recurring situations.
Force Reserve & Air National Guard Recognition - The work and encampment schedules of the
Air Force Reserve (AFRES)
(started 1980 -
Present) and the Air National Guard (ANG)
(1988 - Present) made
it difficult to coordinate schedules with the annual Hennessy
evaluation trips. Thus, it was decided to reward the best
installation based on the recommendation of their Command
whose food service people had evaluated their own bases
during the course of the unit's training periods.
AFRES preceded the Guard program. ANG actually
established a large and small category when first started
in 1988. They ran this program from 1988 - 1991,
when it was decided to finally have one overall winner.
Today, both programs proudly live on, evolving with their
own unique trophies, presentations and awards. Both
are recognized during the Chicago award programs.
Special Award (1967-1972)
- During the Southeast Asia (SEA) action there were
a number of food service activities; but, because of the
hostile environment, it was decided that it was not appropriate
for the evaluation team to do an on-site visit.
relying on the command food service visits, their recommendation
was used as the basis for the Special Award to SEA bases.
(3) Flight kitchens
(mid 1980's-1991) were included in the evaluations
in the early stages of the overall evaluation program,
incorporated on the AF Form 1038 Checklist. On a stopover visit
to an installation,
the HQ USAF/LE was greatly disappointed in a flight meal
experience that he had during his trip. His staff
was charged with taking a look worldwide at the quality of
flight feeding, surveying air and ground crews.
Feeding aircrews and passengers should be mission one for
Air Force Food Service. After challenging the
Headquarters Food Service staff with improving the program
system wide, it was suggested that flight kitchens be separated
from the Hennessy Awards evaluations and made the subject
of a separate program. MAJCOM awards programs
concentrated on turning flight feeding around, award their
"best" within each command. This continued for
several years until the flight kitchens improved to the
point where they could, once again, be included in the
overall Hennessy Awards Program. Today, they are
an important part of the consolidated Air Force level
Small Site Award (2001-
Present)- This award was added to the
numerous others at the request of Headquarters, U. S. Air
Forces in Europe in 2001. The basic idea was to
highlight the efforts of these isolated locations
scattered throughout Europe as the footprint of the Air
Force presents drew down after the Cold War.
process is internal to HQ USAFE staff, funded by HQ USAFE
and is presented in Chicago during the Friday evening Air
Force awards ceremony.
Feeding Operations Award
(2001- Present)- Through dramatic
realignments in 1998, it was recommended that ALL of the
Missile Feeding Operations staff be reassigned to the
Operational Missile Wings and work in concert with the
operational missile crews. This removed some 600
Food Service Specialists from the regular career field.
At the recommendation of several key Air Force Space
Command Services staff members, the creation of this
unique award was created to highlight the individual
efforts of this unique set of Food Service Specialists.
The evaluation process is internal to HQ AFSPC staff,
funded by HQ AFSPC and is presented in Chicago during the
Friday evening Air Force awards ceremony.
- This award was
discontinued at the request of HQ AFSPC with the last
award being presented in 2007 & 2008.
Do to overwhelming response it was brought back in 2009
and continues today.
(1) The original concept of team composition, since there
were three geographical areas to visit, was to have one
industry representative, one person selected from the
major commands (on a rotating basis), and one member from
the Air Force. This latter member came most often from
the Air Force Services Office, although in the first few
years a representative of the HQ USAF/LE community was
represented. Likewise, in the early stages the Surgeon
General's office requested to be included. However, their
actual support consisted only in attending planning meetings
and no representative ever traveled. The MAJCOM representatives
were hard to come by as, initially, the command was required
to fund their travel.
(2) MAJCOM participation became more complicated when
the criteria shifted from three geographical areas with
three teams to the multiple and single concept with only
two teams. It appeared that it would be possible to drop
the MAJCOM participation. Likewise, in the early days
it was desirable to have MAJCOM involvement, as the Hennessy
program was not well known, or readily accepted, and enlisting
the support of the Services family helped to strengthen
the program. It needs to be noted, however, that along
the line several of the less supportive commands provided
minimally qualified travelers--to the embarrassment of
the Air Force. The change to multiple/single also meant
there were three industry representatives for only two
teams. The NRA offered to provide an additional traveler.
Thus, each team would have two industry and one Air Force
(3) The composition, personalities, and qualifications
of the teams were based on several considerations. As
the industry representatives came from highly diverse
backgrounds, an effort was made to balance their qualifications
so that the teams would provide equal qualifications for
the evaluations. Likewise, the Air Force people were also
matched for qualifications. It happened that the Air Force
people often traveled more than one year. So, it was established
that the Air Force member should not be on the same team
two consecutive years; thus, eliminating any perception
B. Each of the Associations developed different criteria
for the selection of their representatives.
NRA solicits their Board of Directors for volunteers
to travel. Travelers are required to be able to spend
the time necessary and to be financially able to absorb
travel costs. The volunteers are screened and recommendations
made to the NRA president who makes the selection.
The IFSEA also solicits volunteers to travel on one of the
Armed Forces Evaluations. Volunteers select the Service
team on which they would like to serve. Volunteers
are reviewed by a committee within the IFSEA, which makes
recommendations for the President's appointment.
the SFM solicited volunteers. In the early days, the retiring
President most often was the volunteer, the appointee
and, thus, the traveler. Currently, the SFM traveler is
selected from the Board of Directors. The
supplies two travelers. An Air Force officer or
acts in a dual role as an evaluator and as the team
chief/coordinator. The latter capacity includes responsibility for relations
with travelers, itinerary development, contact with MAJCOMS
and later in the planning and arrangements at the presentation
ceremony. The second traveler is a senior enlisted
functional representative. This representative is
the "crew chief", a behind the scenes nuts &
bolts expert. A well respected, senior expert in the
Air Force Food Service operations team, they handle all
technical aspects of the internal operations.
Initially, most of the travelers were civilian
members of AFSO, since there often were no qualified military
members in the office. Beginning in the late 1970s, Air
Force officers were selected to travel, however no
Officers had been assigned in management and operations of
Air Force Food Service, so they always went externally for
volunteers. In the Hennessy's
first year MSgt Julius Boyd was an Air Force traveler.
(2) Each Association is requested to have a backup in
the event of emergency. Travelers have been replaced at
the last minute due to a variety of circumstances (Parks
1967, Clements, Flickinger 1972, O'Neil 2004 and others).
(3) In the early days,
MAJCOMS and bases had their own
organic aircraft. These could be used for in-theater flights,
however, for overseas flights MAC or contract carriers
were used. The industry representatives were accustomed
to first-class travel and often the clearance procedures
at overseas terminals were tedious and lengthy. In order
to expedite the travelers through the protocol area, their
orders placed them as an 0-7. (General Officer Equivalent)
This was a great expediter
and caused no problems, except for some of the female
travelers who publicized their one-star status when there
were no Air Force female one stars.
C. Industry Organizational Philosophy
National Restaurant Association's
is primarily drawn from the owner/manager level of food
service operations. Membership ranges from small independents
to the large chains. The NRA membership represented the entrepreneurial
aspect of food service wherein customer satisfaction and
profit are paramount.
The Society for
Foodservice Management had its origins in industrial
cafeteria food service, then the National Industrial
Cafeteria Managers Association (NICMA), representing the management level of company
food service operations such as Bell Telephone, NCR,
General Dynamics, Detroit
Edison, etc. This group later merged with an
association of food service contractors that served the
large corporations. The evaluation group provides
the excellent management and quality evaluation necessary
to a commercial operation.
International Food Service
Executives Association has its roots in the Stewards
and Caterers Association. Initially, this
organization was largely composed of those active in the
operation such as chiefs, stewards, bakers, etc.
This group provides a very effective
evaluation program of the Air Force bases' food
production effectiveness and quality.
A. From the beginning, all of the major commands
participated. On occasion a command might drop out for
a year or two because of internal command problems.
the Air Force the emphasis placed on food service is often
the result of either strong command emphasis and ample
funding. Not all commands are equal in funding and, thus,
it occurred that a command with strong funding and command
emphasis was in a position to win repeatedly. It was determined
that this was not in the best interest of the competition.
Thus, after a base won two consecutive years they were
required to lay out for a year. This situation generally
occurred in the one or few-base commands.
B. All of the
MAJCOMS were encouraged to participate.
However, it was difficult for the ANG and the AFRES to
fit their training days (periods) into the Hennessy Awards
cycle that occurred in March and so they were not included.
In the early years the AFRES did compete, but the performance
of their nominated base was substantially below that of
the other commands and they withdrew. Some years later,
because of the increasing emphasis placed on the AFRES,
they requested to participate. The same evaluation problems
existed as before, so it was decided to allow the command
evaluation to nominate a winner and receive a special
AFRES award at the time of the Hennessy Awards presentation,
but not to be in competition with other commands. Shortly
afterwards, the ANG joined the program under the same
C. A special award was established in 1967 to recognize the
efforts of installations in the Southeast Asia area. Once
again, for obvious reasons, it was not possible for the evaluators
to visit the command (PACAF) nominee. Under this situation,
the Command evaluation and recommendation was used as the
basis of the special SEA award. This award terminated at the
end of the war.
A. Locations: The award of the first Hennessy Trophy
and plaques took place (on a date I don't remember) in Ft
Worth, Texas in conjunction with the annual convention
of the IFSEA. The second presentation was held at the
Air Force Academy, Colorado in conjunction with the SFM.
The third presentation was made at the Chicago Navy Pier
in conjunction with National Restaurant Association Exposition.
From then on the presentations were made at the time of
the NRA exposition. This tradition has continued
over the years, traditionally held on a Saturday, Veterans
day, 3rd week in May each year. Initially, they were at the Navy Pier.
In 1963 the award ceremony was moved to the Palmer House
where it was held until 1982 when the Palmer House underwent
a major renovation. Since that time it had been held
at a variety of locations; the Hyatt Regency, the Chicago Hilton, the Marriott
and back to the Palmer House. The award ceremony
moved back to the flagship hotel for the NRA, the Hyatt
Regency in Chicago until 2001. Since that date, the
NRA has elected to relocate its Chicago flagship to the
Sheraton, downtown Chicago located directly on the Chicago
B. The program format has remained substantially the
same since it came under NRA sponsorship. The underlying
idea was to offer a program that emphasized the respect
for the Air Force and its efforts, honored the airmen
(and women) who achieved the victory, and be of continuing
interest to an audience composed principally of NRA officers
and board members and selected industry dignitaries.
has always been difficult to achieve a balance between
year-to-year sameness to the NRA members and the novelty
and newness to the Air Force participants. In
1994, at the recommendation of two key AFSVA enlisted
staff members, it was conceived to add an audiovisual
"centerpiece", a video montage of what was seen
by the travelers during their month long trip. This
short video tribute culminated both traveling teams best
of the best and replaced the old slide show presentation
by NRA travelers. These video centerpieces have
evolved each year and become a "poster child"
for Air Force Food Service professionals worldwide, as
well as continuing to sell the Air Force in this mixed
audience of professionals. In 1999, at
the suggestion of the NRA, the normal format of an awards
luncheon was changed and a spirited awards breakfast was
set. This format now allows attendees of the Hennessy
Awards a longer opportunity to attend the NRA's show,
exhibits and seminars held out at Chicago's McCormick
Place convention center.
C. The original trophy was purchased by the Air Force and
awarded to Charleston AFB South Carolina. A second trophy
was purchased and awarded by the SFM to Fuchu AS, Japan.
trophy was a traveling trophy and was used through 1980 and
listed both single and multiple winners on the plates located
around the base. A third trophy set was provided by NRA to
better support the multiple/single category awards beginning
in 1981. Each trophy contained the name of the winner on a
plaque on the base. The respective large and small category
trophy's rotate annual from the winning installation back
to the NRA and then are again presented at the awards ceremony
to the new category winners. An additional expanded base to
each trophy was added in 1991 to accommodate the winning bases
through future years. As the trophies revolve each year the
previous year's winner returning the trophy receives a replica
plaque commemorating their award year with the original trophies
plate on it. MAJCOM participants are recognized at the orientation
ceremony by military distinguished visitors and presented
a participants plaque. The runners-up plaques and the AFRES
and ANG plaques do not revolve. This practice continues today.
A. The sponsoring organizations approach their funding
(1) The NRA hosts the steering committee meeting in January
except when the meeting is not held at the NRA headquarters.
They also now host the Friday evening NRA President's
Reception for the winners of the Hennessy Awards and travelers.
They sponsor the Hennessy Trophy Awards banquet and pay
for the Air Force attendees and the distinguished guests.
They also provide for maintenance and refurbishing of
the trophies, the new plates that are put on each year,
and the special awards and runners-up plaques. They lend
assistance in housing, accommodations, and NRA Exposition
badges for the Air Force attendees. Travelers are responsible
for expenses incidental to the steering committee meeting
and the evaluation trip except those paid for by the Air
(2) The IFSEA provides a per diem to their traveler while
on the evaluation. The traveler is responsible for costs
of the steering committee meeting and other costs not
borne by the Air Force.
(3) The SFM provides support to their traveler much the
same as does the IFSEA, and is supported by the Air Force
in a similar fashion.
B. The Air Force funds for the balance of the program.
There have been some very lean years. Along the way, there
have been numerous efforts to reduce travel, consolidate
with other USAF award programs, do the evaluations by
rating sheets, have the program every other year, etc.
(1) The MAJCOMS bear the costs of the evaluation of their
installations. While this is irregularly done in conjunction
with regularly scheduled staff visits, such travel requires
considerable expense and commands deserve much credit
for their support of the program over the years. The commands
also bear the costs of travel and expenses incident to
the Hennessy Trophy Awards presentation in Chicago.
C. HQ AFSVA bears the costs of its travelers and staff to
the steering committee meeting. AFSVA also funds for the transportation
and other allowable costs for industry members on the evaluation
trip. They pay all the costs of their travelers. AFSVA also
supports the costs of their travelers and staff to the Hennessy
Trophy Awards presentation program in Chicago.
Travelers Association and Educational Foundation
A. The Hennessy Travelers Association (HTA) was born of the need to provide an activity
for airmen who attended the Friday night orientation program. The initial event was a beer and pretzel bash after orientation
meeting that was supported by donations from Vernon Cordell,
Jack Webb, and Roger Merwin. After two such events (with
additional contributors) the event went to Don Roth's
Black Hawk. The organization was born to officially support
the Friday evening event. This continued until 1984 when
the NRA recognized a serious conflict among their director/travelers
with the NRA President's Reception and the HTA social
and decided to include the Hennessy airmen in the President's
reception and consider it the Hennessy Reception.
B. The HTA is governed by a chairman with direction from
board members (prior travelers from all associations and
the Air Force) at an annual meeting. A nominal dues is
collected to underwrite the various programs the HTA
C. An Award of Excellence is made to an individual selected
by each evaluation team from among the installations they
visited as the most outstanding food service person. These
individuals are recognized at the Hennessy Trophy Awards
Ceremony and by a scholarship program that can be used
towards continuing education and advancement within
industry. Since 2002, the HTA has been blessed with
industry corporate sponsorship by the Otis Spunkmeyer
Corporation underwriting these scholarships as well as
individually recognizing each HTA nominee for the annual
overall Air Force level awards.
2005, the HTA undertook an initiative to both
celebrate 50 years of excellence and establish a permanent
entity, the Hennessy Travelers Association Educational
Foundation. The sole charter of the foundation is to
provide continuing educational opportunities for Air Force
Food Service professionals. Two major projects
were taken on by the HTA, first in celebration of the 50th
50 Air Force Food Service professionals from around the
world where treated to a trip to Chicago to the Hennessy
Awards celebration. The second major project was
a week long custom tailored educational event. This
at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Greystone
out in Napa, California. A
week long agenda capped off by
a powerful CEO roundtable at the end of the week was
developed. Both events where well received and
cherished by all that attended. Active duty, guard
and reserve from the Air Force attended as well as
corporate executives from a cross-section of the
hospitality industry. None of this would not have
been possible without the vision of two prior travelers,
Ed Tinsley (NRA) and Russ Benson (SFM). Of course as
you can imagine, the HTA took on fund raising efforts that
have never been seen before to support both events.
An outpouring of
industry sponsorship ensured both where memorable
events. The HTA continues to plan and seek corporate
sponsorship to provide additional opportunities for Air
Force Food Service professionals.
E. The HTA
provides assistance on request from bases for visits by
past travelers to improve their food service operation.
Several past travelers recently completed an
HTA handbook for future travelers to assist and
prepare them for what is truly a lifetime memorable
tour. It contains tips and new information like
rank and grades. The HTA has future plans to expand the organization into
potential placements of qualified candidates into industry
after their Service to their county.
Contact the HTA for more information.
Evolution, Tweaks and Team
A. Like any
successful idea, program or process, the Hennessy program
has evolved in many ways over the course of the award.
From starting out as an idea to exchange suggestions from
industry leaders with the armed forces through that
spirited award type process, the traveling teams
themselves had made key recommendations to further guide
the program. Changes to the types and amount of
trophies from just one to two actual exchange and rotating
trophies was one of those very first recommendations.
The idea to leave a replica plaque in place of the
returning trophy made the traveling trophies what they
have become today. These trophies are not a historic
record of the countless efforts that have both come from
those traveling teams and all of those that have not only
served their country but have served customers in the
chase for excellence. These coveted trophies are
simply priceless and have seen the world over, in many far
off lands as well as right here at home within the United
States . . . if they could only talk, just think of the
stories that they could tell.
B. Of course
the evaluation process itself has also been constantly
updated. That basic Hennessy evaluation checklist
used today is still the key document, the foundation to
that "open book test" all are trying to perfect. As
the Air Force has changed so has the checklist. Many
areas have been consolidated and concentrated into more
manageable areas. One of the biggest and most
extensive changes to the evaluation checklist was
introduced in 1998, when both of the traveling teams made
recommendations that the current eight evaluation areas be
combined into the five functional areas that there are
today. In 2001, the point system on each sub
evaluation criteria was eliminated and the accumulated
points for that overall functional area was used as the
basis for ranking and rating, eliminating "hair
splitting", again made by the recommendation of the
C. One of
the most unique changes suggested and then implemented was
made by the 2001 multiple team as they hammered out their
final selection of their overall HTA nominee for the award
of excellence while on site at Ramstein AB, Germany.
After almost 5 hours of debating and arguing on their
selections, the difficult choice was made. On the
minds of the team was what could they do to ensure that at
least all of the competing HTA nominees at least made it
to Chicago to see why they want to continue to compete and
hopefully win the coveted Hennessy Award. The idea
hit them to withhold the announcement of the overall
winners for both teams as to the Air Force HTA overall
winner! What was discussed was that the annual
announcement of the Hennessy Award winning bases
traditionally also followed with the announcement of the
over Air Force nominees for the two HTA winners.
What was apparent back then was once this announcement was
made, it drove who went to Chicago to receive the
participant plaques for their MAJCOM. In most of the
cases the local food service officer or superintendent
went, simply as a point of economics, while also attending
an annual workshop or the NRA's tradeshow itself.
What was missing was that the "youth" of the Air Force,
those young and inspired individuals, never got that once
in a career opportunity to see and feel Chicago. So,
the idea was suggested to Headquarters Air Force Services
and the Air Staff. Initially, it was met with some
challenge and questions, however once explained, it was
adopted and is still announced annually in this manner.
It has ensured that many more young eyes get to Chicago
seeing all the events and activities, hopefully inspiring
them to motivate other teams to work even harder on
ultimately wining a Hennessy Award.
Activities & Special Interest Tours
A. What better
place to come and experience the marvelous and successful
industry as the hospitality career field that both the
sponsoring associations and the Air Force food service
players both are rooted in. This is the original
home to the National Restaurant Association and many of
the supporting industry companies. There is great
heraldry in both. As travelers once again gather
with fellow travelers and see friends that they have also
watched perform daily routines, there have been some
unique traditions and key spots to share stories, discuss
how to improve and simply to just enjoy Chicago and all
that it has to offer.
Pub - The original "gathering spot"
for those initial
planners and travelers. This has a recorded history
of being the spot where the Hennessy Travelers Association
was first conceived as an idea to do more for those
serving their country as an Air Force Food Service
134 S. Wabash Ave.
Miller's is a Loop tradition, and
one of the few places in the area offering bar service
until the early morning hours. "We're not trying to be
fancy. We're taking care of the cross section of
people who are coming into this area," says Van Gallios,
one of the four brothers who bought the restaurant in
1950. Known for its ribs, chops and steaks,
Miller's also offers Italian dishes, seafood, salads,
egg dishes and lots of sandwiches. "We're much
cheaper than a tablecloth restaurant," says Gallios.
Meals average $13 with drink, though there's also
lobster tail for $32.50 and six ribs of Greek-style lamb
chops for $22.95. Only a block or so away from
Orchestra Hall and the Art Institute, Miller's provides
reliable meals at late hours in a neighborhood with
fewer dining choices than one might expect.
11:00 AM - 01:30 AM,
Seven Days a week - Bar Open until
O'Shea's - Some years ago, we have been told
around the mid 1970's, someone started the "gathering".
The tradition is that after the formal events of
orientation and special functions conducted by both the
National Restaurant Association and the Air Force
participants, they would "get out of costume" and find a
local watering hole with some of that only Chicago type of
entertainment. Most likely while being housed within
the now famous Hilton Tower's of Chicago, someone probably
heard a traditional Irish band belting out some of those
old Irish classics. That location, Kitty O'Shea's
has become the gathering spot, usually around an hour or
so after formal festivities have ended for the evening.
It has been known
that the Air Force crowd could take over this small corner
location. Over the years one could witness a
four-star general in the corner booth with some of the Air
Force's most junior food service personnel. Both
enjoyed the camaraderie and exchange of what has already
overwhelmed many. Now it has been said that many
stayed over the years longer than they should have.
Years ago, Saturday's awards presentations were a
luncheon, prior to the opening of the NRA's tradeshow.
But, like we've stated before, this two has changed over
Since 1999, the
Saturday program is now a breakfast that promptly starts
at 0800. With this, the gathering has normally ended
early than in years past when some where coming home as
the sun was coming up.
720 S Michigan Avenue
Hilton Chicago, Chicago, IL 60605-2116 -
over 20 different bars into one Irish masterpiece of a
design, resembling Dublin circa 1899. All the good beers
are flowing here, from Guinness to Harp to Killian's, and
everything in between. For a good, long night of getting
messy, make Kitty O'Sheas your pub of choice.
Sunday - Thursday 11:00 AM
- 01:00 AM
Friday - Saturday 11:00 AM - 02:00AM
2013 . . . a 57 year tradition narrowly escaped
abolished with all of the Armed Forces facing
restrictive travel budgets, not allowed to travel TDY at
all to support the annual Hennessy program and
sequestration directed further budgetary mandates.
Through the unwaiverable efforts of all of the
supporting associations, the HTA worked tirelessly with
the NRA and its newly formed military foundation to
ensure some type of inspection and on-site evaluations
continued. Its through these combined efforts the
Hennessy program continues . . . please continue to
express to senior armed forces leadership the importance
of on-site evaluations, food and life safety compliance
inspections to support program integrity!