(Orlando, Fla. — January 12, 2009) The National Cheese Institute today bestowed its highest honor, the NCI Laureate Award, on Jerome Schuman, chairman of Arthur Schuman, Inc., Fairfield, New Jersey. The award was presented to Schuman during a luncheon ceremony at the International Dairy Foods Association's Dairy Forum 2009 by NCI Chairman Gary Vanic, who is president and CEO of Great Lakes Cheese Company.
The NCI Laureate Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the development and growth of the U.S. cheese industry. A panel of industry professionals chooses a winner each year based on a person's long-term contributions to the industry.
"During Jerome’s 63-year career, Arthur Schuman, Inc. became one of the largest U.S. importers of Italian hard cheeses, as well as one of the largest producers of domestic hard cheeses," Vanic said. “He built the family-owned company by adding new facilities, creating a world-class distribution system and establishing exclusive vendor partnerships in Europe and South America.”
Throughout his career, Schuman led many innovative activities for the cheese industry. When the supply of Italian cheeses was disrupted during World War II, for example, Schuman helped the foodservice and restaurant trade to find new sources of grating cheeses. He traveled to South America and worked with SanCor and Conaprole, two major dairy cooperatives, to develop and produce Italian-type products.
Following the war, Schuman established similar relationships in Italy and later expanded his efforts to Eastern European countries, especially Poland and Lithuania. Schuman also served as president of the Cheese Importers Association of America from 1962 to 1964. He actively coordinated and consulted with the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to ensure that these cheeses conformed to the highest U.S. standards.
“His immense knowledge of the cheese business and his willingness to serve as a resource to all the industry — including competitors — made him one of the most respected leaders in our industry,” Vanic said.
Other cheese industry pioneers who have won the NCI Laureate Award include Larry Ferguson, Mark Davis, Wes Allen, Elmer Marth, Max Gonzenbach, Rudy Nef, Don Menzner, Betsy Holden, Don Storhoff, Lester Kielsmeier, Hans Epprecht, Norm Olson, Vince Zehren, Jack Budahn, Leonard Gentine Sr., Raymond Goldbach, Harold Steinke, John H. Nelson and Dave Nusbaum. NCI will call for nominations for the 2010 NCI Laureate Award this fall.
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, DC, represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 530 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org.