At its annual 2009 Summer Retreat held July15-17, Sheila Frost, Vice President of Operations for Opaa! Food Management announced Julie Worden, Opaa!’s Director of Nutrition Services for the Smithville R-II School District, as the recipient of the “Whatever It Takes Award” which was established by Opaa! in 2002. In making the announcement, Frost stated that this award was created to recognize the extraordinary efforts of an individual who embodies the "vision" of Opaa! It is given to a person who demonstrates commitment to the mission statement of Opaa! Food Management which is “Make Their Day.” The annual award is given to the Opaa! employee who displays service or knowledge that exceeds the expectations of the customer, is an outstanding and consistent high-level performer, provides suggestions and implements imaginative or creative solutions, shows leadership and initiative, and demonstrates responsiveness to changing program requirements.

In presenting the award, Frost stated that, “Julie started her work with Opaa! through wellness training for the Regional Directors of Operations group in preparation for the development of Opaa!’s Wellness Policy. She introduced us to yoga and we found out it’s not as easy as it looks on television. We learned the importance of taking a walk each day and learned you really can acquire a taste for veggie sausage if you just give it a chance.” Frost went on to say that, “at every wellness meeting, Julie gave us a little speech which went ‘take a walk, drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, limit sugar, limit caffeine, eat your fruits and vegetables, and always remember the ten things you love about yourself.’” Frost added, “a few months after Julie joined us at our wellness policy meetings, a Director of Nutrition Services position became available and Julie officially joined the Opaa! family. This became an opportunity for Julie to bring her passion for health and nutrition to students so she jumped in with both feet, experimenting with one new idea after another. Participation began to rise and the program continued to expand and grow.” Frost ended by saying, “All of these kind words and thoughts truly describe Julie’s true passion for what she does every day and the students she serves.”

After the surprise of the moment settled in, Julie said of the award, “I was surprised that I was the recipient of the ‘Whatever It Takes’ award this year. We have so many dedicated and hard-working people that lead this company to success everyday, and I am truly honored.” Julie went onto to say, “I am so proud of our team in the Smithville School District and what we’ve accomplished over the past two years. It’s been an incredible journey for all of us and we’ve all worked hard to make the Smithville School District nutrition program successful.” She continued to say, “I enjoy working for the school and for Opaa! and I know that we make a difference everyday and my love of nutrition and health drives me to want to do the best everyday for the staff and students in the Smithville School District.” She ended by saying to others, “Have a plan, see it through, and don’t let anything stand in your way.” Julie and her husband Brian live in Kansas City and have a son Burl, age 11 and a daughter, Amanda, age 10 and a black Lab named Rase.

For several years, Opaa! was privileged to have the opportunity to work with a motivational speaker and coach, Carol Rogers-Sealy. "Whatever It Takes" was her philosophy of life and because of her impact on Opaa! Food Management, this award was named after her philosophy.

Opaa! Food Management, Inc., is based in Chesterfield, Missouri, and is entering its 31st year of service. Opaa! currently operates the nutrition programs for 67 Missouri school districts


Opaa! Food Management announced that Maryville R-II School District food service employee, Stephanie Shields, has been selected as the recipient of its Employee of the Year Award for the 2008-09 school year. Stephanie was presented the award at a surprise reception bestowing her with honors on May 4, 2009, by Opaa! President Kevin Short, Opaa! Executive Vice President Robert Sanders, Chief Operating Officer Scott Hoffmann, Vice President for Operations Sheila Middleton, Director of Development Linda Jones, Business Development Associate Greg Frost and Regional Director of Operations Louis Thorpe.

Stephanie was selected for this award from among Opaa!'s 1,400 employees throughout the State of Missouri. Stephanie has worked in the food service department of the Maryville R-II School District for over 5 years and has been with Opaa! Food Management the past 2 years. Stephanie has held various positions within the department such as, panned food items, baker and kitchen manager. In introducing Stephanie as this year's winner, Vice President for Operations, Sheila Middleton said that "Stephanie had received nominations from co-workers, students, administration and teachers. Her kitchen is described as a 'wow' kitchen. Stephanie made an effort to really listen to the students and staff at Maryville. She not only listens, but takes their needs to heart by implementing new ideas to make a better. She implemented a weekly staff breakfast special and bi-weekly staff lunch specials and through her efforts has doubled the adult lunch participation. Teachers that have never participated in the breakfast and lunch program now eat everyday. As a student participation builder, she implemented 'Dawg Bone' biscuits on Fridays to support the students as they relate to their unique mascot, the Spoofhounds. Stephanie participated in an organized effort to give rides to a High School student who had been walking to work during the winter months. In her written nominations, Stephanie was described as a perfect example of the Opaa! Food Management mission…'Make Their Day'. Stephanie always has a smile on her face and a great attitude. Everyone enjoys seeing her in the kitchen and on the serving line."

Dr. Vicki Miller, Superintendent of School, John Zeliff, Assistant Superintendent, Jason Eggers, High School Principal, and Thomas Alvaraz, Assistant Principal all joined in the celebration.

Executive Vice President Robert Sanders began the meeting by describing the Employee of the Year selection process and how it included written nominations from fellow employees with details of outstanding job performance, demonstrated leadership and initiative, and a genuine commitment to customer service. Sanders noted the significance of the award since it comes from nominations by her peer group.

In addition to the awards presented by Opaa! Food Management representatives, High School Principal, Jason Eggers, presented Stephanie with a gift certificate, Regional Director of Operations, Louis Thorpe and Director of Nutrition Services, Amber Volner gave her plant and a gift certificate along with the numerous cards and gifts to mark the occasion.

The reception was a surprise for Stephanie and when asked for her reaction, she said "I wouldn't have received this award without the help of my wonderful staff. They work long and hard to "Make The Day" for each person who comes to the Spoofhound Cafe.

Stephanie and her husband Don live in Maryville with their two sons Dakota 11 and Derrick 9. Some of her hobbies are quilting, reading, working in her flower garden, volunteering at her church and chauffeuring her busy boys.

Opaa! Food Management, Inc., is based in Chesterfield, Missouri, and currently provides nutrition services to 69 Missouri school districts. Opaa! has been providing services to the Maryville R-II School District since 2005.