Sedalia, Missouri – Lenny Freund, owner of Freund Family Foods, a traveling food concessions company based in Newnan, Georgia, has been selected as the State Fair Community College 2020 Distinguished Alumni.
Freund was born in Sedalia, the youngest of four siblings. He graduated from Sacred Heart High School and later earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1980 from SFCC. He transferred to Central Missouri State University, now named University of Central Missouri, and while there he accepted an offer to be a food service operations manager at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. That decision set the course for Freund to become a successful and respected entrepreneur with 40 years of experience in the food and beverage industry.
Freund spent 10 years with Six Flags Theme Parks holding various positions including, director of revenue, vice president and general manager at different locations. For several years, Freund worked at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels, Texas.
In 2007, he and his wife, Susan, founded Freund Family Foods, a successful traveling food concession business that operates at numerous fairs, festivals, airshows, concerts, and amusement parks across the country. In 2008, Freund started the consulting firm North Star Food & Beverage Associates with colleague, Ken Whiting. They provide services, aligned with their mission to “build relationships,” that have helped dozens of food and beverage clients improve operations at various venues.
For the past 15 years, Freund has been invited to speak at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions convention. More than 40,000 people from around the world attend this annual event. Also, he is a frequent speaker at the annual Theme Park Food Directors Conference.
Traditionally, the Distinguished Alumni recipient is recognized and given the opportunity to address graduates and guests at the commencement ceremony held at the end of the spring semester. However, in March, SFCC canceled the event out of concern for the health and safety of all the participants because of the pandemic. Graduates will receive a message from SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson and a commencement congratulations packet with their certificates and degrees in the mail in June. A short video message from Freund will be shared with graduates through SFCC’s social media.
This year approximately 614 graduates will receive 727 degrees. Breakdown of degrees (as of April 28) include 331 Associate of Arts degrees, 11 Associate of Fine Arts, 20 Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees, 1 Associate of Science degree, 201 Associate of Applied Science degrees, 113 Professional Certificates, and 50 Skills Certificates.
The numbers include students who attend SFCC on the Sedalia campus and at locations in Boonville, Clinton, Eldon, Lake of the Ozarks, Whiteman Air Force Base, and online.
An online pinning ceremony for Health Sciences students will be held at 2 p.m. May 15 via YouTube live stream. The link to watch the ceremony will be posted on www.sfccmo.edu/healthsciences a few minutes before 2 p.m.
A total of 190 Health Sciences students are expected to receive degrees or certificates in these programs: Associate Degree Nursing, 63; Practical Nursing, 57; Medical Assisting, 2; Dental Hygiene, 10; Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 11; and Radiologic Technology, 16; Medical Coding 22; Health Information Technology 17; and Occupational Therapy Assistant, 7.
As of mid-March, SFCC’s Adult Education and Literacy program reported 74 participants have passed the High School Equivalency exam during 2019-2020, and 38 participants were enrolled in the English Language Learner program.