Economic Development at the
Council of State Governments
The Council of State Governments (CSG) held its National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee from December 10 – 13. Mars, Incorporated, through the North America Public Affairs team, was excited to act as a sponsor and key participant in the 2015 Conference.
The conference brought together over 1500 stakeholders including over 500 state government officials from the legislative, executive and judicial branches. This year, Mars had the opportunity to partner with CSG’s State Pathways to Prosperity Initiative to host a workforce and economic development roundtable event at the Global Innovation Center (GIC) in Thompson’s Station. The event featured Mars Petcare North America President Mark Johnson, Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris as panelists – and a discussion on the power of public/private partnerships and economic development. Following the panel, all 50 audience members were invited to tour the GIC facility before heading back to Nashville.
In addition, Mars met with a number of our state officials during the conference, including Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey; TN Senators Mike Bell and Jack Johnson; Kansas Senator Vicki Schmidt; Ohio Senator Clif “Coach” Hite; TN Commissioner Randy Boyd; Georgia Commissioner Mike Butler; TN Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris; and TN Majority Whip Cameron Sexton. The Conference concluded with a Campaign Against Hunger event, at which attendees assembled packaged meals, including individual pouches of UNCLE BEN’S® rice, to distribute to the hungry in Tennessee.
Mars Shines at the National Governors Association
For the second consecutive year, Mars participated in the Winter Meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA) in Washington, D.C. Mars’ reputation at NGA has become increasingly recognized by the organization and was one of few companies to be selected to attend a private reception at the British Ambassador’s, Sir Kim Darroch, residence. Governors also commended Mars for their continued involvement - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon praised Mars’ efforts to raise the company’s profile in recent years indicating that Governors want to hear from their constituent businesses. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory thanked Mars for their support for pets in need and for helping settle a friendly Super Bowl wager with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper by donating pet food to shelters in Colorado and North Carolina.
In addition, we met with Mars state Governors: Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, Michael Lamoureux, chief of staff for Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Jon Hummel, chief of staff for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Craig Williams, chief of staff for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and members of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s staff.
We also met with Utah Governor Gary Herbert, who chairs the NGA, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
Mars Food: Cafeteria Makeover Ribbon Cutting
In partnership with the Greenville, Mississippi Public School District, Mars Food North America renovated and updated a cafeteria at Greenville High School. The cafeteria renovation will facilitate an environment that allows for healthier meals in a space that feels welcoming to the more than 1,500 students attending the school. In support of the initiative, Mars Food donated $30,000 to Greenville High School and held several Mars Volunteer Program (MVP) events to assist in transforming the cafeteria. The team revolutionized the cafeteria, now equipped with a more efficient serving line, a salad bar, updated flooring and seating, new tables, more open space and televisions to easily distribute information to students.
The ribbon cutting ceremony at Greenville High School took place on Friday, November 13, 2015 and was attended by former Mayor John Cox, Vice Mayor Errick Simmons, and several members of the media and local community.
“Through a comprehensive partnership with Mars, we decided to start our school cafeteria makeover, and of course, we were pleased to see them come alongside us in order to impact the lives of children in Greenville” said Superintendent Dr. Leeson Taylor. “The large donation invested in Greenville Public Schools and help from their Associates shows their commitment to bringing healthier meal options to the students of Greenville. We couldn’t be happier with their efforts.”
Greenville Community Garden Groundbreaking Ceremony
Mars Food North America partnered with the City of Greenville, Mississippi to create a community garden open to residents of the city. A groundbreaking event was held on December 18, featuring former Greenville Mayor John Cox, members of the Greenville City Council, as well as the garden site’s Councilwoman, Betty Watkins, and Mars Food North America Director of Manufacturing and Greenville Site Director Jair Cole. The garden space was presented to the city as a place for residents to actively participate in their community while making healthy lifestyle choices. Mars Food has donated more than $20,000 in support of the garden and expects the space to be open to residents in early Spring 2016.
“I am hopeful that such a project will not only bring nearby neighbors together but will also provide education to the value of healthy food choices. This project is another example of Mars, Incorporated partnering with our local community to provide mutuality of benefits for all concerned” said former Greenville Mayor John Cox.
Celebrating with Stakeholders
The five winners of the BEN’S BEGINNERS™ Cooking Contest in the United States each received a cash prize towards a celebration in their hometowns. The grand prize events were heavily attended and acknowledged by key local and state officials. Adley and her mom Dawn Sykora, winner of the Ben’s Beginners™ contest in West, TX received a personal letter from Governor Greg Abbott congratulating the family. Adley’s school celebration was attended by West Mayor Tommy Muska, Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller, and representatives from the office of Congressman Bill Flores. Kansas winner Jasmy Mavilla and her mom Sowjanya Seetala received praise and congratulatory notes from Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Senator Pat Roberts. Denver, CO winner, Atticus and his mom Lisa Adducci, were congratulated via Twitter and Facebook by Governor John Hickenlooper and Lieutenant Governor Joseph Garcia. South Williamsport Mayor David Lechniak attended South Williamsport, PA winner, Jackson and his mom April Fulmer’s hometown celebration. Jackson was also congratulated on Twitter by Lieutenant Governor Michael J. Stack and Senator Gene Yaw. Piper King, and her mom Rebecca, contest winner in Charleston, WV was part of a celebration at her school including First Lady Joanne Jaegar Tomblin, State Rep. Mike Pushkin, State Senator Corey Palumbo, and Charleston Mayor Danny Jones. Piper received congratulatory notes via social media from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, First Lady Tomblin, and State Rep. Pushkin. Piper also received a video message from U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelly Moore Capito congratulating her on her win.
Let’s Shake on It
The IAMS® pet food brand partnered with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to help settle a friendly Super Bowl wager with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper – helping both people and their pets. Following the Denver Broncos win, Governor McCrory released a video wearing a Bronco’s jersey, and declared food and pet food would be shipped to food banks and animal shelters in Colorado and North Carolina. Governor McCrory noted 4,000 pounds of IAMS® pet food made in Henderson, NC would be sent to each of the following shelters in Colorado and North Carolina: Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay and Neuter Clinic, Waggin’ Tales Canine Rescue, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Safe Haven for Cats Pet Food Pantry, and Pet Food Pantry of Eastern North Carolina.