The steering wheel signifies the head of the FBEC Steering Committee. It is handed down from the outgoing Steering Committee Chairman to the incoming Chair. They keep the wheel during their year of service and are responsible for engraving the name of the incoming Steering Committee Chairman onto the wheel. The steering wheel is presented on the final day of the conference.
In 1970 the most important environmental issue facing the food and beverage industry was wastewater. A traditional slang term for wastewater is honey wagon, which refers to the pumper trucks used for septic tank pump outs. The honey dipper was created to recognize the origin of the conference. To this day the conference chair receives the Honey Dipper from the outgoing conference chair and it is worn around their neck throughout the entire conference.
In 2002, the conference left the United States for the first time and landed in Vancouver, Canada. Members of a native Canadian tribe provided entertainment at the conference, and the tribe Chief presented the current conference chair with a Talking Stick. The Talking Stick is a native tribe tradition that recognizes who has the right to speak. Since then, the Talking Stick is proudly displayed at every conference next to the podium.
The conference dress code is business casual, with a strong emphasis on NO TIES. If you make that mistake your tie could be next to hang over the base of the talking stick as a reminder.
The Big Dog Awards are announced on the final evening of the conference. Three nominees are chosen for each award for their unique and funny comments from presentations. Categories are created based off these comments. For example, Best Lawyer Joke, Best Technical Term and Best Technical Lie. Winners receive Big Dog t-shirts.
The Little Kitten award is chosen by the previous year’s recipient. The award signifies that this conference is more than just a meeting; it is a venue where life-long friendships and caring relationships are developed. The winner is announced on the final day of the conference and they are responsible for choosing the next year’s recipient.