Conference Traditions

The Food & Beverage Environmental Conference is known not only for its robust programs, but also for its legacy and traditions.

Ship Steering Wheel

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.

Honey Dipper

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.

Talking Stick

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.

No Ties

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.

Big Dog Awards

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.

Little Kitten Award

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.

Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame Award honors one conference attendee who has had a significant impact on the success of the Food and Beverage Environmental Conference throughout the years. This attendee may have served as a Committee Chair or Co-Chair many times; presented many times; served as Conference Chairperson; served on the Steering Committee or just provide extensive support in the advancement and betterment of this event.The recipient is selected annually through a nomination and voting process within the Steering Committee and the recipient is announced on the final evening on the conference. All recipients are kept on a plague which is present at the conference each year!

Blue Dog Award

The Blue Dog Award originated at the FBEC conference held in New Orleans in 2019. This award is given to the session chair or co-chair who went above at beyond their duties for the conference. The winner is announced by the current chair on the final day of the conference. The award depicts the famous Blue Dog rendering from New Orleans and represents the spirit of a ‘blue collar effort’ and the energy of that conference.