AHF Elections

AHF Leadership Elections

It is a privilege to present this year’s candidates. Please read their candidate statements prior to placing your vote.

The elected candidates will serve their terms beginning January 1, 2024. The voting begins June 12th and ends June 28th. 

Who is Eligible to Vote?

  • Institutional members – Primary contact only
  • Retired members

If you did not receive the email with the link to cast your vote, and you are the key contact for your institution or are a retired member, please email [email protected]

Business partner, educator, affiliate, and student members are not eligible to vote.

Open Positions:


Candidate Statements


Thom Pastor, MBA, CDM, CFPP
Food Services Manager – Bend
St. Charles Health System
Bend, OR

Background Statement:
With over 20 years of foodservice experience, I’ve spent the last 12 years in healthcare as the Executive Chef and Nutrition Services Manager for two critical access hospitals, as well as the Food Service Manager for two acute care hospitals. During my time in healthcare and AHF, I have obtained multiple degrees, spoken at various conferences, contributed to the construction of a hospital, successfully managed through multiple disasters and the pandemic, and served as a culinary school advisor.

Additionally, I have actively participated in charitable endeavors, including ChefsCycle for No Kid Hungry and World Central Kitchen. The support, education, and network provided by AHF have played a vital role in all these accomplishments, and I am proud to continue my service.

Previous AHF Experience:

  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Director-at-Large
  • Co-President – Oregon Chapter
  • Multiple committee assignments

Priority Statement:

Having served on AHF’s Board of Directors for several years, I take great pride in contributing to the association’s growth and our efforts in supporting self-operators.

My priorities include:

  • Supporting the professional development of self-op food service leaders.
  • Assisting food service leaders in driving operational excellence despite increasingly challenging financial constraints.
  • Providing resources to help operator members lead their teams to success.
  • Fostering strong networks between operator members, as well as between operator members and business partners.
  • Helping leaders who seek to transition their operations from contract management to self-op.

I am honored to continue this important work of supporting operators, and I look forward to the opportunity.


Patrick LaMont, MBA
Director of Food and Nutrition
Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center
Brooklyn, NY

Background Statement:
I’ve been a Food Service Leader for more than 30 years. I started as a dietary worker and I’ve since worked in K-12, B & I, Prison and the Healthcare Industry. I’ve held numerous positions such as; District Manager, Director of Food and Nutrition, General Manager. One of my greatest accomplishments was completing my MBA and going to the Middle East as a Subject Matter expert (SME) to work on a Greenfield, Design Build project worth over $1.2B but my greatest accomplishment is marrying my wife and creating 3 beautiful sons.


Priority Statement:

My priorities would be to, listen and support the leadership of AHF in order to meet the needs of our members on the topics of today and, where appropriate… share my ideas of the future and the challenges that face us today. I will make myself available and willingly share my experiences to, drive AHF to be the needed resources for all our self-operators giving them, a competitive advantage for success in our industry and beyond.

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Presented in alpha order. Please review all candidate statements and then cast your vote when you are ready using the links above or below. There are 3 open positions and 5 total candidates. 

Steve Cerullo
Sr. Director of Foodservice
Wilkes Barre, PA

Background Statement:

I have over 30 years of foodservice experience and 17 years health care specific foodservice. I started at Geisinger in 2004 as a food production manager with responsibility for 11 employees on a single campus and currently, I am responsible for over 400 employees spanning 10 different campuses. I have served on the AHF Board of Directors since 2021. I have been an active member of AHF since its creation in 2009 and was a member of HFM, 6 years prior to the creation of AHF. I believe in leadership by being open, honest and transparent.


  • 2020 Premier Light in the Storm Award
  • 2017 Premier Illuminating Excellence Award top 10
  • 2017 AHF Benchmarking Award of Excellence
  • 2016 Food Management Innovator of the Year Award
  • 2013 Foodservice Equipment Reports Young Lion Award
  • 2009 Premier Illuminating Excellence Award
  • 2009 Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) Future Horizons Award

9-year Member of Premier Foodservice Committee
4-year Member Premier Chefs Advisory Committee

Statement of Priorities:

I have a passion for AHF and all it does for its members. I have counted on AHF Benchmarking documents to ensure our foodservice departments remain self-op and used that data to convert sites that Geisinger acquired to become self-op.  I’ve utilized the AHF listserv and general network of AHF “friends” to navigate issues. I have whole heartedly enjoyed many of the National Conferences put on by AHF.  I feel that I can use my experiences to encourage folks who are not members to become members as well as encourage current members to take on bigger roles with AHF.        

Julie Meddles, MS, RDN, LD
Director of Nutrition Services and Gift Shops
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Columbus, OH

Background Statement:

Volunteer leadership, locally and nationally, with the Academy and its practice groups but especially with AHF have been the best opportunities to both contribute and grow in my career.
Positions currently held:

  • AHF Board of Directors
  • AHF Benchmarking Committee
  • AHF Editorial Advisory Committee
  • IFMA Foodservice Leadership Council, Executive Committee, Immediate Past Chair
  • Vizient Food Contracting Council

Past Positions held:

  • MFNS Treasurer
  • AHF Education Committee
  • ONDPG Chair
  • Columbus Dietetic Association President

I’ve received the Member Merit award for Ohio Dietitians and distinguished service award from AND’s Oncology Practice Group.

During my career at Ohio State Medical Center, I’ve fulfilled many roles, as a dietitian, operations manager, and now Director of Nutrition Services and Gift Shops. I’m a certified facilitator who enjoys working with staff to develop their leadership, communication and interpersonal skills. Recent LSS Green Belt and embrace change leadership, project management and enjoy being an advocate for staff and patients.

Priority Statement:

I have great pride in being on the AHF Board and regularly speak of the power of membership both inside and outside my organization. Its support and advocacy have enabled us to maintain our Independent status as OSUWMC is growing our hospital system. As a Board member, I would continue to use my experience and skills to encourage others to benchmark and participate in AHF educational opportunities and demonstrate, from knowledge and experience, how successful application makes a difference in our operations.  I would represent members, support self-operated leaders, connect members to each other, industry partners and our excellent resources.

Simone E. Nicolas, MS, RDN, CDN
Nutrition Services Administrator 2
New York State Office of Mental Health
Kingsboro Psychiatric Center
Brooklyn NY

Background Statement:
I am an accomplished food and nutrition professional with more than 20 years of combined healthcare acute and long-term care patient service experience with a passion for improving outcomes through food and nutrition. Serving in a leadership role with AHF is an opportunity to share knowledge which can positively impact the organization’s mission to advance self-operated foodservice and to contribute to the growth and development of members.

Association position currently held:

  • AHF NY Chapter President
  • AHF National, Editorial Committee 2023

Past offices held and/or contributions to professional organizations include:

  • AHF NY Board President elect 2022-2023
  • AHF NY Board of Directors: Secretary 2019-2021
  • AHF National, Membership Committee 2020-2021
  • Conference speaker, AHF Annual Conference 2021
  • SO Connected Magazine Contribution August 2020 and submission of quarterly chapter updates

Priority Statement:

AHF is a dynamic value-driven organization providing superior resources to members.  As Director at Large, I am committed to supporting AHFs initiatives for membership, education, and strategic planning utilizing opportunities to share my expertise and collaborate to support the organization’s operational success. 


Joe Ninnemann
Regional Director, System FNS
Advocate Health
Hartford, WI

Background Statement:

Investment into a professional organization, such as AHF, provides operators with boundless opportunities for growth through establishing lifelong connections.

Association positions currently held:

  • 2023 AHF National Education Committee Chair
  • Current President of the AHF WI Chapter

Past offices held and/or contributions to professional organizations:

  • 2022 AHF National Spotlight Award Winner for the development and implementation of our Culinary Apprenticeship program
  • Member of AHF National Education Committee since 2021
  • President-Elect, WI Chapter 2021
  • Director at Large, Southern WI Chapter, 2018-2020
  • Top Ten Award Winner of Premier, Inc. Culinary Creations Competition 2015

During my 13 years with Advocate Aurora Health, I’ve been honored to hold numerous roles that have helped further the strategic vision of our integrated Food and Nutrition Services team. Our organization has routinely been recognized nationally for our work on standardization and service level standards.
AHF offers an extensive network of industry professionals, that are committed to driving excellence nationwide. The best practices and innovations learned through this collaboration are exceptional, and I would be honored to serve as Director at Large.

Priority Statement:

I believe that AHF is poised to continue its growth and expand its impact exponentially. As a Director at Large, I would bring my expertise working in a large integrated health system to our front-line operators. This broadened view can provide a new lens for operators to look at how they meet the service needs of their communities. I will work meticulously with my fellow board members to exhaust all resources in an effort to achieve the overall mission and strategies of AHF. Through this commitment, AHF can innovate and evolve to continue to flourish for generations to come.

Lawrence Roberts
Senior Director of Support Services
Centra Health
Lynchburg, VA

Background Statement:

I have been blessed to work the healthcare food service industry for 31 years in both contract and self-operated channels.  Living this professional life has provided valuable lessons into the challenges our members experience every day and what they are searching for in operational support.  I am a transformational leader with a passion to see beyond the ordinary and strive for the extraordinary – creating people-leaders that make their food programs and communities healthier, one meal at a time.  Over the past 16 years, Centra has participated and/or received recognition for the following:

  • AHF Senior Dining Benchmarking Task Force – 2023
  • AHF Benchmarking Award of Excellence Winner- 2022
  • AHF People’s Choice- Virtual Culinary Competition- 2020
  • AHF Culinary Competition, 3rd Place- 2019
  • AHF Culinary Competition, Finalist – 2013
  • Vizient Food Council member – 2019 -present
  • Computrition Conference Speaker – 2015
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Virginia – Treasurer 2021- present.

Priority Statement:

It is time for me to give back and make deposits into the “emotional bank accounts” of the members we serve.  So much of my success as a leader is due to the impact AHF deposited into my career.  Serving on the Board of Directors would allow me to actively contribute to our continued mission and strategic journey.  I will actively listen, be visible and present to help drive value for our members and the communities they serve.

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Presented in alpha order. Please review all candidate statements and then cast your vote when you are ready using the links above or below. There are 2 open positions and 3 total candidates.

Sergio Alonso
Director of Food and Nutrition
Lee Health, Galisano’s Children’s Hospital
Fort Myers, FL

Background Statement:

As a Director of one of the largest public hospital systems in Florida, and currently holding a position as an AHF CPC member, it has provided such a beneficial insight. In the last 6 years with Lee Health, I have received various Key Contributor Awards and Spirit Awards. Our facility has won the Leap Frog award a few years in a row and our department was recognized in 2022 with a High Reliability award. My 30 years in the hospitality arena as a leader and chef has brought me various awards such as 2008 & 2009 Taste of the Town Winner / Certificate of Excellence by the News Press, 1st Place Best of S.W. Florida Contest / Best Dish Gulf Coast Magazine Grandeur Spotlight.

AHF is a robust organization and it would be a privilege to serve as Leadership Development Committee Member at Large.

Priority Statement:

AHF is an extraordinary association, and I am grateful to be a part of it. As a leadership committee member at large, my priorities will be to help grow the association and its values. I will assure our members that everything the association does is in their best interest. It is of utmost importance to spotlight and maintain outstanding customer service to all that encounter our association. My goal will be to persevere and strive for excellence in all that I do, no matter the obstacles that may arise. I hope to be an ambassador that will inspire and influence the next generation of leaders for the association.


Estevan Branscum, CDM, CFPP
System Director of Food & Nutrition
Edward-Elmhurst Health
Elmhurst, IL

Background Statement:

Leading and inspiring others in a professional organization, to provide extraordinary and memorable experiences through food and nutrition.

Current Associations positions:

  • AHF Illinois Chapter President

Over my 15-year career in healthcare, I have had the privilege to serve in many roles. Starting from a cook in the hospital cafeteria, to Food Service Director, General Manager, Regional Director and my current role of System Director of South Region at NorthShore-Edward-Elmhurst Health. While forming a highly engaged and efficient leadership team, I have assisted in the transition from contracted services that held a 20-year relationship to two of the three hospitals. I’ve led the team to form a one system food program over the last two years, creating experiences that are unique yet similar at each campus.

Priority Statement:

AHF is a thriving organization and has helped many across the states to transition to self-operated as a member of the LDC. I would focus on building the future pipeline for individuals excited to take part in AHF. I would work with the committee to continue the clear path of succession in AHF committee and board positions.

Lisa Yeung, MS, RDN, CDN
Director of Food and Nutrition Services
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

Background Statement:

As Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I oversee more than 250 employees who deliver daily world-class meals, nutrition, and hospitality services to patients, visitors, and employees. This team includes registered dietitians, culinary, and dining staff who ensure that meal quality and presentation meet our highest standards for patient care and employee satisfaction. I have greater than 20 years of experience in the NYC healthcare and food service sector. Recently, I was named one of the 25 Top Women in Food Service & Hospitality and the NYS Assembly Woman of Distinction Award.

Current Association Positions:

  • AHF New York Chapter Secretary
  • AHF State of the Industry Report Committee

Priority Statement:

If elected, my priorities would be:

  • An effective ‘dot connector’ and continue to build strong relationships within the industry
  • To share best practices & promote self-op foodservice and hospitality
  • Continuous support of the AHF’s mission

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