Robert (“Rob”) Grimes
Founder & CEO of the IFBTA (the Food and Beverage Technology Association)
The IFBTA was launched at FSTEC (Foodservice Technology Conference and Showcase) 2014 which was founded by Rob in 1996, and is a non-profit professional association promoting and advancing technology and innovation for the global food and beverage industries.
Prior to establishing the IFBTA, Rob also founded ConStrata Technology Consulting and its predecessor companies, which have been providing information technology consulting services for the global hospitality, foodservice and retail industries and is headquartered in Potomac, Maryland since 1994.
Rob has been a regular technology columnist for several industry and technology publications and has contributed articles to many other publications in the U.S. and abroad as well as co-authored and contributed to a number of books. He has spoken at over 1,000 industry shows, conferences and events around the world. He is a Conti Professor in the Program of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management (“HR&IM”) at Penn State University and also serves on the Industry Advisory Boards of the HR&IM Programs at the University of Delaware and the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Rob has served on the Board of the National Restaurant Association and is an active member of the of The Young Presidents Organization (YPO) having served as the Chair of YPO’s Food & Beverage and Hospitality Networks. He is a triathlete having completed the Ironman in Lake Placid in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007 and Ironman World Championship in Kona in 2005.
IFBTA Director of Research & Education
Michael L. Kasavana, Ph.D., is the Emeritus NAMA Endowed Professor in Hospitality Business, The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University having retired from MSU after nearly four decades of teaching and research. Kasavana holds CHTP (Certified Hospitality Technology Professional) and NCE5 (NAMA Certified Executive) certifications. He remains an active researcher and consultant, focusing on current and near future developments in hospitality-related technologies including: electronic commerce, self-service applications, property management systems, and transaction processing technology. He has also created a series of instructional materials, industry manuals, application software, and certification programs.
Dr. Kasavana is engaged in innovative and creative solutions for both attended and unattended points of sale for various aspects of the hospitality industry including online and offline, cash and cashless, contact and contactless, physical and virtual data exchange, location-based services, and interchange and merchant fee based digital media. He has conducted extensive research on the impact of technology on hospitality industry productivity, profitability, and competitive advantage and is credited with coining the phrases “V-Commerce”, “V-Engineering”, “Menu Engineering”, and “Auto-Coursing.”
Dr. Kasavana was named the 2011 NAMA Industry Person of the Year and is a recipient of the MSU Distinguished Faculty Award. In addition, he was inducted into the HFTP International Technology Hall of Fame and was presented the Distinguished Lifetime Achievements Award from FS/TEC for foodservice technology innovation. He has authored, or co-authored, several books, including the industry best-selling texts Managing Front Office Operations (10th edition) and Managing Technology in the Hospitality Industry (8th edition).
IFBTA Director of Members Services & Events
Lauren Selman is the Director of Members Services & Events for the International Food and Beverage Technology Association (IFBTA) with experience in communications and social media marketing. She has executed event management and public relations campaigns for a wide variety of clients, counting among her recent work successful efforts with the AFI Docs Film Festival, Double Exposure: Investigative Film Festival, and the Food Sales Technology Conference & Showcase (FSTEC).
Previously, Lauren coordinated materials for the cast and crews of national touring theatre productions at Troika Entertainment. She has conducted press outreach for AFI Docs (formerly AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival), The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, College of Health & Human Development (HHD) at Penn State University, as well as several book and documentary releases. She has executed PR and marketing outreach for various clients, which garnered earned media hits in The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS and National Public Radio.