Hail To The Chief
Nevin Montgomery officially retires at the end of this year as president of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, Harrisburg, Pa. He has been with the association for 38 years, the past 26 as president.
Over the next few years, he plans on playing as much golf as he can, and doing some traveling with his wife, Kathy. Nevin actually began his career teaching middle school math in suburban Harrisburg for five and a half years. During that time, he was an assistant football and wrestling coach, and head baseball coach at the high school.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Working on model trains and golf. I quit piano lessons after seven years because they interfered with sports, but I regret quitting to this day. I’ve been fortunate to have played some of the best golf courses in America. While I liked playing Pebble Beach and the Stadium Course in Sawgrass, Coeur d’Alene was my favorite. It was so well maintained and just beautiful. My most unusual golf memory was when Ron Suchecki got a hole-in-one on a par 4 in Kiawah Island, S.C. He hit a tee shot on a dog leg right that sliced and hit everything you can imagine, and somehow ended up in the hole.
Favorite books, musical groups?
One of the most enjoyable and entertaining books I have read was “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown. I enjoy soft rock; the Eagles are probably my favorite group.
What are your fondest memories of NFRA?
My best memories of NFRA will be of the great people I met and worked over the years. The industry people that get involved are the cream of the crop. I made many friendships that will last forever.
I have been so fortunate to work with an outstanding staff at NFRA headquarters. The eight people on staff wear many hats and wear them well. Ship Shaw, NFRA’s new President/CEO, began working with me in June of 1984. What we have accomplished as an association would not have been possible without Skip being there with me. He is not only a great friend but more like a brother to me.
I’ll always remember being involved in the grassroots planning of National Frozen Food Month. We started the planning shortly after the industry celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1980. Nobody expected Frozen Food Month to last much more than five years, but it is stronger than ever after 27 years!
The two most impactful decisions over the years were including refrigerated foods in the association, and holding our own NFRA convention. Together, they placed NFRA in the position where we are today.
It has been most rewarding for me to work on the H. J “Jack” Cofer Scholarship since its inception in 1987. I also worked on the Zerocrat Scholarship Fund since 1984. These programs have helped hundreds of young people. The industry should be proud of these two scholarship programs. It’s heartwarming to receive notes from students who received these scholarships and what they meant to them.
Helping others with education has always been important to you. Can you tell us about the scholarship fund just set up in your name by friends in the industry?
The fund will be established at Shippensburg University, in Shippensburg, Pa., where my wife and I met. We graduated in 1967 with degrees in education, and returned part-time while teaching to earn our masters degrees in 1969. Our two children, Julie and Mark, both graduated from Shippensburg University so we have a very strong commitment to the school. Kathy served for several years on the Shippensburg Foundation Committee, raising funds. We’ve always contributed to the Foundation as we feel the University has provided so many opportunities to us and our family.