The International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) has announced that Executive Director David Tharp will retire on April 26, 2023, after 30 years with the association.

David joined IAFP in 1993 as Director of Finance and Administration, and served as Interim Director in 1995 until he was appointed to his current role in 1997. David successfully directed and represented IAFP at dozens of key food safety meetings worldwide, helping grow IAFP’s international status. The association also saw a significant increase in membership, as well as Annual Meeting attendance, exhibitors, and sponsors, during David’s years as Executive Director.

David’s leadership played an important role during the challenging years of the COVID-19 pandemic when the European Symposium was forced to cancel and IAFP 2020 moved to a virtual event for the first time in its history, all without staff turnover. During this time, he also managed to oversee the relocation of the IAFP office in Des Moines, Iowa.

David played a transformational role at IAFP during this 30-year tenure, including a name change, expansion of international meetings and workshops, increased focus on student scholarships, and establishing a robust financial standing. He leaves the association in a strong position, including an extremely capable staff.

David’s role at IAFP extended beyond planning meetings and orchestrating background logistics. His work facilitated connections that sparked groundbreaking research and novel ideas, and enhanced visibility crucial to delivering meaningful food protection efforts. IAFP recognizes David’s impact and the benefits of his legacy.

Lisa Hovey, current IAFP Assistant Director, will assume the Executive Director role. Lisa joined IAFP in 1997 as Director of Finance and Administration and was promoted to Assistant Director in 1999. Throughout the past 26 years, she has collaborated with the Executive Director to sustain, promote, and grow IAFP's programs and member services. She played a critical role in shaping and implementing the organization’s strategy, including oversight of member services and programs, operations, financial management, and staff. Lisa was instrumental in the recent transition of IAFP’s Journal of Food Protection to an open-access publication and currently acts as the Association’s liaison for its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.

Update, March 3, 2023: IAFP has announced that Lisa Hovey assumed the Executive Director position as of March 1, 2023