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Daniel R. Flowers, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, gave the address at Kent State University at Stark’s 44th Annual Spring Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 12 at Umstattd Performing Arts Hall in Canton.
More than 190 candidates were awarded their bachelor’s, master’s or associate degrees at this year’s commencement exercises.
Flowers has been president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank since 2003. During his tenure, the Foodbank has experienced significant growth, increasing food distribution to more than 28.8 million pounds to its network of hunger-relief partners in 2016. He led the Foodbank through a building expansion project into a newly renovated facility in 2007. Under his leadership, the Foodbank was named the 2012 Foodbank of the Year, the highest recognition achievable by foodbanks across the nation in the Feeding America network. Most recently, the Foodbank received its third NorthCoast 99 Award, being recognized as one of Northeast Ohio’s best places to work.
Flowers also helped to drive the great partnership between the Foodbank and Flash’s Food Pantry at Kent State Stark. The campus’s partners at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and Interfaith Campus Ministry are instrumental in sustaining the pantry, now in its second year. Because of this relationship the dollars raised for Flash’s Food Pantry can go further to help many more students who have demonstrated a need.
Kent State Stark Dean Denise A. Seachrist, Ph.D., praised Flowers’ and the Foodbank’s efforts in assisting the campus community.
“Because of the efforts of Dan Flowers and his staff from the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank we are making a difference in those lives we serve on a daily basis,” Seachrist said. “We are proud to have Dan speak to our graduates about the power of helping one another.”
Flowers is the former vice chairman of Feeding America’s elected National Affiliate Council (NAC) and is the immediate past chairman of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks Board of Directors. He also is a member of the Aultman Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, WKSU Community Advisory Council and the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services Board of Directors.
After serving as a congressional intern for U.S. Rep. Dale E. Kildee of Michigan’s 5th District, Flowers served as a grant writer by the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan where he was to later become the director of agency relations. Prior to moving to Ohio, he was employed by the Northrop Grumman Company as director of administration for the federally funded Job Corps Center in Flint, Mich.
Flowers resides in Akron with his wife and three sons. He is an avid reader, runner, bow hunter, video gamer, martial artist (holding a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu) and a regular columnist for Smart Business Magazine.