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Alumni Success Story

The Candy Man Can: A Young Alum’s Sweet Job

By Jessica Tanca

Dan Shorts pictured in the Candy Room

Not to sugarcoat it, but Dan Shorts, SPA/BA '11, has a pretty sweet job. He is the manager of government affairs for the National Confectioners Association. Dan represents American candy manufacturers and articulates to policymakers the industry's stance on a number of federal policies that affect the industry. These policies range from reforming federal sugar subsidies and other commodity support programs to food assistance issues to tax and trade debates. 

Dan's focus is on introducing NCA to as many freshman members of Congress as possible and educating them about the industry. Part of his work is to explain to policymakers that the NCA embraces moderation and promotes candy as a part of happy, balanced lifestyle.

"The issues can be complex" he says, but he professes "the candy business is a really fun industry to work for." One could only imagine, if on the second floor of your office building is a candy room filled with sweets and treats.

"It's been gratifying to be part of an industry that is incredibly committed to thoughtful and responsible leadership. NCA is all about embracing moderation, which is where we think our consumers are. Most people enjoy candy just two or three times a week, averaging only about 40 calories per day. NCA is a vocal advocate of encouraging that kind of moderate consumption, and I think that's pretty special."

With a new life after American University, Dan has done a 'king-size' job of giving back time to his alma mater. He is president of the local alumni chapter for his fraternity, Delta Tau Delta. He also spends much of his free time working with AU's DC Young Alumni Chapter. Dan serves on the board for the DC YAC and contributes his time to event planning and engaging young alumni. Dan says, "it's a lot of fun to stay involved with AU and stay connected to other young alumni." His favorite annual events are DC YAC's Day at the Nationals Ballpark and a series of trivia nights, all of which Dan helps plan.

To get involved with DC YAC, NY YAC, or your local AU community, visit the AU Alumni Association's Find Your Community webpage or search for upcoming AU events in your area.