WGA President and CEO Brandon Scholz, Supervalu’s Jeff McClure (who nominated Skogen for the award) and Marlin Greenfield of Festival Foods worked together to ensure the award was a surprise.
Skogen is a third-generation grocer. The nomination stated that Skogen has “used his instinct, passion and competitive drive to firmly establish Festival Foods as one of Wisconsin’s leading independent grocers.
“The one thing that sets him apart from others in the grocery industry is his true belief in giving back and enriching the lives of those in the communities served by Festival Foods,” the nomination said. “His commitment to the communities, his associates and customers makes him a deserving recipient of the Grocer of the Year award.”
Skogen grew up in the grocery business and got his competitive drive and passion for the industry from his father, Dave Skogen, who in 2005 received the same award from WGA.
The younger Skogen began his career by helping sort soft drink bottles and then he worked at a handful of Skogen’s IGA stores. He later became store director in various locations before moving into his current role as president and CEO.
Under Mark Skogen’s leadership, Festival Foods has opened 10 new stores and acquired a banquet/catering facility. The company recently announced plans to open a new 57,000-s.f. store in Madison in the summer of 2015.
Skogen has implemented numerous valuable programs for Festival Foods’ approximately 5,000 associates. Two of the more noteworthy include the introduction of an employee stock ownership plan and offering an associate discount card. He also has implemented reimbursement programs for tuition, health/fitness club membership and smoking cessation. He invests a significant amount of time to train and develop associates at all levels of the company through conferences, seminars, hands-on training and workshops.
Skogen serves on several boards, including those of the Green Bay Packers, Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay and the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation. In addition, he chaired the Brown County United Way Campaign in 2011.
Many groups and organizations have recognized Skogen with awards for corporate social responsibility. Skogen also was a finalist for the Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. In addition, Festival Foods received the American Foundation of Counseling Services’ Ethics in Business Award last year.
In the feature photo at top are WGA President Brandon Scholz and Festival Foods President and CEO Mark Skogen.