Linda M. Doherty, president and CEO of the New Jersey Food Council (NJFC), received the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Donald H. MacManus Association Executive Award on March 28 in recognition of her outstanding leadership and accomplishments in the food distribution industry. The award was presented at FMI’s Day in Washington.
“Linda works diligently to represent some of the finest grocery and food distribution employers in the Garden State,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “With a $105 billion economy, feeding nearly nine million New Jerseyans a day, Linda continues to advocate for her state’s food retailers, most notably through job creation, disaster preparedness, food safety and sustainability.”
Her accomplishments include:
Pursuing Litigation Strategies to Defend Unclaimed Property: Doherty led the NJFC through the successful litigation against the state of New Jersey over its gift card escheat law, which challenged New Jersey’s statute related to unclaimed funds on gift cards, or stored value cards. In a victory for gift card issuers in January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit blocked New Jersey from fully enforcing provisions of its abandoned property law.
Supporting Reform in State Liquor Licensing: Doherty collaborated with FMI on an effort to reform state liquor laws, as a person or corporate entity can only hold two licenses in the state. The research showed that reforming the state’s liquor laws would increase competition in the market for alcoholic beverages, create as many as 275 jobs for New Jersey residents and boost municipal and state finances.
Maintaining the Security of the Food Supply: Doherty received five state grants to train food handlers in NJFC’s membership by using the FMI SafeMark training program. Today, the FMI SafeMark program is NJCF’s primary training tool.
Keeping the Garden State Safe through Disaster Preparedness: Doherty is a food sector representative on the New Jersey Infrastructure Advisory Committee, a part of the Governor’s Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force. Doherty has been instrumental in creating food safety and defense programs for NJFC members in conjunction with government partners. Among her successful partnerships is “Operation: Food Distribution,” which enables members, homeland security and emergency management to implement disaster recovery protocols, intelligence-sharing and business continuity during a crisis. The NJFC is the only private sector organization to have a seat in the state’s Operational Intelligence Center.
Giving WIC Recipients More Shopping Options: Doherty and her staff successfully lobbied the Christie administration to reform the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, increasing the number of WIC licenses available to retailers in urban areas by 30 percent and in rural areas by 20 percent. By enacting these changes, New Jersey WIC recipients now have more shopping choices and better food options.
FMI honors an association leader annually with the Donald H. MacManus award, now in its 20th year. This award recognizes an association executive for extraordinary leadership in public affairs, industry relations and community relations. MacManus served the industry for many years as executive director of the Rocky Mountain Food Dealers Association and as FMI’s Western Region director. He also served in the Colorado State Senate, rising to the position of democratic whip.