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2015 NGA Show Kicks Off In Vegas With Video Release, Awards Presentation

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The National Grocers Association (NGA) on Sunday kicked off its 2015 NGA Show at The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas with a record attendance for the fifth consecutive year.

Over the next two days, The NGA Show will feature more than 30 education workshops and a sold-out expo floor with nearly 375 exhibitors in various categories such as produce, meat, technology, craft beers, general merchandise and health, wellness and beauty product sectors.

“This year’s record turnout of independent grocers and wholesalers, and those who support this industry, speaks to the value attendees see in the NGA Show,” said NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin. “We’re excited to build off of last year’s momentum and provide attendees with a return on investment that will help them grow and expand their bottom line.”

On Sunday, attendees participated in seven pre-convention workshops, an increase from last year’s two workshops, which covered top-line industry issues such as competing with smaller formats, creative produce merchandising programs and utilizing current meat trends to increase sales.

During the opening keynote session, Larkin and NGA Board Chairman Rich Niemann Jr. released a series of five videos showcasing how independent supermarkets differentiate and win in the marketplace. The videos (click the following links to view) focus on “community,” “people,” “fresh,” “innovation” and “partnerships.”

Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta provided the keynote address for the opening session, sponsored by Kraft Foods Group.

In addition to Sunday’s NGA Show events, the NGA board of directors, by recommendation of its nominating committee and a subsequent vote by the NGA membership, announced the 2015 board of directors, officers and executive committee members, as well as the election of nine new board members.

The board elected the following officers by ballot:

• Chairman: Rich Niemann Jr., Niemann Foods

• Immediate Past Chairman: Joe Sheridan, Wakefern Food Corp.

• Vice Chairman: Bob Ling, Unified Grocers

• Treasurer: Cheryl Sommer, Kaune’s Neighborhood Market

• Secretary: Rich McMenamin, McMenamin Family ShopRite

 Retiring NGA board members include NGA Chairman Rich Niemann Jr., Niemann Foods; Dan Shaul, Missouri Grocers Association; Lisa Walsh, PepsiCo; Christine Curtis, C&S Wholesale; Jim Nilsson, Geislers; and Peter Larkin, NGA.
Retiring NGA board members include NGA Chairman Rich Niemann Jr., Niemann Foods; Dan Shaul, Missouri Grocers Association; Lisa Walsh, PepsiCo; Christine Curtis, C&S Wholesale; Jim Nilsson, Geissler’s; and Peter Larkin, NGA.

Members appointed to the 2015 executive committee are Ted Balistreri, Sendik’s Food Markets; Jerry Garland, Associated Wholesale Grocers; Rick Geyer, Geyer’s Markets; Janel Haugarth, Supervalu; Barry Queen, Queen Enterprises; and Peter Larkin, NGA.

Newly elected and appointed to the 2015 NGA board of directors are Emile Breaux, Associated Grocers-Baton Rouge; Neal Berube, Associated Food Stores; Trent Brookshire, Brookshire Grocery Co.; Christopher Brown, C&S Wholesale Grocers; Tracy Flores, Kennie’s Market; Roger Lowe Jr., Lowe’s Supermarkets; Todd Mitchell, Crossmark; Richard Morgan, North State Grocery; and Ellie Taylor, Alabama Grocers Association.

Outgoing board members include Brad Brookshire, Brookshire Grocery Co.; Christine Curtis, C&S Wholesale Grocers; Jim Nilsson Jr., Geissler’s Supermarkets; Dan Shaul, Missouri Grocers Association; and Lisa Walsh, PepsiCo.

NGA honors industry leaders with top association awards

The National Grocers Association (NGA) has recognized industry leaders with distinguished leadership awards during the 2015 NGA Show, happening now in Las Vegas.

Roger Collins, Harp’s Foods, 2015 Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Award winner.
Roger Collins of Harps Foods, second from left, is the 2015 Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Award winner. The award is presented by Mondelez International, represented by Rick Brindle and Valerie Oswalt. NGA’s Peter Larkin is pictured at right.

The Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award was presented to Roger Collins, chairman and CEO of Harps Food Stores in Springdale, Arkansas.

Initiated in 2009, the Thomas K. Zaucha Award, named after NGA’s first president and CEO, has been presented annually to recognize an independent supermarket operator who exemplifies persistence, vision and creative entrepreneurship. The award, presented by Mondelez International, is one of the most prestigious honors awarded in the independent supermarket industry.

The Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award was presented to Jason Cooper, director of compliance and government relations at Brookshire Grocery Co. in Tyler, Texas.

Jason Cooper, right, of Brookshire Grocery Co. is the NGA Clarence G. Adamy Award recipient. He is pictured with NGA's Peter Larkin.
Jason Cooper, right, of Brookshire Grocery Co. is the NGA Clarence G. Adamy Award recipient. He is pictured with NGA’s Peter Larkin.

The Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award is NGA’s most distinguished government relations award that is presented to a person or company whose leadership in the food industry best exemplifies active and effective participation in government relations as a citizen and industry representative. Initiated in 1982, the Great American Award is named in honor of Clarence G. Adamy, past president of the National Association of Food Chains. Since its inception, only 24 individuals have received this award, including its namesake, Clarence Adamy and President George H.W. Bush.   

The Spirit of America Award was presented to Ronald Graff Jr., VP of store operations at Columbiana Foods Giant Eagle in Youngstown, Ohio.

  Ron Graff Jr. of Columbiana Foods Giant Eagle is the NGA Spirit of America Award recipient. He is pictured with NGA's Greg Ferrara.
Ron Graff Jr. of Columbiana Foods Giant Eagle is the NGA Spirit of America Award recipient. He is pictured with NGA’s Greg Ferrara.

The NGA Spirit of America Award, established in 1982, honors key industry and community figures who have provided leadership in the areas of community services and government relations on behalf of a free and independent food distribution system.

The Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award was presented to Trig Solberg, chairman of T.A. Solberg Co. in Minocqua, Wisconsin.

Trig Solberg of T.A. Solberg Co. is the winner of the Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award. He is pictured with NGA's Greg Ferrara.
Trig Solberg of T.A. Solberg Co. is the winner of the Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award. He is pictured with NGA’s Greg Ferrara.

Established in 2014, the Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award is presented to an NGA member who helps advance the role and presence of the independent grocer within the government and political affairs setting.

Find more photos from the show here.

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