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Iowa Grocery Industry Association Inducts Five Into Hall Of Fame

The Mueller Yurgae Associates Board of Directors, front, from left, Dan Mueller, Bob Gostomski and Bob Mueller; and back, from left, Jeff Yurgae, Justin Heidenreich and Chris Yurgae.

Last updated on June 6th, 2016 at 03:39 pm

The Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA) will honor Hy-Vee’s Tom Watson with the IGIA Retailer of the Year Award during its 22nd Annual Hall of Fame Dinner at 5 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Veterans Memorial Community Choice Credit Union in Des Moines, Iowa.

The evening’s highlights also will include awarding Bob Myers, Casey’s General Store CEO, with the Lifetime Achievement Award, Mueller Yurgae Associates with the Volunteer of the Year Award, Kemps with the Supplier of the Year Award and Bob Bocken, Farner-Bocken Co., with the Legislative Leadership Award. All award recipients will be inducted into the Iowa Grocery Industry Hall of Fame.

Tom Watson, Hy-Vee
Tom Watson, Hy-Vee

Hy-Vee Chief Retail Officer Tom Watson has been selected to receive the top honor for his contributions to Hy-Vee and the grocery industry throughout the past 35 years. Watson began working for Hy-Vee in 1980 at the age of 16, making his way through the various store levels. He received his first store director position in 1995 at a store in Leawood, Kansas, and rose quickly through the company to become its chief retail officer in 2013. Watson retired earlier this month after leading the convenience store and gas station portion of the company as assistant VP of petroleum marketing. Prior to that, he oversaw the retail operations for 77 food stores, 11 drugstores and 35 fuel stations as the EVP of the eastern region. Watson played a key role in the creation and success of Hy-Vee’s Health Markets, Market Grills and Market Cafés.

Bob Myers, Casey's General Store
Bob Myers, Casey’s General Store

IGIA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Bob Myers has worked tirelessly to make Casey’s and the communities in which it operates stronger. During his tenure, Casey’s General Stores has expanded to encompass 1,900 stores in 14 states, and provided employment for more than 32,000 families. His dedication to give back and better both employees and communities has inspired the creation of a nonprofit entity called Casey’s Charities, which carries out major fundraising projects.

Myers helped Casey’s win a proxy fight for control so that today Casey’s remains a corporate-based Iowa company. He also saved the company millions of dollars by analyzing and streamlining various processes within the organization. He is now guiding the company through the construction of a second distribution center in Terre Haute, Indiana. It will come online in February and will expand Casey’s reach another 500 miles. Myers will step down as Casey’s CEO in April.


Kemps is supplier of the year

unnamedThe 2015 IGIA Supplier of the Year, St. Paul, Minnesota-based Kemps, produces a wide array of dairy products. It is a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, and, as such, has 8,000 dairy farmer owners located throughout the U.S. The company operates four Minnesota manufacturing facilities, including an ice cream plant in Rochester, a cultured-products plant in Farmington and milk plants in Minneapolis and Rochester, as well as Fargo, North Dakota, and Cedarburg, Wisconsin, milk plants.

It is unique in that all of its profits go back to the dairy farmers and their families.


Mueller Yurgae first organization to become volunteer of the year

This year marks the first time that the IGIA has awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award to an organization instead of an individual. Mueller Yurgae Associates (MYA) joined the IGIA in the 1980s, and the company’s involvement and contributions have grown every year since. Volunteerism is a way of life for Mueller Yurgae that extends into non-business-related community service projects, IGIA said. Three major charities that MYA supports are Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics and Central Iowa Blood Bank.


Bocken a legislative leader

Bob Bocken
Bob Bocken, Farner-Bocken

When it comes to governmental relations efforts, the IGIA said few have given of their time and talent as frequently and generously as Bob Bocken of Farner-Bocken Co., this year’s IGIA Legislative Leader Award recipient. Bocken has served as chair of both the GroPAC and government relations committees for the association in the past and remains active on both. He also regularly participates in the IGIA’s weekly legislative conference call, which is held each year during the Iowa legislative session, and grasps the importance of establishing relationships and communicating with elected officials about how proposed legislation will affect the grocery industry.

The Hall of Fame selection committee reviews peer nominations and makes final selections based upon the nominee’s character and qualifications. A candidate’s contributions to the grocery industry also factor into the final selection.

Founded in 1899, the IGIA represents the food industry, including chain and independent supermarkets, convenience stores, mass merchandisers, wholesalers, brokers, manufacturers and distributors. It is headquartered in Urbandale, Iowa.


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