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NGA Recognizes 2017 Executive Leadership Development Program Graduates


The National Grocers Association (NGA) on Tuesday congratulated 37 grocery executives on their completion of the 2017 Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP). The event was held June 4-8 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

“In an evolving business such as the supermarket industry, new leaders and executives will face an array of challenges and opportunities very different than their predecessors encountered. The development of these leaders will become even more important, and leadership and training programs will be critical for the long-term success of the industry,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “Thanks to the generous support of our sponsor, PepsiCo, NGA is working to provide those resources and opportunities for independent supermarket operators to invest in their future leaders through programs such as ELDP.”

Brian Rutigliano, retail POS specialist at Allegiance Retail Services, said, “I found the ELDP program to be an invaluable experience in which I will take the lessons learned and apply them throughout my career. The program helped me to understand the differences between management skills and leadership skills, and the one-on-one feedback session with Cornell faculty provided deeper insight into my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and a path forward to improve on my leadership skills.”

ELDP helps independent supermarket operators and wholesalers develop leaders from within their organizations who can respond to business challenges in the 21st century marketplace. It is a high-impact learning opportunity for rising grocery executives that provides interactive instruction presented by a mix of respected academic and industry leaders.

For the past 14 years, ELDP has been supported by PepsiCo.

2017 ELDP graduates are:
• Mark Bowen, manufacturing operations manager, Brookshire Grocery Co.
• Stewart Boyer, retail counselor, Merchants Distributors Inc.
• Nathaniel Brusby, store manager, Kennie’s Market
• Reggie Carmon, director of foodservice, bakery/deli merchandising, Reasor’s
• Lee Bowers, sales development manager, Merchants Distributors Inc.
• Derek Brison, manager of employment and talent management, Reasor’s
• Sandra Cannillo, advertising manager, Wakefern Food Corp.
• Layne Chastain, director of meat and seafood, Harps Food Stores
• Rodney Cobb, meat director, Mitchell Grocery
• Aidan Coleman, director of business development, Coleman Group of Cos.
• Sean D. Hamady, assistant store manager, Sissonville Piggly Wiggly
• Guillermo Fernandez, business and finance team lead, Stop and Compare Market
• Jim Fitterer, director of sales, Associated Wholesale Grocers
• Eric Frigiano, business/financial analyst, Wakefern Food Corp.
• Joe Greene, district manager, K-VA-T Food Stores
• Amber Hauber, VP of customer experience, Harmons Grocery
• Drew Hembree, director of traditional advertising, K-VA-T Food Stores
• Dennis Host, VP of marketing, Coborn’s
• Heidi Huff, director of marketing, IGA USA
• Jenny Jorge, VP of operations, Jorgu Meat Corp.
• Ray Lotierzo, store director, Ravitz Family Markets
• Steve Oroszlany, category manager, Wakefern Food Corp.
• Samer Rahman, senior director of meat/seafood merchandising, Allegiance Retail Services
• Mohammad Rahman, assistant store manager, ShopRite Supermarkets
• Mike Richter, senior director of meat, seafood and fresh, Coborn’s
• Mike Roberts, produce merchandiser, Harps Food Stores
• Clark Roper, produce buyer, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co.
• Brian Rutigliano, POS specialist, Allegiance Retail Services
• Carly Spross, director of marketing, The Fresh Grocer (ShopRite)
• Laura Strange, senior director of industry relations, communications and marketing, NGA
• Marty Thompson, director of category development, Coborn’s
• Peter Torchiano, store director, ShopRite Supermarkets
• Tom VonKessel, director of non-perishables, Ravitz Family Markets
• Alan Tait, director of business development, Coleman Group of Cos.
• Daniel Koch, VP of bakery/deli, Associated Wholesale Grocers
• Nicholas Arlan, VP, Arlan’s Markets
• Elizabeth Crocker, executive director, NGA Research and Education Foundation

About the author


Kristen Cloud

A former newspaper editor and publisher, she once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, she is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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