The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) honored three industry executives with leadership awards at its Midwinter Executive Conference. FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin presented the awards to individuals who “share a legacy of achievement in trade relations, entrepreneurial spirit and statesmanship.”
“Our industry is rooted in a commitment to people and communities. It shines through the food, the service and the support we provide. Visionaries who blazed new trails in their day established a noble legacy—a legacy that thrives and continues in the work of today’s esteemed industry leaders,” said Sarasin.
This year’s awards and honorees are:
William H. Albers Award
Irene Rosenfeld, chairman, Mondelez International
William H. Albers’ commitment to trade relations and consumer service lives on, manifested by the many Albers award recipients, says FMI. Those recipients now include 2018 honoree Irene Rosenfeld. Crediting her strong sports background as a key factor in her leadership development, Rosenfeld is known for her staff-building skills and determination.
“She has led her teams to breathe new life into established brands and create the world’s greatest snacking company,” says FMI. “Her pioneering efforts have propelled her to be one of only 32 female leaders among the U.S.’s 500 largest companies.”
Robert B. Wegman Award
Oscar Gonzalez, co-president and COO, Northgate Gonzalez Market
Since 2012, FMI has honored Robert B. Wegman’s innovation and imaginative strategies. This year’s 2018 award winner, Oscar Gonzalez, adds another chapter to that heritage of entrepreneurial leadership.
“Co-owner of Northgate Markets, the largest chain of Mexican supermarkets in the U.S., Oscar has further transformed the store,” says the organization. “Today, Northgate Markets develops their own high-quality brands, and the innovative business even touts departments specializing in technology, design and construction.”
Also under Gonzalez’s leadership, the company has created programs focused on education, healthy eating options and community empowerment.
Sidney R. Rabb Award
Jerry Garland, former president and CEO, Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc.
Sidney R. Rabb’s commitment to the consumer, community and the industry continues to shine in the work of Jerry Garland, says FMI. Throughout his career, Garland has built relationships among trading partners and elected officials, advocating for independent supermarket operators along the way. During his tenure at the cooperative Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG), Garland once said, “I have 633 bosses—all retailers.”
Garland’s commitment to shared success led to AWG’s increased revenue, decreased operating expenses, and funds paid back to member stores and their communities, says FMI.
Jerry served as FMI’s board chairman during one of the most regulatory-laden times in its history, most notably working with FMI to navigate the biggest change to the food safety system in 70 years, the Food Safety Modernization Act.
FMI advocates on behalf of the food retail industry, which employs nearly 5 million workers and represents a combined annual sales volume of almost $800 billion. Its member companies operate nearly 33,000 retail food stores and 12,000 pharmacies. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education, health and wellness and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides benefits to almost 1,000 food retail and wholesale member companies and serves 85 international retail member companies. In addition, FMI has almost 500 associate member companies that provide products and services to the food retail industry.