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NGA Appoints Kirtland, Raya To Board, Presents Industry Service Award To Jones

Kirtland, Raya, Jones
From left: Dave Jones and Greg Ferrara.

The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, has appointed Amy Kirtland EVP of independents, fresh and exclusive brands at KeHE Distributors, and Lori Raya, chief merchandising and marketing officer at SpartanNash, to fill vacancies on its board of directors.

Kirtland serves KeHE’s customers in the areas of grocery independents and exclusive brands in the natural and fresh business. Her areas of expertise include bakery, culinary, cheese and bulk business. Before joining KeHE, Kirtland was executive director of Unified Grocers naturally division, where she focused on natural and organic categories in independent grocery stores.

Raya is responsible for the development and execution of SpartanNash’s merchandising and marketing strategy, aligning these efforts with the company’s overall business strategy. She is also responsible for studying consumer trends and sales performance and for increasing sales and market share.

Raya began her career in grocery with Safeway, starting as a store associate, then moving through the ranks to become store manager, district manager,VP of retail operations, group VP of strategic initiatives and eventually becoming the first female divisional president in Vons’ history in 2012. In 2015, she was named division president for the Albertsons/Safeway company.

The appointments were unanimously approved by NGA’s board of directors during its most recent meeting, held Thursday, Nov. 7.

“We are excited to welcome Amy and Lori to NGA’s board of directors,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “Both have experience in the independent supermarket industry, which will be valuable as we continue to provide premier benefits to our members.”

NGA also presented its Industry Service Leadership Award to Dave Jones, who recently retired from The Kellogg Co. after 33 years. Jones began his career with The Kellogg Co. in 1986 and he continued to climb the ranks and in 2009 was promoted to VP of industry initiatives.

“Dave has always had a strong passion for independent grocers, ensuring a vibrant marketplace for retailers and consumers,” said Ferrara. “His legacy will live on at NGA through his work on NGA’s Creative Choice Awards Program, which he helped cultivate over the years. He and his wife Mari have also supported the Women Grocers of America for many years, supporting our industry’s female leaders. We are pleased to honor Dave for his long career and dedication to the independent supermarket industry.”

The award was presented Nov. 7 during the NGA and Retailer Owned Foods Distributors & Associates (ROFDA) Fall Meetings at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The NGA and ROFDA Fall Meetings brought together senior decision-makers and business leaders from across the supermarket industry in a series of business to business meetings, education sessions and networking opportunities for attendees to discuss strategies to drive profitability and growth.

Leftover product from participating companies were donated to Beam, a community-based organization serving low-income residents in Jacksonville’s beaches communities.

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