FMI—The Food Industry Association honored six industry leaders with its 2020 Executive Leadership Awards at its Midwinter Executive Conference. The six were recognized for elevating the food industry through their investments in talent, the customer and for transforming the business environment.
“The food industry is a people business; in our operations, there are three necessary virtues that make the food industry a noble enterprise: customer service, community support and an investment in people,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin. “Each of our honored leaders possess these virtues and have established industry-influencing legacies of enriching the lives of those in the communities they serve.”
The following leaders were celebrated for excellence in trading partner collaboration, entrepreneurial enterprises, investments in the community and statesmanship:
- Sidney R. Rabb Award for Statesmanship: Kevin Davis, president and co-CEO, Bristol Farms—Davis’ contributions to the industry, consumer and community is illustrative of Sidney R. Rabb’s legacy in food retail.
“True customer service is about the way you make shoppers feel when they come in your store; it’s experiential, not a list of offerings,” he said.
Davis believes without the people in food retail, the industry is simply made up of buildings. “As leaders, it’s our job to support employees with the right training and resources, so they can provide the best services to customers.”
Davis is widely recognized for his commitment to education, community philanthropy and business sense. He’s grown Bristol Farms from three stores to a multi-formatted, specialty grocer operating 21 high-end, unique and successful stores. In 2016, he was awarded FMI’s Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
- William H. Albers Award for Industry Relations: Al Carey, North America CEO (retired), PepsiCo Inc.—Carey served as the North
America CEO for PepsiCo Inc. where he led the North America Beverage and Frito-Lay North America snacks units. Carey retired from his role in March 2019, but he is being recognized for sparking collaboration between brands and retailers, as well as front-line associates that trickled directly down to the consumer.
He remarked on his career, saying, “I’ve spent my whole career servicing customers and stores, and there’s no doubt these stores will have to change the way they service customers in this digital age. Therefore, suppliers and retailers will have to collaborate more to reach today’s consumer.”
Reflecting on his various roles, he said he has witnessed the value of cultivating talent and advocating for workforce development throughout PepsiCo. Carey dedicated 38 years of his career to PepsiCo, which marked the end of a 40-year career in consumer-packaged goods that began at Procter & Gamble.
- Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence: Mark Skogen, president and CEO, Festival Foods—Skogen pushes for new and innovative in-store experiences to better serve the customers. He said, “There are more ways to interact with guests in the digital
age, but it’s still about being good to people and meeting and exceeding their needs.”
Programs like Festival Foods’ Mealtime Mentors leverages technology while retaining personal customer-concierge services to maintain loyalty with shoppers. Festival Foods is grounded in its Wisconsin community and has scaled to more than 30 locations. Festival Foods sponsors various community events each year, including the Festival Foods Turkey Trot, Festival Foods Fireworks, Food for Neighbors, and Paw Away Hunger—all using imaginative ways to engage today’s shoppers and communities.
Skogen is a third-generation grocer, having worked in a variety of positions across the company, including department manager and store director, before transitioning to the president and CEO role in 2006.
- Herbert Hoover Award for Humanitarian Service: Henry Johnson, president (retired), W. Lee Flowers & Co.—Johnson embedded his humanitarianism and passion for philanthropy in his leadership at W. Lee Flowers & Co. “Our stores still follow a ‘hometown
proud’ motto; we’re proud of where we live, we’re proud of the communities we’re in, and we want to make them better,” Johnson said after reflecting on receiving the FMI Herbert Hoover Award.
With Johnson at the helm, W. Lee Flowers supported the Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Club, Harvest Hope Food Bank and numerous other organizations. Johnson served as president of W. Lee Flowers and Co. for more than four decades. His leadership extends to serving in advisory roles for IGA Inc., Food Distributors International and FMI. Johnson’s leadership and service has been honored by several civic organizations. Most notably, he received the Boy Scouts of America’s Good Shepherd Award and the Krause Award for Distinguished Service for Leadership and Ethics.
- Glen P. Woodard Jr. Award for Public Affairs: Craig Boyan, president, H-E-B—Boyan’s leadership
extends beyond the Longhorn State to Capitol Hill. Boyan is a proponent of H-E-B’s involvement in his association’s annual Washington, D.C. fly-in and covering important issues like payments and tax reform with members of Congress so that they hear and understand the influence this industry wields.
Boyan’s passion for public affairs led to an historic moment for the grocery industry in 2019: Under his leadership, FMI played a critical role in redefining the way the courts interpret “confidential business data.”
Boyan joined H-E-B in 2005 as chief strategic officer and was advisor to H-E-B for two years before joining the company.
- Esther Peterson Award for Customer Service: Natalie Menza-Crowe, RD, MS, director of health and wellness, Wakefern Food Corp.—”What’s most energizing being in food retail is that you’re truly helping people and changing lives,” said Menza-Crowe, director of health and wellness at ShopRite. In her role, and as a nationally recognized health and wellness
expert, Menza-Crowe creates dynamic programs that educate and inspire consumers and associates to embrace the importance of healthy eating to make balanced nutritional decisions. She oversees ShopRite’s retail dietitian program, encompassing approximately 110 stores and addressing the health and wellness needs of shoppers at the most crucial point in their purchasing decision—right in the aisles.
Menza-Crowe is empowered by her role as an advocate for well-being, and she’s a trailblazer in her field. Menza-Crowe joined ShopRite in 2005 as the organization’s first corporate dietitian.
Visit FMI.org/Legacy to learn more about the 2020 winners.