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NGA Welcomes New Board Members, Executive Committee Appointees

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The 2022 board of directors for the National Grocers Association was announced Monday during the NGA Show at the Caesars Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Nine people and one appointee will serve along with the re-elected board members. They were recommended by the NGA Board nominating committee and approved via a vote by membership.

The new retailer members include: Richie Morgan, North State Grocery; Garrett Piklapp, Fareway Stores; and Paul Rowton, GES Inc./Edwards Food Giant.

In addition, the board announced the following new wholesaler members: Richard Chapman, G&C Food Distributors; Steve Henig, Wakefern Food Corp.; Jay Mitchell, Mitchell Grocery Corp.; Bob Obray, Associated Food Stores.; and Ray Sprinkle, URM Stores.

The new manufacturer/supplier members include Joe Mueller, the Kellogg Company, and Casey Fannon, National Cooperative Bank.

NGA also announced the officers appointed to the 2022 executive committee. They include: Chairman Ted Balistreri, Sendik’s Food Market; Vice Chairman Mike Stigers, Cub Foods/UNFI; Treasurer Richie Morgan, North State Grocery; Secretary David Smith, Associated Wholesale Grocers; and Immediate Past Chair Cheryl Sommer, Kaune’s Neighborhood Market.

The board recognized the following outgoing board members for their service: Kristi Magnuson Nelson, Hugo’s Family Marketplace; Mike Violette, Associated Grocers of New England; Steve Heggelke, Bozzuto’s.; Dave Conroy, Fiserv; and Stratton Sigler, Unilever.

Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of NGA, expressed gratitude to the board members who “have volunteered countless hours to serve our association, particularly as we continue to navigate challenges brought on by the pandemic and return to a new normal.”

“As we kick off a year-long celebration of NGA’s 40th anniversary, I look forward to working with the board of directors to help the organization enhance resources for our members and strengthen the independent supermarket industry,” Ferrara said.

With strong retailer and wholesaler attendance, the NGA Show opened Sunday. Over the three-day conference, attendees can choose from more than 50 educational sessions and 100 speakers discussing issues facing food retail.

“Our last show in September was about looking back and coming together to celebrate this industry after a pandemic that challenged our industry and nation like never before. This year’s show is about looking forward,” Ferrara said.

The show began Sunday with “Innovation Through the Eyes of the Independent Grocer,” presented by the Tomorrow Group and featuring Neil Stern, CEO of Good Food Holdings.

This session launched a partnership between NGA and the Tomorrow Group that will present content throughout the year focused on total store innovation and helping NGA members transfer insights into real-time business development and growth.

Other sessions on opening day focused on topics ranging from store design and international commerce to omnichannel and artificial intelligence. The exhibition hall opened Monday. 

During the opening session, Ferrara recognized NGA’s anniversary and delivered a message of looking forward.

“We have heard from many of you about the challenges and pressures you continue to face, including wrinkles in the supply chain and an acute labor shortage, and how you have partnered with NGA to find support and solutions,” he said. “But that has not stopped you from maintaining a vision for the future – always forward-looking – always planning how you can best support your teams, strengthen your businesses and enrich your communities.

“Perhaps the most important part of your future is your people, which is why it’s so crucial to invest in them, to nurture them, to empower them as the next generation of leaders of our industry.”

Sunday closed with the opening keynote address by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who discussed the country’s economic and political landscape and its potential impact on independent community grocery operators.

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