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Posey Ready To Guide Western Association Of Food Chains

Patrick "Pat" Posey

Patrick “Pat” Posey took the helm of The Western Association of Food Chains as chief operating officer on Sept. 1, succeeding Carole Christianson, who retired but is staying on as an advisor.

Scott Drew, 2022-23 WAFC president and chairman, made the leadership announcement last month, describing Posey was an “industry legend” who has “always made giving back to the community and the industry a top priority.”

“His passion for helping others and for education makes him the perfect choice to continue the legacy Carole has carefully crafted,” Drew said. 

A 38-year veteran of the grocery industry, Posey began his industry career with Ralphs Grocery Co., culminating in the role of store director. In 1997, he left Ralphs to join Bristol Farms, where he rose through the ranks from store director to VP of non-perishable procurement and merchandising. He had served on the WAFC board for the past 10 years, including four years as education chairman. He was elected VP in May.

Posey also is the chairman of the City of Hope “Kids4Hope” Foundation; president of the Olive Crest Food Industry Roundtable and executive member of the Orange County Boys Scouts of America, MDA and the California Hospital Foundation.

The Shelby Report recently caught up with Posey to discuss how the transition to his new role has gone. One of the first topics was his continuing community involvement. 

“I still plan on being involved, but I can’t be the guy up front anymore,” Posey said. 

As for the WAFC, Posey has been working “on the peripheral” of the organization since he graduated from the USC Food Industry Management Program in 1996. He has served on the board of WAFC for 10 years and on its executive board for the past four years. 

As Christianson was preparing to retire, many names surfaced as possible replacements. “I guess my name kept popping up,” Posey said. 

When he first got involved with the organization, Posey said he was impressed with his predecessor’s ability to elevate the organization to what it is today. Posey hopes to expand on that.

“I’m inheriting something that’s very solid,” he said. “It has a very solid foundation and it’s a well-oiled machine.

“I do hope there’s opportunities down the road to enhance some things and maybe make it a little bit more progressive. But for right now, I’m just trying to continue the good work that’s already been done.”

One task Posey mentioned is understanding the association’s bylaws. 

“Because [WAFC] has been around for 100 years now, I’m not sure if the bylaws have ever been changed or altered to fit today’s fast-changing environment,” he explained. “I’ve got to look at those to see what the parameters are of the WAFC and what they’re supposed to be so I can understand that better. I would like to involve more people and more companies, so we can help educate more people in the grocery industry.

“I’m not sure how that works out, but it’s something I really want to dig into and understand. I would like to make it broader than just thinking of it as western states.”

Posey’s transition from retail has been a change, and he continues to seek guidance from Christianson. 

“Now that I’m sitting on this side of the desk, I’m figuring out what she did every day. It’s a lot more than I ever anticipated,” he said. “There’s a lot of moving parts and she’s got them all in her head.

“You can’t learn this in a week. In my previous world, they gave you a week to work with the store director when you went to a new store. But I knew that job. For me here, I don’t really know this job. I know about the convention – and I know by working with Carole on the board for so long what the organization does – but to look behind the curtain and see is something far different. I know it’s something I can do. It’s just something you can’t learn overnight.”

While Posey settles into his new role, Drew has full confidence in him. 

“Pat brings extensive leadership experience to the WAFC…I look forward to working with him as he transitions to this new role.”

For more information, visit wafc.com.

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Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
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