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FMI Celebrates Seven Food Industry Executives

From left to right, top to bottom: Bob Obray, Rick Brindle, Art Potash, Liz Chace-Marino, Gordon Reid, Joe Sheridan and Ron Edenfield.

FMI–The Food Industry Association has announced its 2023 Executive Leadership Awards recipients.

The awards were presented Jan. 21 at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference Awards luncheon in Orlando, sponsored by Unilever.

“The recipients of the 2023 Executive Leadership Awards constitute a masterclass in food industry leadership,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and CEO.

“Their time-tested skills and cultivated expertise promoted food industry growth and gracefully elevated the industry’s profile, even when faced with the toughest economic environment in 40 years.”

The recipients of the 2023 Executive Leadership Awards are as follows:

Herbert Hoover Award for Humanitarian Service

  • Bob Obray, CEO, Associated Food Stores (posthumous)​.

The late Bob Obray left a legacy of executive management best practices. Obray led Associated Food Stores with the aim of maximizing consumer satisfaction and uplifting communities in need.

During his 18-year tenure with the company, he pushed for innovation and growth. As SVP and CFO, he oversaw the development of the 2020 and Beyond Plan, which analyzed the company to identify opportunities for improvement.

At the time of his passing, Obray was a participant in FMI’s Wholesaler Share Group and was an active member of FMI’s board of directors.

Esther Peterson Award for Consumer Service

  • Gordon Reid, president of Stop & Shop.

Prior to joining Stop & Shop, Reid served as president of Giant Food. His leadership resulted in the company making healthy eating easier and more affordable for consumers, while increasing home delivery services.

At Stop & Shop, Reid has been a champion in limiting barriers impacting a child’s ability to succeed in the classroom by making sure that they have consistent access to food.

  • Elizabeth Chace-Marino, manager of government affairs at Ahold Delhaize USA.

With more than 30 years of experience in government affairs, community relations and corporate affairs, Chace-Marino focuses on legislative and policy initiatives at all levels of government.

Chace-Marino serves on FMI’s government affairs committee, FMI SNAP working task force and is the past chair of its Women Infants Children task force.

Both honorees recently participated in FMI-hosted dialogs to talk with industry and government leaders regarding commitments to ending hunger, improving nutrition, and reducing diet-related diseases following the White House Conference on Nutrition and Health.

William H. Albers Award for Industry Relations

  • Rick Brindle, VP of industry development, Mondelēz International.

Rick Brindle began his career in 1977 as a food clerk at Safeway Stores. He rose to leadership positions within Procter & Gamble, Nabisco, Kraft Foods and Mondelēz International.

As a founding member and longtime chair of FMI’s Industry Collaboration Council, Brindle  championed Mondelēz joining FMI as a charter member of the new product supplier membership category, as well as the creation of FMI’s two trading partner collaboration programs, the Strategic Executive Exchange program and the Annual Business Conference.

Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence

  • Art Potash, CEO, Potash Markets​.

Art Potash’s entrepreneurial leadership has been instrumental in overcoming extraordinary challenges at Chicago-based Potash Markets.

Potash is a FMI Share Group participant, as well as an active member of FMI’s board of directors. Currently, he serves as chairman of the board for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

For his impactful contributions to industry advocacy, Potash was also selected as the recipient of FMI’s 2012 Glen P. Woodard Award, Jr., Public Affairs Award.

Glen P. Woodard, Jr. Award for Public Affairs

  • Ron Edenfield, chairman, Wayfield Foods.

Ron Edenfield serves as an expert public affairs practitioner, championing the needs of food retailers in his home state of Georgia and across the country. In 1982, Edenfield co-founded Wayfield Foods with a focus on top-quality products, service and prices.

As chairman of Wayfield Foods, Edenfield has been proactive in ensuring all members of the food industry have the opportunity to achieve those same objectives at their own companies through expert public affairs strategies.

Edenfield serves on FMI’s board of directors and Public Affairs Committee. His connections on Capitol Hill have helped FMI form relationships with Georgia legislators.

Sidney R. Rabb Award for Statesmanship

  • Joe Sheridan, president, Wakefern Food Corp.

Sheridan has been an employee of Wakefern for 47 years. His career at the company began in 1976, when he was hired as a selector in the company warehouse. He would go on to assume roles in logistics, finance, procurement and management in the grocery, direct-store delivery, bakery, health and beauty care, non-foods and pharmacy divisions.

Sheridan serves on the FMI board of directors and is past chairman. He also participates in multiple leadership roles on FMI board-level committees: executive committee, industry relations, public affairs and chairman of the nominating committee.  In 2020, he helped usher in a new era of governance at the association when FMI repositioned itself as the Food Industry Association.

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