Inside This Issue - News
Jurgens is honored by FMI
February 25th, 2013
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Ric Jurgens, who retired last year as chairman and chief executive officer of Hy-Vee Inc., has received the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI’s) most prestigious honor, the Sidney R. Rabb Award.
The accolade for excellence in serving the consumer, community and industry was presented here at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference.
Over a 43-year career at Hy-Vee, where Jurgens was only the third CEO, the native Iowan championed the grocery industry’s work in feeding families and enriching lives. That work began for him when he was a student at Iowa State, where he spent weekends and evenings at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Ames, Iowa, checking groceries and stocking shelves. The company’s slogan, "where there’s a helpful smile in every aisle," is exemplified by Jurgens’ genuine approach to leadership and his passionate regard for his employees.
"On so many occasions Ric shared with me his view that if we can make a difference in this life, we should," said FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin. "Ric believes strongly in making a difference, ever pushing us to think progressively, but in pragmatic ways that are respectful of the past and informed by his extensive industry experience. His dedication to FMI is immeasurable."
"No one has been more of an industry leader in the area of health and wellness than Ric Jurgens," she added. "He does this by what he has instituted at Hy-Vee — with such innovations as having a dietitian in every store — but also in the very way he lives. You cannot know Ric long before you realize how committed he is to health and how much he wants those around him to focus on it.
"I think the industry accolades that most touch Ric’s heart are not the awards and recognitions he has accumulated, but the letters he receives from customers thanking him for things he has done that have made a difference in their lives. And it is not hyperbole to say his commitment to health and wellness is known from the streets of Des Moines all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C."
Most notably during his career, Jurgens was strategically involved in negotiations with government agencies regarding the FMI/Grocery Manufacturers Association joint Facts-Up-Front initiative. In fact, Jurgens was at the 2011 midwinter conference lectern addressing participants when he fielded a call from the White House.
After graduating from Iowa State, he accepted a full-time position at Hy-Vee and swiftly moved up through the ranks, serving as a store director and regional manager before being named president of Perishable Distributors of Iowa, a subsidiary, in 1986. He returned to the parent company in 1995 as senior vice president and chief administrative officer, and in 2001 succeeded Ron Pearson as president of Hy-Vee. In 2003 he was elected CEO, and three years later he succeeded Pearson as chairman.
During his tenure at the helm, Hy-Vee grew to more than 235 stores in eight states and increased sales to over $7 billion. The company also gained a reputation as an industry leader in health and wellness — with such innovations as the NuVal nutritional scoring system and the Hy-Vee Triathlon.