Albers, Wegman and Rabb recipients honored
MIAMI – The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) on Saturday recognized three executives at its Midwinter Executive Conference here. According to FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin, who presented the awards, the honorees share a legacy of achievement in trade relations, entrepreneurial spirit and statesmanship.
“Our industry is rooted in a commitment to people and communities,” Sarasin said. “It shines through the food, the service and the support we provide. Visionaries who blazed new trails in their day established a noble legacy — a legacy that thrives and continues in the work of today’s esteemed industry leaders.”
Mondelēz International chairman Irene Rosenfeld was presented with the William H. Albers Award, which recognizes a leader committed to trade relations and consumer service. Rosenfeld is known for her staff-building skills and her determination, FMI said, adding that she has led her teams to breathe new life into established brands and create the world’s greatest snacking company.
Oscar Gonzalez, co-president and COO at Northgate Gonzalez Markets, was honored with the Robert B. Wegman Award, which since 2012 has been given in recognition of innovation and imaginative strategies. Gonzalez is co-owner of Northgate Gonzalez Markets, the largest chain of Mexican supermarkets in the U.S. The chain has developed its own high-quality brands, and has a track record of innovation in areas ranging from technology to design and construction. Under Gonzalez’s leadership, the company has created programs focused on education, healthy eating options and community empowerment.
FMI awarded this year’s Sidney R. Rabb Award to Jerry Garland, the former president and CEO of Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. Garland’s work reflects the commitment to the consumer, community and the industry that this award is meant to celebrate, according to FMI, which said that throughout his career, Garland has built relationships among trading partners and elected officials, advocating for independent supermarket operators along the way.
“I have 633 bosses — all retailers,” Garland once said during his tenure at Associated Wholesale Grocers. His commitment to shared success led to AWG’s increased revenue, decreased operating expenses, and funds paid back to member stores and their communities.
Garland also served as FMI’s board chairman during one of the most regulatory-laden times in the industry’s history, and most notably worked with the organization to navigate the biggest change to the food safety system in 70 years, the Food Safety Modernization Act, FMI said.