FMI Honors Industry Leaders at Midwinter Conference

The Food Marketing Institute presented several industry executives with awards during this year’s FMI Midwinter Executive Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

FMI recognized Norman Mayne, CEO of Dorothy Lane Market, with the Robert B. Wegman Award for entrepreneurial excellence. Mayne is only the second individual to receive this newly incepted honor from the food retail industry.

In addition, Alfred Plamann, CEO of Unified Grocers, Inc., received the Herbert Hoover Award for his humanitarian business efforts; and Joe Burke, VP of retail industry affairs at Coca-Cola Refreshments received the William H. Albers Award for his retail industry relations in the supplier community.

Dorothy Lane’s Mayne grew up working in grocery, and he attributes service, innovative merchandising promotion and associate involvement to Dorothy Lane Market’s success as a three-store independent operator that employs an estimated 700 people. The company’s iconic stature in Dayton, Ohio, enjoys a long Mayne family legacy.

When asked about his father, Calvin Mayne, the company’s COO, he said, “My Dad enjoys good food, and we are always talking about it. But more than that, he connects with people. He always wants to learn about others, and wants to make people happy. It's no wonder why he loves the food business, and comes to work every day with passion and energy.”

Danny Wegman, CEO of Wegmans and the 2012 inaugural recipient of the award, said: “Norman is a truly unique merchant. He has a special ability to identify concepts and products that will enthrall customers. Furthermore, he has allowed his people to pursue these same ideals. The result: his stores are masterpieces.”

Mayne is celebrated as a true food connoisseur and world traveler, presenting imaginative insights on the food retail industry over his career across Europe, Japan, Australia and China. His passion for food retailing is second only to his love for his family, as he and his wife Terry have been married for more than 50 years and have six children. In fact, the Dorothy Lane Market lineage goes back to Norman Mayne’s father, Calvin, who started the business as a fruit stand in 1948. After Calvin’s death in 1972, his mother Vera Mayne became president–retiring at the humble age of 100 before her passing at age 105.

“Norman is a family man, and his character mirrors his approach to business,” Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI, recalled on her tenure working with Mayne on FMI’s board of directors. “Norman is deserving of this honor because of the value he places on how ideas are born and nurtured.”

Mayne currently serves on the board of directors of The Food Marketing Institute and has served on The Coca-Cola Company Chairman’s Council and The Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council. Mayne also has taught at The University of Georgia’s Deer Run Fellows Program and was a faculty member of Purdue University’s Supermarket Operators Management Course.

Unified’s Plamann has a long leadership history with his company. Prior to his present position, which he has held since 2007, Plamann was president and CEO of Unified Western Grocers (1999-2007), president and CEO of Certified Grocers of California (1994-1999), and CFO, Certified Grocers of California.

“Every industry has its icons–Al is that icon in the supermarket industry,” said Joe Sheridan, president and COO of Wakefern Food Corp. “He is an innovator–laying the framework for the buying consortium to which Wakefern belongs; he is an unending source of wisdom and insight in an increasingly complex world; and he has set the bar high when it comes to the integrity and principles by which he conducts himself. Al has also created a member-driven culture at Unified that is a model for other cooperatives. He embodies the spirit of the Herbert Hoover Award and is well deserving of it."

Included in his community outreach programs is an internship program for high school graduating seniors that Plamann launched more than 15 years ago. The program provides students with a paying job for the summer that not only is educational but also provides them with an insider’s look at the food industry. Ling noted that all of Unified’s associates look forward to the annual program because it provides a service to young people in a number of communities in which the company conducts business. Over time, the program has grown from Southern California-only to now include Northern California, Portland and Seattle.

Plamann is active with the Weingart Center Association, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to homeless people in the Los Angeles area. Plamann also is active in his support of the Boy Scouts, City of Hope and other community-based groups

Burke began his career with Coca-Cola in 1978. He earned his bachelors and masters degrees with the support of Coca-Cola, and Burke tells stories of rising at 3 a.m. to study for hours before going to work. Retiring this year from the company after more than three loyal decades of leadership and service, he leaves behind a legacy of alliances.

FMI president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin noted how Burke helped to forge the FMI Associate Member Council, which is now called the "Industry Collaboration Council." “This Council continues to evolve and serve as the platform through which our knowledge partners participate in industry research, conferences and events, and joint industry opportunities,” she said. “Joe has served as our co-chair for two years and his imprint forever remains. From a personal perspective, Joe has been a tremendous supporter in recent years as FMI has undergone a transition. I am forever in his debt for the counsel and wisdom he has shared as we have evolved in this organization.”

Coca-Cola Americas’ president Steve Cahillane added, “Joe Burke is a great choice to receive FMI’s William H. Albers Award. In his 34 years at Coca-Cola, Joe has been not only a tremendous leader for our business but also a tireless advocate for food retailers across North America. With his dedication, vision, and commitment to working with partners, he has left a lasting mark on the industry."

In one of his most noted accomplishments, Burke was a co-manager of the Global Retail Forum in Beijing in 2008, marking the Council’s 30th anniversary, and gathering 160 past and present Council members to tackle the subject of environmental sustainability. The event encouraged retailers and wholesalers from five continents to work toward a common goal.

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