Iowa Grocery Industry Assn. Inducts Five into Hall of Fame

Denny Dietrich, president of Mount Vernon, Iowa-based Gary’s Foods, was honored last week by the Iowa Grocery Industry Association’s (IGIA) as its 2013 Retailer of the Year.

Dietrich was honored before more than 350 guests in attendance at IGIA’s 20th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner at the Sheraton in West Des Moines. The Hall of Fame Selection Committee reviewed nominations and made a final selection based upon the nominee’s character, work ethic and commitment to his or her store, employees and the community.

IGIA produced a video tribute to Dietrich, which can be seen here.

Dietrich is active in the community of Mount Vernon, where he owns and operates Gary’s Foods. “His store is a source of pride and a beacon of service in Mount Vernon, serving its residents and those from surrounding communities,” said IGIA President Michelle Hurd. “And, you simply can’t put a price tag on the value of his service to the grocery industry and our board in particular. Few things will make me happier than seeing Denny receive this award at our Hall of Fame Dinner in November. He is a man of principle and a great representative for our industry.”

Nominated by his peers, Dietrich has served 10 consecutive years on the IGIA board of directors, from 2003 to present. During his time on the board, he has served or chaired the following committees: Hall of Fame, GroPAC, Government Relations, Grocers Care Day and the Build with Bags Task Force. Dietrich has taken an active role in ensuring that legislators at the state and national levels understand the effects of key legislation on the grocery industry and is a leader among independent retailers in Iowa.

Rose Mitchell, Hy-Vee’s recently retired SVP of governmental affairs, was also honored as IGIA’s 2013 Legislative Leader. A former English teacher who worked part-time jobs to supplement her teacher’s salary, Mitchell joined Hy-Vee at its Ingersoll store in Des Moines in 1978 and went on to enjoy a productive 35-year career in the grocery industry that brought her face-to-face with a number of prominent politicians as she plotted a course through uncharted waters.

“Rose has been a tireless advocate for the grocery industry,” said Hurd. “It’s amazing to walk into any room in the capitol with Rose and see the tremendous respect everyone has for her, and the value they place on her knowledge and experience. It is truly an honor to present her with this year’s Legislative Leadership Award.”

From running the front end at the Ingersoll store, Mitchell applied to become the first trainer in the company. One job morphed into the next at Hy-Vee as Mitchell progressed from training supervisor to director of training, to AVP of training and onward to VP of education and training, making her the first female officer at Hy-Vee. Many other firsts followed as she became the first woman named to the Hy-Vee board of directors in its 75-year history in 1995. In 1996, Mitchell was promoted to VP of education and governmental affairs, which was followed by a promotion to SVP of education and governmental affairs in 2005.

In 2008, she joined the executive committee and became a permanent member of the Hy-Vee board. Recently retired, Mitchell assumed her most recent responsibilities as SVP of governmental affairs in 2010.

Also honored at the event with IGIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award was Phil Yurgae, recently retired president and CEO of Grimes, Iowa-based Mueller-Yurgae Associates, a Midwest food brokerage company.

Gary Munson, a sales manager for Kellogg USA, captured the 2013 IGIA Volunteer of the Year Award. Munson, who lives in Monroe, Iowa, a town of 1,800, says that volunteerism and community involvement are a way of life in small-town Iowa. “We just call it being a good neighbor,” said Munson. “There’s a lot of community pride in a small town, and people come together to get things done.”

“Gary is a truly good person and a key contributor to the grocery industry,” noted Hurd. “His involvement makes us a stronger association.”

Scott Stocker, CEO of Shullsburg Creamery, also accepted the 2013 Supplier of the Year Award. Shullsburg employs more than 120 people and has 1,500 items on the warehouse shelves at all times.

The Des Moines-based IGIA represents chain and independent supermarkets, convenience stores, mass merchandisers, wholesalers, brokers, manufacturers and distributors throughout the state. Founded in 1899, IGIA has long served as a resource to its members through education, legislative, partnership and philanthropic programs.

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