Capping its celebration of the largest attendance level at its annual convention, the National Grocers Association (NGA) recognized outgoing board chairman Rich Niemann, Jr., president and CEO, Niemann Foods Inc., for the leadership he has provided over the past two years while welcoming Bob Ling, CEO of Unified Grocers, as its new board chairman.
Some 3,300 independent supermarket operators, wholesalers, food industry service suppliers and manufacturers attended this year's conference at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, while the expo floor featured more than 300 companies, including representatives from NGA Show Pavilion Partners, the Brewers Association, Center for Advancing Retail Technology (CART), North American Meat Institute, Produce Marketing Association and Retail Solutions Providers Association.
"I think this year's show - our biggest ever – reflects the enthusiasm that is currently taking place in the independent supermarket industry," said NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin. "Whether attendees participated in a workshop track on community leadership or fresh foods, a super session on craft beers or built new trading partner relationships on the show floor, I am confident that attendees are leaving this year’s show with new thoughts and ideas they can implement in their business to grow success,” added Larkin.
Women Grocers of America (WGA) presented the Women of the Year Award to Sheri Satterwhite, EVP, human resources for Brookshire Grocery Co., during the Chairman’s Dinner and Gala. Satterwhite joined Brookshire's in 1994 as a risk coordinator and was promoted to vice president in 1997, becoming the second woman ever to be named a VP for the company. She serves as both a mentor and a visionary leader, who was an early proponent of wellness as a means of improving health and controlling health benefit costs.
Additionally, winners of the annual Student Case Study Competition were recognized at the gala. Winning first place and a grand-prize total of $8,000 was Saint Joseph's University. Arizona State University finished the competition in second place and will be awarded $2,000. Prizes were made possible by the support of The Asparagus Club, a long-time funder of the contest.
Students participating in the Case Study Competition worked with Davis Food & Drug, a four-store operator located in Utah, to develop recommendations for an expanded e-commerce initiative. The competition strives to further the professional development of students from participating university food and retail programs. Nearly 80 students from 13 universities took part in this year's NGA Show activities.
For the fifth consecutive year, exhibitors are donating leftover product to The Shade Tree, a Las Vegas nonprofit.
The 2017 NGA Show will once again be held in conjunction with IGA WorldWide, Feb. 12–15, 2017 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.