NGA Names Board Members, Presents Service Award
The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, has appointed Amy Kirtland, EVP independents, fresh and exclusive brands at KeHE Distributors, and Lori Raya, chief merchandising and marketing officer at SpartanNash, to fill vacancies on its board of directors.
Kirtland’s areas of expertise encompass bakery, culinary, cheese and bulk business. Before joining Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE, Kirtland was executive director of Unified Grocers’ Naturally division, where she focused on natural and organic categories in independent grocery stores.
Raya oversees the development and execution of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash’s merchandising and marketing strategy, aligning those efforts with the company’s overall business strategy. She’s also responsible for studying consumer trends and sales performance and for boosting sales and market share.
She began her career in grocery with Safeway, now part of Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, starting out as a store associate, and then rising through the ranks to become store manager, district manager, VP of retail operations, group VP of strategic initiatives, and, eventually the first female divisional president in Vons’ history in 2012. In 2015, she became division president for the merged Albertsons/Safeway company. Two years later, Raya was honored as the 2017 Top Women in Grocery Trailblazer by Progressive Grocer and Network of Executive Women.
NGA’s board of directors unanimously approved the appointments during the organization’s most recent meeting on Nov. 7.
“We are excited to welcome Amy and Lori to NGA’s board of directors,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based association. “Both have experience in the independent supermarket industry, which will be valuable as we continue to provide premier benefits to our members.”
NGA Service Award
Additionally, NGA has presented its Industry Service Leadership Award to Dave Jones, who recently retired from Battle Creek, Mich.-based Kellogg Co. after 33 years. Jones began his career with Kellogg in 1986 and in 2009 became its VP of industry initiatives.
“Dave has always had a strong passion for independent grocers, ensuring a vibrant marketplace for retailers and consumers,” noted Ferrara. “His legacy will live on at NGA through his work on NGA’s Creative Choice Awards Program, which he helped cultivate over the years. He and his wife, Mari, have also supported the Women Grocers of America for many years, supporting our industry’s female leaders. We are pleased to honor Dave for his long career and dedication to the independent supermarket industry.”
Jones received his award on Nov. 7 during the NGA and Retailer Owned Foods Distributors & Associates (ROFDA) Fall Meetings at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The meetings brought together senior decision-makers and business leaders from across the supermarket industry in a business-to-business meetings, education sessions and networking opportunities for attendees to discuss strategies to spur profitability and growth.
Leftover product from participating companies went to BEAM, a community-based organization serving low-income residents in the beach communities of Jacksonville, Fla.
SpartanNash’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to a diverse group of independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges, as well as fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company serves customer locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Bahrain, Djibouti and Egypt, and operates 160 supermarkets, mainly under the Family Fare Supermarkets, Martin’s Super Markets, D&W Fresh Market, VG's Grocery, Dan’s Supermarket, and Family Fresh Market banners. Additionally, through its MDV military division, SpartanNash is a leading distributor of grocery products to U.S. military commissaries. The company is No. 33 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.