Collaboration is figuring prominently in industry awards, a sign of its importance in the food business.
J.K. Symancyk, president, Meijer, Inc., was the recipient of the Grocery Manufacturers Association ’s Industry Collaboration Leadership Award during the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference  in January.
Symancyk, before his current position, had been COO at Meijer, overseeing retail operations, supply chain, manufacturing, merchandising and marketing. Before that, he spent 12 years at Sam’s Club, Bentonville, Ark., in a number of roles.
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In presenting the award, Ken Powell , chairman and CEO, General Mills , and chairman, GMA board of directors, said Symancyk “believes that collaboration means being open and working together on problems to be mutually solved, accomplishments to be mutually achieved, and consumers to be mutually served.”
One GMA member provided an endorsement of Symancyk that says he “sets a tone at Meijer that encourages ‘true and real’ collaboration, where the dialogue is open and fact-based, the actions are in the combined best interests of the category, Meijer and the manufacturer, and the results are measurable and sustainable.”
This member added about Symancyk and Meijer, “They work with suppliers to develop an action plan that has clear timelines and usually executes flawlessly.
In another presentation at Midwinter, Denise Morrison , president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co. , received the FMI William H. Albers Industry Relations Award. Morrison was cited for her contributions to the food retail supply chain.
Gary Chartrand, executive chairman at Acosta Sales & Marketing , said in a video testimonial that Morrison has been able to “connect the dots between her company and FMI and the retailers and wholesalers and the sales agents and just build great relationships.”
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