ORLANDO, Fla. — Food Marketing Institute honored Steven C. Smith, chief executive officer of K-VA-T Foods , with its highest honor, the Sidney R. Raab Award, at FMI’s annual Midwinter Executive Conference here.
The Raab Award, named for the former Stop & Shop executive, recognizes excellence in serving the consumer, the community and the industry.
Smith started in the grocery industry as a child, learning from his father Jack Smith who opened his first Piggly Wiggly store in 1955. Throughout Smith’s 26 years of employment, his dedication and knowledge of store operations grew with the company, which now includes 93 Food City supermarkets and 11 Super Dollar Discount Foods stores.
Smith’s understanding of the industry is apparent in his range of titles at K-VA-T, which before president and CEO included district manager, director of meat operations, director of advertising, store operations divisional vice president, executive vice president of store operations and chief operating officer. Smith is also the only executive to serve as chairman on both FMI’s and National Grocers Association’s board of directors.
Smith and Food City support organizations such as Muscular Dystrophy, Boy Scouts, United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, American Cancer Society, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Santa Pals, YWCA, Boys & Girls Clubs and American Diabetes Association.
One of Smith’s long-time associates, Israel Quinn, stated, “Steve Smith believes that as a good corporate citizen, we have a responsibility to leave our community a better place than we found it. Steve Smith’s commitment to our region is unsurpassed.”
In addition, FMI said Danny Wegman was the inaugural recipient of the Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, and Richard Parkinson was the recipient of the association’s annual Herbert Hoover Award recognizing humanitarian service in the food retail industry. Both awards were also presented at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference.
Danny Wegman, CEO of Wegmans Food Markets, is the son of Robert B. Wegman, whose half-century leadership of Wegmans was marked by a creative retail savvy that grew their family grocery business into one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S., FMI said. Since joining the company in 1964 as a store manager, Danny Wegman helped mold the organization into one of the top-ranking companies to work for, recognized by Fortune magazine for the past 15 years. Under Wegman’s leadership, the nearly 100-year-old privately owned brand has become a $6.2 billion family-friendly franchise.
Parkinson, the former president and CEO of Associated Food Stores, Salt Lake City, was honored for humanitarian service. FMI said AFS is best known for its camaraderie of independent operators across the U.S. “Parkinson’s mantra to his success includes a critical component: People,” FMI said. “His commitment to fostering growth was not only with the customers in the stores, but also with the associates who run them. Parkinson worked toward building company unity across all the Associated Food Stores.”
In concert with his commitment to his associates, Parkinson made a point to visit all of the 600 independently owned stores on his motorcycle. This tour throughout the U.S. was a way to foster employee relationships and learn about operations, keeping a close bond between wholesaler and retailer.