LAS VEGAS — The National Grocers Association gave its prestigious Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award to Kevin Doris, chairman and chief executive officer of Gerland’s Corp., Houston, during the closing banquet last week at its 30th annual show here.
Peter J. Larkin, NGA president and CEO, said the award is presented “to individuals whose leadership best exemplifies involvement in public affairs as a citizen or an industry representative.”
According to Larkin, “Kevin Doris has had a tremendous positive impact on NGA’s government affairs program [because] he recognized that the independent grocers’ need for a strong voice in Washington must be matched with a commitment by its members to get involved and engage with their elected officials.”
Doris was an early supporter of NGA’s Grocers Political Action Committee and is a longtime supporter of the association’s Campaign to Preserve Competition, Consumer Choice and a Democratic Workplace, Larkin said.
“Whether traveling to Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress or to Austin, Texas, to meet with his state legislators, he remains focused on the important role grocers play by educating elected officials on the implications legislation and regulation have on the grocery industry,” Larkin continued.
Doris, who did not know he would receive the award, said he was “the most surprised person in the room,” adding that he was sorry his company had not become an NGA member sooner. “I’m so proud NGA has moved to the high level it has, and I know it will go even higher in the future,” he said.
Doris is one of only 21 winners of the Great American Award since 1982. The award, last presented in 2009, is named in honor of Adamy, who was a longtime president of the National Association of Food Chains prior to the formation of Food Marketing Institute.
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NGA also honored Joe Burke, vice president, retail industry affairs, for Coca-Cola Refreshments, with its Industry Service Award for his leadership of the North America Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council, which NGA said has fostered meaningful and cutting edge innovations, and also for his work with NGA’s Trading Partner Advisory Council. Burke said he plans to retire shortly.
The Women Grocers of America also presented three awards:
• The Woman of the Year Award to Debbie Dory, owner of Newport Avenue Market, Bend, Ore., for her work establishing “extraordinary customer service” at her store, and also for co-founding the Hunger Prevention Coalition, which has raised $429,000 over the years at the single-store operation.
• The Humanitarian Award to Kathleen DiChiara, president and chief executive officer of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, for her work feeding the hungry.
• The Legend Award to Frances “Chi Chi” Puhl, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Associated Wholesale Grocers, Kansas City, Kan., for “her vital contributions to the growth of AWG.”
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