National Grocers Association Honors Members for Leadership in Industry Service, Advocacy

October 24, 2023

Retiring AWG CEO David Smith honored at Board of Directors dinner

Washington, D.C. – The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, recognized three of its members this week for their commitment, service and political advocacy on behalf of the grocery industry.

The awards were presented during NGA’s Executive Conference and Public Policy Summit, held Oct. 22-25, 2023, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C.

Mike Stigers, president of Wakefern Food Corp., was presented with NGA’s Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award, given to NGA members that help advance the role and presence of independent grocers and NGA in government and political affairs.

Stigers, who was CEO of Cub Foods when he served as NGA board chairman 2020-22, has devoted much time to advocating on behalf of issues important to independent grocers to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“Mike has played an active role in industry advocacy for many years, devoting countless hours to meeting with policymakers. He understands that advocacy doesn’t end in Washington – it continues at home by building relationships with lawmakers, hosting store visits and showing them the impact of public policy on their home districts,” said Chris Jones, NGA senior vice president of government relations and counsel.

The award was established in 2014 to honor Tom Wenning, retired NGA executive vice president and general counsel, for his years of service to the association and the independent grocery industry.

NGA presented its Industry Service Award to Bob Richardson, director of trade and industry relations for The Clorox Co. This award is presented to an individual or company whose years of service in the food industry have contributed to better working relations and understanding between retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers.

“Bob is a great friend and a strong advocate for the independent supermarket industry,” Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO, said of Richardson, who has served on the NGA Foundation Board of Regents. “The supermarket industry is one built on a solid foundation of relationships, something that Bob not only understands, but has worked hard to foster and instill in his colleagues on during his nearly 25-year career at Clorox.”

Additionally, NGA honored David Smith, who is retiring at the end of 2023 as the president and CEO of Associated Wholesale Grocers.  During the Board of Directors dinner, David was presented with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in his honor. In addition, U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) recorded a tribute to Smith into the permanent record of the Senate honoring David’s legacy at AWG and his substantial contributions to the food industry.

“David has been one of our strongest champions for addressing the lack of antitrust enforcement, which has harmed independent retailers, suppliers and communities across the country,” Ferrara said. “David is authentic, passionate and fiercely protective of the independent grocer, and he has used those qualities to help advance so many important initiatives for NGA and the industry.  Our industry owes him a debt of gratitude as he transitions into a well-deserved retirement.”