NGA Awards

NGA invites you to nominate yourself or another exemplary individual within the independent supermarket industry.  Below is a list of all awards presented by NGA throughout the year. To make a nomination or if you have any questions, please contact Laura Strange at

Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award

The Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, presented by Mondelēz International, as a way to highlight and regard retailers that have shown the most tangible example of persistence, vision, and creative entrepreneurship throughout the past year. The award is one of the most prestigious honors awarded to independent grocers.

2023: Jeff Strack, Strack & Van Til
2022: Michael Needler Jr., Fresh Encounter, Inc.
2021: Cheryl Sommer, Kaune's Neighborhood Market
2020: Rudy Dory, Newport Ave. Market
2019: Trygve (Trig) Solberg of T.A. Solberg Company, Inc.
2018: Chris Coborn, Coborn’s Inc.

2017: Rich Niemann, Jr., Niemann Foods, Inc.
2016: Roger Lowe, Sr., Lowe’s Market
2015: Roger Collins, Harp’s Food Stores
2014: Kevin Doris, Gerland Corporation
2013: Mike Needler, Fresh Encounter, Inc.
2012: Archie McGregor, Archie’s IGA
2011: Keith Johanneson, Johanneson’s, Inc.
2010: Jeff Brown, Brown’s Super Stores, Inc.
2009: Mike Provenzano, Pro’s Ranch Markets

Peter J. Larkin Award

The National Grocers Association Peter J. Larkin Award for Community Service was established at the 2019 NGA Show in San Diego in honor of NGA’s former President and CEO, Peter Larkin. The award is presented at the annual NGA show.

2023: Ideal Market
2022: Cub Foods
2021: The Independent Grocery Industry
2020: Associated Grocers New England (AGNE)

The WGA Woman of the Year Award

WGA’s prestigious Woman of the Year Award was established in 1996 to give visible support and recognition to exceptional women in the grocery industry.

2023: Gwen Christon, Isom IGA
2022: Suzanne Schmitz, Save A Lot
2021: Pamela Coy, Viking Village Foods
2020: Jennifer Graff, Columbiana Foods/Giant Eagle
2019: Jan Gee, Washington Food Industry Association
2018: Kristi Magnuson Nelson, Hugo’s Family Marketplace
2017: Cindy Sorensen, Midwest Dairy Association
2016: Sheri Satterwhite, Brookshire Grocery Company
2015: Barbara Wiest, IGA, Inc. 

2014: Tammy Bailey, Bailey’s IGA
2013: Debbie Dory,  Newport Avenue Market 
2012: Barbara Thomas, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.
2011: Stephanie Skylar,  Chief Super Markets, Inc.
2010: Kathy Sweidel-Caton, Gerland Corporation 
2009: Pamela Murray, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.
2008: Mary Ellen Gowin,  Wakefern Food Corp.
2007: Tessa Greenspan, Sappington Int’l Farmers Market  
2006: Teresa Baker, Baker’s Foods 

2005: Lee Ann James, E.W. James & Sons Supermarket 
2004: Lana Amodei, Carcieri’s Supermarket
2003: Carole F. Bitter, Ph.D., Friedman’s Supermarkets 
2002: Mary Anne Kowalski,  Kowalski’s Markets 
2001: Penny Pederson, Conrad’s Sentry 
2000: Dale Danahy, Colella’s Supermarket 
1999: Neva Lamb, Lamb's Thriftway
1998: Sue Richardson, Richardson's Piggly Wiggly 
1997: Ruby Wyatt, Wyatt's Supermarket, Inc.
1996: Mary Lucas, Kountry Korner 

Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award

Established in 2014 to honor Tom Wenning for his 40 years of service to NGA and the independent supermarket industry. This award, established in Tom’s name, is presented to an NGA member who helps advance the role and presence of the independent grocer and NGA in government and political affairs.

2022: Kim & Karen Eskew, Harps Food Stores
2021: Gerry Kettler, Niemann Foods 
2017: Roger Collins, Harps Food Stores
2016: Chris Coborn, Coborn’s, Inc.
2015: Trig Solberg, T.A. Solberg Co.
2014: Thomas F. Wenning, National Grocers Association

Champion of Independent Grocers Award

The Champion of Independent Grocers Award was initiated in 2014 to honor Members of Congress who champion issues important to NGA and the independent supermarket industry.

2016: U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
U.S. Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI)
U.S. Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA)


2015: U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH)
U.S. Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI)

2014: U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)
U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR)
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
U.S. Congressman Todd Young (R-IN)

Association Leadership Award

NGA’s Association Leadership Award is presented to a state association executive who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and support of the independent grocer.

2020: Kristin Mullins, Ohio Grocers Association
2018: Ron Fong, California Grocers Association
2017: Kathy Kuzava, Georgia Food Industry Association
2016: Tom Woodmansee, Retired – North Dakota Grocers Association
2015: Stan Sorkin, Connecticut Food Association
2014: Brandon Scholz, Wisconsin Grocers Association
2013: Jan Gee, Washington Food Industry Association
2012: John Dumais, New Hampshire Grocers Association
2012: Dan Shaul, Missouri Grocers Association
2011: Jim Rodgers, Food Industry Alliance of New York

Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award

The Clarence G. Adamy Great American Award is presented to an individual or a company whose leadership in the food industry best exemplifies active and effective participation in public affairs as a citizen and industry representative. Public affairs participation is a broad concept reflecting service to people as a whole or to the community at large. Service may include, but is not limited to, charitable, political, educational, or other activities establishing exemplary leadership on behalf of the food industry.

2022: David Smith, Associated Wholesale Grocers
2021: Jimmy Wright, Wright's Market
2019: Rudy Dory, Newport Avenue Market
2018: Jim Brown, Doc’s Food Stores, Inc.
2017: Kim Eskew, Harps Food Stores
2015: Jason Cooper, Brookshire Grocery Co.
2015: Lorelei Mottese, Wakefern Food Corp.
2014: Trig Solberg, T.A. Solberg Co.
2013: Kevin Doris, Gerland Corporation
2009: Gary Phillips, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
2006: Thomas S. Haggai, IGA, Inc.
2005: Fred Ball, Balls Food Stores
2002: Jack Smith, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc.
2001: George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
2001: Nick D’Agostino, Jr., D’Agostino’s Supermarkets, Inc.

1995: Hillar C. Moore, Jr., Associated Grocers, Inc.
1994: Jack. G. Kemp, 9th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
1993: Peter Gregerson, Sr., Gregerson’s Foods, Inc.
1993: Elden Roscher, Food Industry Association Executives
1992: Walt Macey, Macey’s Food Store
1991: James L. Baska, Associated Wholesale Grocers 
1990: George W. Koch, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart

1989: Stephen B. Barlow, Sr., Barlow Foods
1988: James Stoll, Bag N Save Foods
1987: Walter Churchill, Churchill’s Super Markets, Inc.
1985: Leonard Starr, Jr., Richfood, Inc.
1984: Eugene Walters, Farm Fresh Supermarkets
1983: Henry J. Bison, Jr., National Association of Retail Grocers
1982: Louis Fox, Associated Wholesale Grocers
1982: Clarence G. (“Clancy”) Adamy, National Association of Food Chains

Industry Service Award

The NGA Industry Service Award is awarded 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.

2023: Rick Brindle, Mondelez International
2022: Mike Ridenour, UNFI
2021: Denny Belcastro, Kimberly-Clark
2019: Dave Jones, The Kellogg Company
2016: Jerry Garland, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
2016: Janel Haugarth, SUPERVALU
2015: Steve Holdiman, Mondelēz International
2014: J.H. Campbell, Associated Gocers Inc.
2013: Joe Burke, Coca-Cola
2011: Dean Janeway, Wakefern Corporation
2010: Charles Pilliter, Trader Joe’s Inc.
2009: Russ Hockin, Kellogg Company
2009: Gary Phillips, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
2008: Ronald Bloch, Kalik Lewin
2004: Norman Turcotte, Association Grocers of New England
2004: Bobby Ukrop, Ukrop’s Super Markets, Inc.
2003: Melvyn Williams, Unilever BestFoods, Inc.

2002: Philip F. Pellegrino, Kraft Foods, Inc.
2001: Benny Cooper, Affiliated Foods, Inc.
2000: Thomas S. Haggai, IGA, Inc.
1999: John S. (Steve) Herbison, URM Stores, Inc.
1999: Paul M. Duffly, PepsiCo, Inc.
1998: William G. Reitz, Scott’s Food Stores, Inc.
1997: Nicholas J. D’Agostino, Jr., D’Agostino’s
1996: Darold Anerson, Affiliated Food Stores
1995: Don Scott, Scotts Food Stores, Inc.
1994: Peter V. Gregerson, Sr., Gregerson’s Foods, Inc.
1993: James Armstead, Financial West Foods’ Inc.
1992: Marsh H. Blackburn, Sales Force Companies, Inc.

1991: J. Byron Felter, Quaker Oats Company
1990: Dr. Wendell G. Earle, Cornell University
1989: Gordon McGovern, Campbell Soup Company
1988: Eugene Walters, Farm Fresh Supermarkets
1987: David Silverberg, Wakefern Food Corp.
1986: Dick Katzenbach, Fleming Foods Company
1985: Gerald E. Peck, National-American Wholesale Grocery Association
1984: C. James McNutt, Campbell Soup Company
1983: Paul Kelly, Grocery Manufacturers of America

Spirit of America Award

The Spirit of America Award was initiated in 1982 to honor individuals who have provided leadership in the areas of community service and government relations on behalf of the food distribution industry. The award is our way of saying thanks to those individuals who have worked to help establish a free and independent food distribution system. NGA presents the award to recognize key industry and community leaders for their active involvement and participation in community and public affairs.

Over the years, the NGA Spirit of America award has come a prominent and memorable acknowledgment of the dedication of over 550 recipients, including past Presidents George Bush and Gerald Ford, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Colin Powell and former Speaker of the House Tom Foley.

Recipients listed below received the Spirit of America Award between 2014 through 2019. For a complete list of Spirit of America Award winners please contact NGA.

2021: Jabo Waggoner, Alabama State Senator

2020: Stephanie Becker, Associated Wholesale Grocers

2019: David Mitchell, Mitchell Grocery Corp.
The Honorable Mike Parson, Missouri Governor
Stuart Trachy, New Hampshire Grocers Association
           Wettlin Treppendahl, Treppendahl’s Super Foods  
          Senator Shawn Vedaa, North Dakota State Senate

2018: Jim Lacourse, DeMoulas/Market Basket
U.S. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5)
U.S. Congressman Jason Smith (MO-8)
          John Weisgerber, ND Milk Marketing Board

2017: Joe Williams, Retired-Texas Retailers Association
Charles M. Arlinghaus, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Administrative Services Agency
Lonnie Eggers, Sr., No Frills Supermarkets

2016: Martin Arter, Affiliated Foods Midwest
Gerry Kettler, Niemann Foods, Inc.
Jack Greer, Sr., Autry Green & Sons, Inc.
Leon Merck, Hugo’s
U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

2015: WA State Representative JT Wilcox
Ilene Beattie, Coco Mart, Inc.
Darryl Fitzgerald, HAC, Inc.
Ron Graff Jr., Columbiana Foods, Inc.
Bruce Hail, Oklahoma Grocers Association
Tim Henderson, Henderson IGA Market
Randy Jaeger, Marketplace Foods

2014: Richard Cosaert, Nebraska Grocery Industry Association
Greg Gregerson, Presented by the Alabama Grocers Association
U.S. Congressman Bob Latta (OH-5)
Jim Rodgers, Food Industry Alliance of New York