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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has presented awards to standout industry members during its Midwinter Executive Conference in Phoenix. Retail veteran Susan Mayo received the 2011 Ester Peterson Award honoring a lifetime of dedicated service to consumers, Wakefern Food Corp.’s Dean Janeway received the Herbert Hoover Award for professional excellence in serving the food retail and wholesale industry, and Fred Ball of Balls Food Stores received the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Sidney R. Rabb Award for exceptional service to the community and strong advocacy on behalf of the supermarket industry.
The 14th recipient of the Esther Peterson Award Mayo, chief marketing officer for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the president and owner of Susan T. Mayo Consulting, LLC, retired from Virginia Beach, Va.-based Farm Fresh Supermarkets in 2010, where her last role was VP of consumer affairs and public relations. She began her career advocating on behalf of supermarket customers in 1977 as Farm Fresh director of consumer affairs, in which capacity she provided information to consumers, including nutrition and wellness information, food safety guidance and hints on how to save money on groceries. Her role at Farm Fresh later expanded to encompass the development and execution of high impact-communications strategies and heading a community relations team that dealt with more than 20,000 customer inquiries annually.
For the benefit of the wider community, Mayo founded the Farm Fresh Charitable Foundation, which helped raise funds for many nonprofits in the Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Va., areas; oversaw the largest charity golf tournament in the Mid-Atlantic region; and created a number of community service programs, among them children’s store tours, cooking classes, food drives and educational partnerships. Mayo has also been a member of the FMI Consumer Affairs Committee and served as its chairman.
The award is named for Esther Peterson, who was the first consumer advisor at Giant Food, LLC, and later was the inaugural special assistant to the president for consumer affairs when the position was created during the Johnson Administration. She later held the same post under President Carter. Previous recipients of the honor include Giant Food VP of consumer affairs Odonna Matthews, Wegmans Food Markets SVP of consumer affairs Mary Ellen Burris and Giant Food chairman Israel Cohen.
The 56th person to receive the Herbert Hoover Award, Dean Janeway, president and COO of Keasbey, N.J.-based retail cooperative Wakefern, has been with the company since 1966, when he joined as a junior accountant in the frozen food division. Rising steadily through the ranks, he has held such posts as VP of the frozen food and dairy-deli divisions, group VP and EVP, taking on his current role in 1995.
Credited with bringing innovation and creativity to the food distribution industry, Janeway currently serves on the board of directors of Insure-Rite Ltd., and has been a member of the board and past president of both the Eastern Frosted Foods Association and the Eastern Dairy-Deli Association. He also served two terms on the board of directors of the National Grocers Association, including two years as its chairman. In 2009 by the Special Olympics of New Jersey honored Janeway for his longtime support for the program. He serves on the board of directors of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Health Foundation and is chairman of the finance committee.
The FMI introduced the Herbert Hoover Award in 1961 in tribute to the industry and government campaigns led by the onetime U.S. president to deliver food relief to victims of the Boxer Rebellion, World War I and Great Depression.
Sidney R. Raab Award recipient Fred Ball, chairman of Kansas City, Kan.-based Balls Food Stores, has been in the grocery business since the age of 10, when his job was to keep the potato bin filled at his family’s store. Becoming a store manager shortly after graduating from Kansas University, Ball eventually rose to the position of Balls Food Stores president in the mid-1960s. His son David now leads the company.
During a period of high inflation levels in the 1970s, Ball pioneered the bare-bones warehouse market format featuring the lowest possible prices, which was immediately successful. Ball’s industry affiliations include serving on the FMI board of directors from 1995 to 2005, playing an key role in supporting the organization’s independent operator initiatives, and being chairman of Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) for 28 years, during which time sales ballooned from $1 billion per year to more than $5 billion a year.
For more than three decades, Balls Food Stores has supported KVC Behavioral HealthCare, a private, not-for-profit organization providing health care, education, and social services to at-risk children and their families in Kansas. To date, the company has raised more than $3 million for KVC and other children’s charities in the metropolitan Kansas City area.
The award’s namesake pioneered the consumer- and community-driven role of the supermarket as chief executive of the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.
The FMI Midwinter Executive Conference is an annual education and networking event for top executives of retail, wholesale and supplier companies, focusing on major challenges and opportunities for the food industry.