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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has bestowed the Herbert Hoover Award on Richard Parkinson, former president and CEO of Associated Food Stores Inc., for his humanitarian service to the food retail and wholesale industry. The award was given at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Parkinson began at Associated Food Stores, a Salt Lake City-based network of independent operators across the United States, as director of store development and retail finance in 1984, moving to VP, EVP, and finally president and CEO in 1994. He retired at the end of 2011. During his time at the company, Parkinson strove to build unity across all of the network’s stores.
“Rich is a dedicated, open-minded and well-respected influencer who often shaped strategy in retailer share groups at FMI,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based trade organization. “Rich uses his voice selectively, but when he does, it reverberates throughout the industry.”
To illustrate this commitment to his associates, Parkinson made a point of visiting all 600 independently owned Associated Food Stores on his motorcycle. The tour was a way to foster employee relationships and learn about operations, while maintaining a close bond between wholesaler and retailer.
Parkinson’s dedication is evident through his accomplishments in the retail food industry, including the purchase of 23 corporately owned stores. In addition to growing the brand, he oversaw the completion of one of the West’s largest, most efficient warehouse facilities, the 1-million-square-foot Farr West distribution center. Despite such impressive growth, Parkinson always emphasized the importance of localization and focus on the communities in which his stores serve.