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    National Cooperative Grocers Association Names New Directors

    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dave Blackburn has been named director of purchasing and Kelly Smith the new director of marketing and communications for the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) here.

    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dave Blackburn has been named director of purchasing and Kelly Smith the new director of marketing and communications for the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) here.

    Blackburn and Smith will assume their new roles with NCGA on March 1.

    "Dave has just the right skills and background to take our purchasing programs to the next level of effectiveness," said Robynn Shrader, NCGA's c.e.o. "He knows our operations well, and is in tune with our members' needs, which will enable him to make an immediate impact."

    Blackburn, who has most recently served as the organization's regional development director and interim purchasing director, has worked for NCGA and its regional predecessor, the Cooperative Grocers Association of the Northeast (CGANE), in roles ranging from executive director to development director and interim purchasing director since 2001. He was the first executive director of CGANE, one of the founding sponsors of the National Co-op Advantage promotional program, and supported NCGA's initiative to reorganize the cooperative grocers association network in 2003 through 2004.

    Kelly Smith, who has more than 10 years experience in consumer products marketing, has held brand management positions with Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Earthgrains, Inc., and most recently, Alliant Energy. She holds a bachelor's degree in international business and economics from Cornell College, and a master's degree in business administration, specializing in marketing, from the University of Iowa.

    Founded in 1999, NCGA is a member-owned cooperative with 103 independent food co-op members nationwide. It strives to provide the vision, leadership and systems to prominently position a virtual chain of food co-ops within the natural foods industry. NCGA members participate in the Cooperative Advantage Program, which provides coordinated ad support, temporary price reductions, demo support, consumer education and a variety of marketing tools.

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