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Samuel Randolph “Randy” Roberts, the former director of government relations at Publix, was honored posthumously by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) with the Glen P. Woodard, Jr., Public Affairs Award, in recognition of Roberts’ leadership in helping the supermarket industry address important government issues. Roberts’ widow, Sara, accepted the award at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference in Orlando, Fla. Additionally, Donald R. “Don” Knauss, chairman of the board and CEO of the Clorox Co., received the FMI William H. Albers Industry Relations Award at the conference for his excellence in trading partner relations and consumer and community service.
“Randy graced the industry with his presence for just six years as the director of government relations at Publix. Yet, his impact was huge,” said FMI president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “Working with lawmakers and competing interests, Randy became a consummate bridge-builder, always seeking common ground. The industry has lost one of its most passionate and effective advocates. Yet, the industry has gained a sterling example of the right way to represent the industry, balance work and life, and benefit communities.”
Roberts, the 15th recipient of the Woodard Award, which is named for Glen Woodard of Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. and FMI, spent much of his time recruiting political candidates who understood business. He also was a key figure in the formation of the Central Florida Business Leadership Institute, which instructs pro-business political candidates on how to run for office.
“Don is known for his down-to-earth leadership style,” noted Sarasin of Knauss. “The guiding principle he lives by is to take care of his people first. He succeeds by looking out for the best interests of his team and by connecting with his customers and employees around the globe.”
Knauss began his business career as a brand manager in the paper products division at Procter & Gamble, and also held positions in the Frito-Lay and Tropicana divisions of PepsiCo, Inc. Before heading up Clorox, he spent 12 years with the Coca-Cola Co., including managing Coca-Cola’s businesses in 10 southern African countries, and holding such positions as president and CEO of the Minute Maid Company and president and CEO of Coca-Cola North America. Knauss’ commitment to workplace equality and diversity is of long standing: In 2006, he received the Jackie Robinson Foundation ROBIE Award for promoting and expanding opportunities for minorities in the corporate world.
The William H. Albers Award, which debuted in 1955, is named for the first chairman of the Super Market Institute, one of FMI’s predecessor organizations. Knauss is the 66th recipient of the award.