Industry Giants Honored at FMI Future Leaders eXperience

During its Future Leaders eXperience professional development event, taking place June 11-13 at Chicago's McCormick Place, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) presented awards to several retail executives who have made their mark on the industry.

Debbie and Rudy Dory, of Newport Avenue Market in Bend, Ore., received the Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Noted Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI: “Rudy and Debbie are as colorful as the vision they have for their community, and they have kept their shoppers in Bend, Ore., guessing since 1991. They are a small operation, but mighty in spirit, and they embolden their industry peers to push boundaries and delight consumers in inventive ways.” Sarasin went on to laud the business’ creative appeal, hyper-focus on local products, and willingness to adopt on-trend technology, as well as its strides in the areas of equal wages and environmental stewardship.

For two decades of government relations advocacy for FMI and the food retail industry on Capitol Hill in both Washington, D.C., and Montgomery, Ala., Peter V. “Greg” Gregerson, president and CEO of Gadsden, Ala.-based Gregerson’s Food and Pharmacy Inc., a three-store operation, received FMI’s Glen P. Woodard Award for Public Affairs.

FMI Chief Public Policy Officer and SVP, Government Relations Jennifer Hatcher noted that Gergerson, who  has also served as as vice chairman of FMI public affairs on the organization’s board of directors, "is devoted to critical industry issues such as swipe fee reform, most evident in his willingness to come back to Washington for a special plea to then Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) to preserve the 2010 debit reforms, which we argue have increased competition, fostered increased security and helped to contain costs.”

Michael R. Taylor received the 2017 Esther Peterson Award for Consumer Service for his career-long support the right of every consumer to safe, nutritious, affordable food. Taylor began his public service as a staff lawyer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, later became the the agency’s deputy commissioner for policy and, most recently, was its first deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

He was also the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, leading the overhaul of the department’s meat safety program following the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. Taylor also headed the implementation of the food safety reforms mandated by Congress in the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA).