NGA Announces 2021 Board of Directors

The National Grocers Association (NGA) announced its newly elected board of directors. Eight individuals, by recommendation of the NGA Board nominating committee and subsequent vote by the membership, and one appointed individual will join these re-elected board members to serve on the 2021 NGA Board of Directors.

Among retailers, the new board members are Melissa Buonadonna-Hernandez, president, Buonadonna ShopRite; Carlos Castro, president, Todos Supermarket; and Jimmy Nichols, chief operations officer, Houchens Industries.

The two newly elected wholesalers are Manard Lagasse, president/CEO, Associated Grocers Inc., and Michele Azar, president, Merchant Distributors Inc.

Other newly elected board members include Robert Graybill, president, and CEO, FMS Solutions; Rick Brindle, vice president, industry development, Mondelez International; Mike Ridenour, head of industry relations and sales operations, The Kraft Heinz Co.; and Kathy Kuzava, president, Georgia Food Industry Association. Scott Widtfelt, EVP commercial, natural, and independents KeHE Distributors was appointed to fill a vacancy.

The New Members of the Board of Directors

Re-elected board members include Jennifer Bosma, Harvest Market; Neil Greenstein, Brookdale ShopRite; David Bullard, Piggly Wiggly AL Dist. Co.; Winston Griffin, Laurel Grocery Co.; Lori Raya, SpartanNash; and Joe Wolf, Alliance Retail.

“I’m pleased to welcome our newly elected members to the Board of Directors and thank them for their willingness to serve our organization. Being a representative for the membership of NGA is a great responsibility, and I know each of these members will provide valuable contributions and perspective that will help guide NGA as we approach our 40th anniversary,” said Mike Stigers, NGA Chairman of the Board and CEO of Cub Foods.” “I also want to extend my deep appreciation for our outgoing board members who have provided invaluable service to the membership, especially over the past year as our industry navigated the challenges of the COVID pandemic. Their contributions and leadership have ensured NGA is an effective advocate for its membership.”

Related Article: NGA Foundation Invests in Campaigns to Attract Essential Grocery Workers

The NGA, the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, also expressed its gratitude to the outgoing board members for their service and leadership: Neal Berube, Associate Food Stores; Michelle Hurd, Iowa Grocery Industry Association; Roger Lowe Jr., Lowe’s Market; Bob McTeir, Merchant Distributors Inc.; Richard Morgan, North State Grocery Inc.; Brian Moyer, Freshop; and Eligio Pena, Compare Foods.

“I’m grateful to our outgoing Board of Directors members who have volunteered countless hours away from their businesses to serve our association, particularly over the past year,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of NGA. “Their guidance and support have kept NGA on a strong path of growth and effective advocacy for independent grocers. I’m also looking forward to working with our newly elected board members, representing a diverse cross-section of the independent supermarket community. I know their unique perspective and leadership will be essential as we guide NGA into its 40th year of being the voice of the independent supermarket industry.”

Also elected were officers and members of the NGA Foundation Board of Regents for 2021-22:

  • Chairman: Kirk Clark, director of merchandising, Mitchell Grocery Corp.
  • Vice-Chairman: Dante Franceschelli, director of corporate development, C&S Wholesale Grocers.
  • Secretary: Kelli Schaefer-McSpiritt, director of advertising, Wakefern Food Corp.
  • Treasurer: Robert Graybill, president and CEO, FMS Solutions Holdings.
  • Members: Heidi Huff, vice president – business partnerships, IGA Inc.; and Thomas Gioielli, head of industry relations – customer development, Unilever.

2021 NGA Executive Committee Officers

Chair of the BoardImmediate Past ChairmanVice ChairmanTreasurerSecretaryPresident and CEO
Mike Stigers UNFI Eden Prairie, MNCheryl Sommer Kaune’s Neighborhood Market Santa Fe, NMTed Balistreri Sendik’s Food Markets Milwaukee, WIDavid E. Smith Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. Kansas City, KSJeff Reagan Wakefern Food Corp. Edison, NJGreg Ferrara National Grocers Association Washington D.C.

2021 Executive Committee Members

John T. Derderian
Allegiance Retail Services, LLC
Iselin, NJ
Kim B. Eskew
Harps Food Stores, Inc.
Springdale, AR
Neil Greenstein
Brookdale ShopRite
Newark, NJ
Gary Redner
Redner’s Markets
Reading, PA
Zulema Wiscovitch
Associated Supermarket Group
Port Washington, NY

2021 NGA Board Members

John Abbene
Melville, NY
John Akins
Akins Market
Quincy, WA
Randy Arceneaux
Affiliated Foods, Inc.
Amarillo, TX
Michele Azar
Merchant Distributors, Inc.
Hickory, NC
John Bole
Yoke’s Fresh Markets
Spokane, WA
Jennifer Bosma
Harvest Market
Fort Bragg, CA
Kimberly M. Brackett
Brackett’s Market IGA
Bath, ME
Rick Brindle
Mondelez International
East Hanover, NJ
Trent Brookshire
Brookshire Grocery Company
Tyler, TX
David Bullard
Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co.
Bessemer, AL
Melissa Buonadonna-Hernandez
Buonadonna ShopRite
Bayshore, NY
Eric Winn
C&S Wholesaler
Keene, NH
Carlos Castro
Todos Supermarket
Woodbridge, VA
Emily Coborn
Coborn’s, Inc.
St. Cloud, MN
Dave Conroy
Jersey City, NJ
Dave Davis
Utah Food Industry Association
Salt Lake City, UT
Ron Graff Jr.
Columbiana Foods Inc.
Youngstown, OH
Robert Graybill
FMS Solutions
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Neil Greenstein
Brookdale/Newark ShopRite
Newark, NJ
Winston Griffin
Laurel Grocery Co.
London, KY
Steve Heggelke
Bozzuto’s Inc.
Cheshire, CT
Paula Janssen
Janssens Fine Foods
Greenville, DE
Bob Jaskolski
T.A. Solberg Co.
Minocqua, WI
Lauren Johnson
Newport Avenue Market
Bend, OR
Reed Kessler
Kessler’s Inc.
Aberdeen, SD
Kathy Kuzava
Georgia Food Industry Association
Gmyma, GA
Manard Lagasse
Associated Grocers, Inc.
Baton Rouge, LA
Kristi Magnuson Nelson
Hugo’s Family Marketplace
South Grands Forks, ND
Pete Najjar
Cardiff Seaside Market
Cardiff, CA
Michael Needler Jr.,
Fresh Encounter, Inc.
Findlay, OH
Jimmy Nichols
Houchens Industries
Bowling Green, KY
Amy Niemetscheck
Certco, Inc.
Madison, WI
Kevin Proctor
Earth City, MO
Lori Raya
SpartanNash Company
Grand Rapids, MI
Gary Redner
Redner’s Markets
Reading, PA
Mike Ridenour
The Kraft Heinz Company
Chicago, IL
Stratton Sigler
Englewood Cliffs, NJ
Jeff Strack
Strack & Van Til
Highland, IN
Michael J. Violette
Associated Grocers of New England, Inc.
Pembroke, NH
Scott Widtfelt
Naperville, IL
Joe Wolf
Alliance Retail Group
Nashville, TN