NGA announces key staff promotions and new additions to its team

ARLINGTON, Va., 2018-Jan-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (Jan 8, 2018), the National Grocers Association (NGA), the national trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, announced key staff promotions and new additions to its team that will help the organization expand its member benefits and advocate policies to better serve America’s independent grocers.

“The grocery business is changing faster than ever and we’re devoting significantly more resources to ensure independent supermarket operators thrive in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “I’m pleased to announce the promotion of eight staff members and the addition of three new members to our team whose valuable experience will help advance our work throughout the supermarket industry and on Capitol Hill.”

Key promotions and personnel changes include the following:

  • Greg Ferrara has been named Executive Vice President of Advocacy, Public Relations, and Member Services. Ferrara will continue in his role supervising the government relations and communications and marketing department, in addition to overseeing the member services department.
  • Matthew R. Ott has been named NGA Executive Vice President and COO and Executive Director of the NGA Foundation. In addition to his role as Executive Vice President and COO at NGA, Ott will have an expanded role in leading the NGA Foundation and continue to oversee the association’s business development, technology initiatives, office administration.​
  • Adrian Rios has been promoted to Manager of Accounting and Information Technology. Rios will continue managing the association’s account receivables and take on the day-to-day information technology responsibilities.​
  • Annie Stoltenberg has been promoted to Manager of Marketing and Web Content. Stoltenberg will manage the association’s marketing efforts to increase awareness and engagement for NGA and NGA Foundation programs and events.​​
  • Channing Pejic has joined NGA as Coordinator of Political and Legislative Affairs. Pejic will manage the association’s political action committee and grassroots advocacy efforts.​​
  • Kevin Liao has been promoted to Manager of Executive Offices and Programs. Liao will manage the association’s share group program and serve as a liaison to the board of directors, in addition to administration for the executive offices.​
  • Maggie White has joined the NGA Foundation as Manager of Donor Relations and Development. White will manage the NGA Foundation’s fundraising efforts, as well as the organization’s student programs and university coalition.​
  • Matt Foley has been promoted to Director of Government Relations. Foley will lead the association’s advocacy efforts around a portfolio of issues, including labor relations, data security, and judiciary matters.​
  • Matt Klein has been promoted to Senior Director of Operations and Finance. Klein will oversee the association’s day-to-day finances, information technology, and human resources.​
  • Sarah Tillman Reeves has joined NGA as Membership Services Administrator. Reeves will serve as a liaison between the association’s members and internal departments, as well as support membership outreach efforts.​
  • Su Li has been promoted to Manager of Accounting and Administration. Li will continue managing the association’s account payables, as well as taking on day-to-day administrative responsibilities.​
  • Travis Van Horn has been promoted to Manager of Communications and Media Relations. Van Horn will manage strategic communications efforts to elevate NGA’s voice in the news media and position the association as a thought leader.

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Additional Media Resources:

  • For staff headshots, click HERE.

SOURCE: National Grocers Association

MEDIA CONTACT
communications@nationalgrocers.org

NGA welcomes Christopher Jones as vice president and counsel, government relations department

ARLINGTON, VA, 2017-Aug-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, today (August 21, 2017) announced Christopher Jones, former legislative director and counsel for U.S. Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR), a member of the House Agriculture Committee and Nutrition Subcommittee, is joining its government relations department as vice president and counsel. In his role, Jones will oversee the trade association’s team of lobbyists and manage a portfolio of issues including agriculture, nutrition, and regulatory reform.

Jones joined Congressman Crawford’s staff in 2010 as a staff assistant and has held senior roles since 2011. In 2014, he served as NGA’s senior manager of government affairs before returning to Crawford’s office. During his time on Capitol Hill, Jones led a team of legislative aides, directed the activities of two subcommittees that Congressman Crawford chaired, and helped craft the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Chris has an outstanding reputation as a leader on food policy and as a fierce advocate for independent grocers, both on the Hill and as a returning member of our team,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of NGA. “We’re excited to welcome Chris back and significantly expand our efforts to advocate for the independent supermarket industry before Congress and federal agencies.”

“Chris is someone who truly understands the important role independent retailers and wholesalers play in their communities,” said Greg Ferrara, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at NGA. “By bringing him onboard, we’re ensuring independent grocers have an even stronger voice in Washington at a crucial time.”

“I am excited to be rejoining the NGA team in this leadership role and look forward representing NGA on Capitol Hill to expand the voice of the independent supermarket industry in Washington, DC,” Jones said.

He recently received a juris doctor from George Mason University, and holds an undergraduate degree in business administration and finance from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Contact:

Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax: (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

NGA promotes Laura Strange to Vice President of Industry Relations, Communications, and Marketing

Arlington, VA, 2017-Jul-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA), the national trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, announced today (Jul 24, 2017) that Laura Strange has been promoted to Vice President of Industry Relations, Communications, and Marketing.

Previously Strange served as Senior Director of Industry Relations, Communications, and Marketing. Strange joined NGA in the fall of 2013, coming from Capitol Hill where she served as communications director for Representative Bob Latta (OH-5), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, she held positions in the government affairs department for Yahoo! Inc. and in the communications and marketing division for a state taxpayer trade association. Strange earned a Master’s degree in Public Relations from George Washington University and her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of South Carolina.

Strange will continue in her role overseeing NGA’s communications, media relations, and marketing departments. She will also be responsible for developing and implementing NGA’s strategy on a broad range of important industry relations initiatives.

“Laura has been a key member of the NGA team since she joined our organization over three and half years ago. She has built our communications department into a well-oiled, sophisticated operation that is proactive and works every day to advance the good work of NGA and to tell the great story of our independent supermarket members,” said NGA president and CEO Peter J. Larkin. “Laura has also worked collaboratively to enhance NGA’s marketing efforts, helping to drive member and non-member engagement and produce results that benefit the organization. NGA is fortunate to have a talented team that comes to work each day committed to serving our members and the overall industry. Laura is a key part of our team and will continue to lead our efforts going forward.”

“Laura’s Capitol Hill background has been instrumental in helping to advance many of our public policy priorities through her relationships with reporters and her ability to tell our member’s story. She is a tireless advocate for NGA’s members and for the local, family-owned grocers who are truly the backbone of our organization. In addition, her willingness to accept new challenges and think outside of the box has helped NGA continue to grow each year and better serve its membership. In her new role, she will continue to be a great leader and advocate for our members and industry,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA senior vice president of government relations and public affairs.

Contact:

Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax: (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

NGA presented Joe Williams with the Spirit of America Award at the Texas Retailers Forum

Arlington, VA, 2017-Jul-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, proudly presented Joe Williams, former vice president for regulatory and member services of the Texas Retailers Association, with the NGA Spirit of America Award at the Texas Retailers Forum, held Sunday, July 23, 2017. The award is one of NGA’s top honors and recognizes individuals for their dedication and service to the independent supermarket industry.

“Joe is known as a steadfast advocate for Texas grocers with a long history of serving both the supermarket industry and consumers alike,” said Greg Ferrara, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at NGA. “His legacy shines as a strong voice before regulators, one of the foremost advocates for the SNAP and WIC programs, and a mentor to the next generation of supermarket leaders.”

Williams served as the president of the Gulf Coast Retailers Association beginning in 1994 until it merged with the Texas Retailers Association in 2006. He now serves as a consultant at the association on issues impacting the supermarket industry and the Texas Retailers Education Fund.

The NGA Spirit of America Award, established in 1982, honors key industry and community figures that have provided leadership in the areas of community services and government relations on behalf of a free and independent food distribution system. NGA has given this award to over 550 individuals, including former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Speaker of the House Tom Foley, former U.S. Representatives Charlie Stenholm and Dick Armey, as well as other distinguished individuals serving in the grocery industry and the public interest.

Contact:

Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax: (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

NGA releases statement after OMB directed FDA to re-examine the menu labeling regulation

Arlington, VA, 2017-May-02 — /EPR Retail News/ — Greg Ferrara, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at the National Grocers Association (NGA), today (May 1, 2017) released the following statement after the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to re-examine the menu labeling regulation that had been scheduled to be implemented on May 5, 2017:

“The menu labeling law, as originally passed by Congress, was intended to cover chain restaurants. But unlike chain restaurants, supermarkets operate in a variety of formats without standard menu items.  Instead, many prepared food items sold in their stores are tailored to the community, and recipes, even for the same item, sometimes vary from store to store based on customer needs and demands.

“While chain independent supermarkets are committed to providing consumers with information, implementation of this regulation would be one of the most expensive regulations for the supermarket industry with estimates exceeding $1 billion. We applaud the Administration for acting swiftly to address the concerns of Main Street grocers and look forward to working with the FDA on important fixes to the regulation that will provide independent supermarkets with flexibility to be able to provide consumers with this information and protection from frivolous lawsuits as they work to implement this regulation in-store.

“We are also committed to continuing to work with our champions in Congress to pass the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (H.R. 772 / S. 261) to ensure these reforms are codified into law.”

Contact:

Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax:  (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

Independent grocers and state trade association call on lawmakers to defend transparency and competition in the debit marketplace

Arlington, VA, 2017-Apr-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (Apr 4, 2017), more than 300 independent supermarket companies and state trade associations sent a letter urging Members of Congress to preserve the debit reforms, also known as the Durbin Amendment, passed as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In the letter, independent grocers and state trade associations voiced concern over the negative impact that a repeal of the Durbin Amendment would have on their day-to-day operations and their company’s bottom line.

The letter was sent in anticipation of U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) reintroducing the Financial CHOICE Act, which would undo the Durbin Amendment. The provision successfully reformed anti-competitive price fixing in the debit marketplace by requiring that at least two unaffiliated debit routing networks be available for all purchase made using debit cards. The provision also limited debit interchange fees to 21 cents per transaction, as well as a 0.5 percent fee on all transactions to cover fraud losses and a one cent fraud prevention fee. Consequently, today’s average debit swipe fee of 24 cents provides businesses relief from the world’s highest debit fees.

“Prior to the implementation of debit reforms, Visa and MasterCard were able to sign exclusivity agreements with banks, effectively eliminating dozens of regional debit routing networks and rapidly moving the debit routing market towards a duopoly,” the letter states. “The routing provision of the debit reforms passed in 2010 have spurred networks to compete with one another, prompting networks to innovate. Because of these reforms, debit networks have competed extensively to better secure their payments, providing significant benefits throughout the payments chain.”

In a recent study among independent supermarkets, debit cards represented the most frequently used payment method in 2015 and accounted for nearly double the number of transactions since 2000. The results also reflected that the fees placed on supermarkets were the fastest growing cost for most companies and the only expense retailers were unable to control.

“While banks and financial institutions enjoy a hefty 25 percent profit margin and earn nearly $79 billion each year in swipe fees, independent supermarkets operate on the one to two percent profit margin annually while continuing to offer the lowest possible prices in a highly competitive market,” said Greg Ferrara, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs, National Grocers Association. “Congress should be protecting Main Street grocers from the price-gouging that’s historically taken place, not enshrining it into the law.”

Retailers have saved billions since the passage of the Durbin Amendment and allowed supermarkets to maintain level prices on the goods they sell, according to economist Robert Shapiro. In fact, the Durbin Amendment has supported over 37,000 jobs over the past five years and saved consumers nearly $6 billion after the first year since implementation due to products being offered at lower prices as a result of lowered interchange fees.

The independent supermarket channel is accountable for close to 1 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating nearly $131 billion in sales, 944,000 jobs, $30 billion in wages, and $27 billion in taxes.

Contact:

Tel : (703) 516-0700
Fax: (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

NGA recognized Niemann Foods, Inc. CEO and Harps Food Stores Chairman with top awards during the 2017 NGA Show

Las Vegas, NV, 2017-Feb-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) recognized two industry leaders with top awards during the 2017 NGA Show. The following individuals were honored with the below industry awards:

The Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award was presented to Rich Niemann, Jr., President and CEO of Niemann Foods, Inc. Niemann began his career with Niemann Foods, Inc. in 1977, following his graduation from the University of Illinois. He has been the President and CEO of the company since 2005. Niemann serves on the NGA Board of Directors as the Immediate Past Chairman and has held positions on numerous boards, including the Illinois Food Retailers Association.

“A passionate leader, who has his eye always to the future, Rich is continuously inspiring others in the independent supermarket industry to find new and innovative ways to better serve their communities. NGA is proud to honor such a distinguished individual for his service and dedication to his stores, his community, and our industry,” said NGA President and CEO Peter Larkin.

Since 2009, the Thomas K. Zaucha Award, presented by Mondelēz International and named after NGA’s first President and CEO, has been presented annually to recognize an independent grocer that exemplifies persistence, vision, and creative entrepreneurship. This award is one of the most prestigious honors awarded to independent grocers.

The Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award was presented to Roger Collins, Chairman of Harps Food Stores. Collins started with Harps in 1986 as the Vice President of Finance and CFO. He was promoted to Executive Vice President in 1995 and CEO in 2000. Collins stepped down as CEO in 2016 but remains as Chairman. He has served on both the board and executive committee of NGA, the National Cooperative Bank, and Associated Wholesale Grocers, as well as the Board of Regents for the NGA Research and Education Foundation. In 2015, Collins was awarded the Thomas K. Zaucha Entrepreneurial Excellence Award by NGA.

“As a supporter of the Grocers PAC and NGA’s government relations efforts, Roger understands the importance of cultivating relationships with policymakers who will be champions for the independent supermarket industry. He has been a strong advocate for the independent grocer on all levels of government,” said Greg Ferrara, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs, NGA.

The Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award was established in 2014 to honor Tom Wenning for his 40 years of service to NGA and the independent supermarket industry and is presented to an NGA member who helps advance the role and presence of the independent grocer and NGA in government and political affairs.

Contact:

Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax: (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

NGA disappointed on House Financial Services Committee bill that repeals debit card swipe fee reform

ARLINGTON, VA, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) today (Sep 13, 2016) issued the following statement in response to a House Financial Services Committee markup of the Financial CHOICE Act of 2016 (H.R. 5983), a bill that repeals debit card swipe fee reform, also known as the Durbin Amendment that was passed in the 2010 as a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

NGA Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs Greg Ferrara said: “Since its passage six years ago, the Durbin Amendment has brought competition and transparency into a payment system that has historically been void of it. Repealing these reforms would have negative impacts on the independent supermarket industry and the consumers it serves. We need to ensure more competition within the debit market – not remove it.”

“NGA is disappointed to see members of the House Financial Services Committee side with Wall Street banks over Main Street grocers and merchants.  Repeal of these important reforms is simply another gift to the nation’s biggest banks and card networks.  NGA and our members are committed to defeating this legislation so long as it continues to include repeal of the Durbin reforms.”

Yesterday, NGA sent a key vote letter to members of the House Financial Services Committee urging them to oppose the CHOICE Act. Click HERE to view the letter.

Contact:

(703) 516-0700
Fax (703) 516-0115

Source: National Grocers Association

Independent grocers urges Members of Congress to protect debit card swipe fee reform

ARLINGTON, VA, 2016-Sep-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (Sep 6, 2016), more than 400 merchants from across the country sent a letter to Members of Congress urging them to protect debit card swipe fee reform, also known as the Durbin Amendment that was included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  Nearly half of the signatories were independent grocers who joined this effort to voice concern over the potential negative impacts that a repeal of the Durbin Amendment would have on their businesses.

The letter, addressed to Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Jeb Hensarling and Congressman Randy Neugebauer calls for Congress to maintain the reforms passed as part of the Durbin Amendment and preserve increased competition in the debit market.

Greg Ferrara, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs of the National Grocers Association (NGA) stated: “As a founding member of the Merchants Payments Coalition, we are grateful for the number of NGA member companies that took action on this issue. The independent supermarket industry plays a vital role in America’s economy and when nearly 170 Main Street Grocers stand with other retail organizations and companies to tell Members of Congress about the direct benefits the Durbin Amendment has had on their businesses and the communities they serve, Congress listens.”

The Durbin Amendment has brought increased competition in the debit routing market and helped cut down the price-fixed fees that the largest U.S. banks charge merchants for purchases made on debit cards.

Contact:

Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax:  (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

National Grocers Association announces the promotion of four staff members

Arlington, VA, 2016-1-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA), the national trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, announced today the promotions of four of its staff.

Greg Ferrara has been named Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs. Ferrara will continue in his role overseeing the government relations and communications and marketing departments as well as serving as NGA’s chief lobbyist. Having first joined NGA in November 2005, Greg brings a wealth of experience in the grocery industry having managed the operations for his family’s century-old supermarket in New Orleans before the store was ultimately destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. He has also worked as a corporate project manager for Associated Grocers in Baton Rouge, LA. Ferrara was recognized in 2015 as one of Association TRENDS Leading Lobbyists. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola University New Orleans and is a fellow of the prestigious Institute of Politics at Loyola University.

Matthew R. Ott, M.S., CAE, CMP has been named to Chief Operating Officer. During his time at NGA, Ott has overseen NGA’s membership, business development, partnership and technology initiatives. In addition to his current responsibilities, Ott will have an expanded role in NGA’s office operations and administration. Prior to joining NGA in 2011, Ott has held various management positions within the association and non-profit industries with a focus on increasing organizational growth opportunities. In 2013, Ott was named as one of six Association TRENDS Young and Aspiring Professionals and was named to Association Forum of Chicagoland and USAE’s list of the top 40 Under Forty, recognizing the top young talent in the association and non-profit industries. Ott has also been recently recognized by BIZNOW as a member of the 2016 Trending 40: Association and Non-Profit Innovators. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire (M.S.) and George Mason University (B.S.).

Maggie Lyons has been promoted to Senior Director of Government Relations. Lyons will take on an expanded role in managing NGA’s relationship with Congress and federal agencies to advance the organization’s legislative and regulatory priorities. She will also work more closely on supervising NGA’s Grocers PAC political giving and fundraising strategy. Lyons came to NGA in January of 2014 from Capitol Hill, where she served as deputy chief of staff for a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee. Prior to her time spent working in the U.S. House, Lyons worked for a Washington-based think tank, and served on the staff of a U.S. Senator. Lyons is a graduate of Elon University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications.

Laura Strange has been promoted to Senior Director of Communications and Marketing. She will continue in her role running NGA’s communications and media relations functions in addition to managing marketing for NGA events and programs. Strange joined NGA in the fall of 2013, coming from Capitol Hill where she served as communications director for a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and prior to that a member on the House Appropriations Committee. In addition to having professional experience on Capitol Hill, Strange worked in the government affairs department for Yahoo! Inc., and in the communications and marketing division for a trade association. She earned a Master’s degree in Public Relations from George Washington University, and her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of South Carolina.

“Each of these individuals has extensive experience in their areas of expertise and provides NGA with immense knowledge that expands beyond the food industry. They are great assets to this organization and I look forward to working with each as they continue to grow in their roles and work towards NGA’s goal to strengthen the independent supermarket industry,” said Peter J. Larkin, NGA President and CEO.

1005 N. Glebe Road
Suite 250
Arlington, VA, 22201
(703) 516-0700
Fax (703) 516-0115

SOURCE: National Grocers Association