ARLINGTON, VA — November 6, 2009 — Food Marketing Institute (FMI) recognized Tom Zaucha, president and chief executive officer of the National Grocers Association (N.G.A.) with a lifetime achievement award for more than 40 years of stellar service to the food industry, including 27 years at the helm of N.G.A. FMI president and chief executive officer Leslie G. Sarasin presented the award to Zaucha at the FMI board of directors meeting in Toronto, Canada in October.

     “Tom’s leadership has enriched the industry in countless ways. His support for   the entrepreneurs who innovate and help set the standard for customer service is a significant accomplishment,” said Sarasin.

     “In my short time at FMI, it has been my pleasure to work closely with Tom to increase the cooperation between N.G.A. and FMI. The success of the Washington Public Policy Conference is the result of our organizations coming together and partnering on issues important to the industry,” she said.

     Zaucha has represented virtually every segment of the food industry, beginning at the National Canners Association where he oversaw government and industry relations. He also spent time as the director of public affairs at the National Association of Food Chains and held a similar position at A&P.

     In 1978 he moved to the wholesale side of the industry, where he became the president of the Cooperative Food Dealers Association (CFDA). He understood the interdependence of retailers and wholesalers and was instrumental when he became the founding president and chief executive officer of NGA in 1982 — a merger that joined CFDA with the National Association of Retail Grocers of the U.S.   

“Under Tom’s leadership, N.G.A. has become a champion and guardian of independent food retailers, helping preserve one of our industry’s most precious assets,” said Sarasin who also noted Zaucha’s plans to retire next year. “Tom is leaving a strong and lasting legacy.”

Photo available upon request.