ARLINGTON, VA — March 18, 2010 — Nebraska Grocery Industry Association Executive Director Kathy Siefken received the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Donald H. MacManus Association Executive Award in recognition of her professional skills, knowledge and passion for the industry she represents and her tenacity of purpose in the legislative arena.

     The award was presented at the industry’s Washington Public Policy Conference hosted by FMI, the National Grocers Association and Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE).

     “Kathy Siefken has served as a stellar industry advocate, an excellent communicator on issues of importance and a committed leader focused on the vitality of the food industry,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and chief executive officer, presenting the award.

     Over the 17 years she has led the Nebraska association, Siefken has addressed the industry’s full agenda of issues at every level of government, including food taxes, school vending laws, credit card interchange fees, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, healthcare reform and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

Compelling Opponent of Employee Free Choice Act

In fact, Siefken has become one of the industry’s most compelling opponents of EFCA. She helped mobilize the industry throughout the Midwest to defeat this law, which would undermine a fundamental tenet of democracy – the electoral right to vote in private. Eliminating secret ballot elections would subject workers to coercion and intimidation in voting whether to form a union.

     She has also worked hard to streamline and expand the WIC program, which provides nutritional food to low-income mothers. This ultimately benefits the mothers and infants who rely on WIC benefits, increasing access to products and freeing up more funds to nourish the needy.

A National Leader

Addressing critical issues, Siefken’s reaches well beyond her state, sharing policy insights and strategies with other association executives. She has emerged as a leader of FIAE, representing state food and retail association leaders across America. In 2009, Siefken served as chairman of the FIAE Board of Directors.

Background on the MacManus Award

FMI honors an association leader annually with the Donald H. MacManus award, now in its 20th year. This award recognizes an association executive for extraordinary leadership in public affairs, industry relations and community relations. MacManus served the industry for many years as executive director of the Rocky Mountain Food Dealers Association and as FMI’s Western Region director. He also served in the Colorado State Senate, rising to the position of Democratic whip.