SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. – January 21, 2013 –
Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today awarded its most prestigious honor, the Sidney R. Rabb Award for excellence in serving the consumer, the community and the industry, to Hy-Vee, Inc. retired chairman and CEO Ric Jurgens. Jurgens accepted the award among his peers at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference.

For 43 years at Hy-Vee, and only the third person to hold the title of CEO at the company, the native Iowan championed the grocery industry’s gallant work in feeding families and enriching lives, which for him began when he was a student at Iowa State, where he spent weekends and evenings at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Ames, Iowa, checking groceries and stocking shelves. The company’s slogan, “where there’s a helpful smile in every aisle,” is best exemplified by Jurgens’ genuine approach to leadership and his passionate regard for his employees.

“On so many occasions Ric shared with me his view that if we can make a difference in this life, we should.  Ric believes strongly in making a difference, ever pushing us to think progressively, but in pragmatic ways that are respectful of the past and informed by his extensive industry experience,” FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said. “His dedication to FMI is immeasurable.”

Sarasin continued, “No one has been more of an industry leader in the area of Health and Wellness than Ric Jurgens.  He does this by what he has instituted at Hy-Vee – with such innovations as having a dietitian in every store – but also in the very way he lives.  You cannot know Ric long before you realize how committed he is to health and how much he wants those around him to focus on it.

 “I think the industry accolades that most touch Ric’s heart are not the awards and recognitions he has accumulated, but the letters he receives from customers thanking him for things he has done  that have made a difference in their lives.  And it is not hyperbole to say his commitment to health and wellness is known from the streets of Des Moines all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.”

Most notably during his career, Jurgens was strategically involved in the negotiations with government agencies regarding the FMI/Grocery Manufacturers Association joint industry initiative Facts-Up-Front. In fact, Jurgens was on-stage at the 2011 Midwinter event lectern addressing the participants when he fielded a call from the White House.

Jurgens practices what he preaches – with hobbies including golfing, skiing, bicycling, swimming, boating, rowing, reading, and playing guitar – and his own passions transcend retirement as he serves as board chairperson of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. Jurgens urged his fellow Iowans to eat with their families, mind their portions and make goals that fit their respective lifestyles.

Jurgens consistently had the pulse of the industry by serving on various boards of directors throughout his tenure, in particular, the board of Hy-Vee, Inc. for 18 years and as a member of the board of its subsidiaries, as well as the boards of the Food Marketing Institute, the FMI Foundation and Topco.  He is a member of the Iowa State University Foundation, the Iowa State Business College Dean’s Advisory Council and the Iowa State University Order of the Knoll. 

The Rabb award further substantiates that Jurgens is a decorated grocery industry statesman. He has received municipal accolades such as the Governor’s Volunteerism Award; the Iowa State University Citation of Achievement Award; the John D. DeVries Service Award from the Iowa State University’s College of Business; the Heart Award (Variety - The Children’s Charity’s highest honor); the Retailer of the Year Award in 2009 from the Iowa Grocery Industry Association; and the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2012 Golden Apple Award. Jurgens was nationally recognized in 2012 by both the National Grocer’s Association with its Spirit of America Award and by the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s National Hall of Achievement Award. 

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Rabb Award Background
See below the 2013 Sidney R. Rabb Award announcement at Midwinter: