January 12, 2014 – Phoenix, Ariz. – Last night, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) presented its Herbert Hoover Award for humanitarian service in the food industry to Associated Grocers, Inc. President and CEO, J.H. (Jay) Campbell, Jr. He accepted the honor at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference.

FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin remarked on Campbell’s achievement, noting, “Jay understands the magnitude of any task, which is best demonstrated by his tireless and constant focus on the needs of the independent retailers across his three-state area. A resident of Baton Rouge, his concern and selflessness for the community was best revealed in his crisis response to Hurricane Katrina, and his efforts to assist in rebuilding the communities affected in the years ahead.”

Forty-one percent of New Orleans’ businesses and 286,000 homes were lost during Hurricane Katrina. Campbell reflected on his personal experience with food industry executives in 2006, telling the Midwinter Executive Conference crowd, “I think we were the first responders in providing a sense of stability and really sound advice – factual advice – to our local government, state government and to the region. And our retailers were really extraordinary in what they did for their local communities.” Associated Grocers, under Campbell’s leadership, was able to engage during the crisis through clear and concise communications at every level of government. 

Campbell demonstrated this type of dedication early in his career working at Associated Grocers as an undergraduate. The people, and the challenges of the business, reportedly appealed to Campbell, so he worked his way up in the company, earning accounting and law degrees along the way with a focus on tax, business, and corporate law. Campbell used his formal education to achieve hands-on experience working as an accountant and internal auditor. 

Under his leadership, Associated Grocers continues to rank among the top- five employers among privately owned companies in the Greater Baton Rouge area, and the company is well recognized for its technological achievements across new business intelligence, data synchronization and customer service tools. Campbell has also maintained the company’s positive direction in spite of the economic pressures that Louisiana has witnessed over its history. Attributed to his fortitude, Associated Grocers has received a list of business accolades, which include recognition from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development as the 2003 Lantern Award in Food Technology; Outstanding Wholesaler in 2006 by Progressive Grocer; and as an Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist in 2002 by the Greater Baton-Rouge Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; and he has received numerous other awards regarding his ethics.

His sincere approach to business, his focus on Associated Grocers’ employees, his financial leadership and his strong communications skills have all led to trusting partnerships. He serves on various professional committees and boards, including FMI’s Board of Directors, and he has been an asset to innumerable local initiatives, such as the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and the Capital Area United Way. 

Eight years ago, Campbell reflected on his experiences during Katrina with an audience of senior leaders at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference, saying: “With the loss of homes, property, business and income and jobs, livelihoods and lifestyles, there were some constants: They were family, they were friends, they were our associates and our neighbors, there was philanthropy, there was charity, there was love, care, and there was concern. The relationships will endure regardless of any disaster, situation or circumstance, and I would recommend to each of you to nurture the relationships that you have, and focus on service to others in each and every endeavor that you do.”

Harris Teeter President and Chief Operating Officer Fred Morganthall commented in a video testimonial, “Jay, we are all indebted to you for your service to your community, your service to FMI and your fellow retailers, and frankly, the friendship you provide to many of us on this board and in this organization.”

View Jay's multimedia profile here.