January 12, 2014 – Phoenix, Ariz. – The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) last night presented its Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence to Bristol Farms President and CEO Kevin Davis. Davis received the honor at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference.

Davis’ hard work, focus and early confidence were instilled in him by his parents, but he received most of his mentoring under Ralphs Grocery Company executives Byron Allumbaugh, Patrick Collins, Jim Brown and Al Marasca. “They took me from box boy to senior vice president of marketing; they supported and encouraged me at college, at the University of Southern California’s Food Industry Management Program, and later at graduate school at University of California, Los Angeles,” said Davis. “In the early 1980’s there was lots of growth and through it all, they gave me the opportunity to be entrepreneurial, creative and to try new things.”

Davis continued to motivate this creative spirit in his role invigorating the independent operator community at FMI through his dedication to committee activities that help his fellow, smaller store operators compete in the food retail space. Davis is also a prominent member of the food retail community, serving on FMI’s Board of Directors and as chairman of the 2014 Midwinter Executive Conference. 

“I’ve yet to meet someone who understands his customers, his associates, his role and what the company should be more than Kevin Davis,” Norman Mayne, CEO of Dorothy Lane and past-recipient of the Wegman Award, said in a video testimonial. “His insight on the profits and opportunities is outstanding; he's somebody that we can all learn from.”

Davis is immediate past-chairman of the California Grocers Association; director, past president and currently advisory board member of the Western Association of Food Chains; and past chairman of Unified Western Grocers. He was named Alumnus of the Year by the University Southern California Food Industry Management Program in 1999 and Executive of the Year in 2011.

Recognized early in his career in 1986 by Business Week Magazine as one of the 50 “Fast Track Kids,” Davis noted, “I was always encouraged to do what I would do if I owned the company, so I did, and most of it worked. The confidence to try new things eventually led me to Bristol Farms where we have grown from three stores to a multi-formatted, specialty grocer operating 21 high-end, unique and successful stores. It hasn’t always been easy, there are ups and downs in every business and in every career, but I believe that good entrepreneurial leadership comes from a sense of confidence in people, and in the ability to make the right things happen if, as a leader, you can clearly communicate a vision that others can believe in and that you simply help them accomplish.” 

Davis attributes his greatest satisfaction in business to maintaining the Bristol Farms’ vision of quality and service through its people after several rounds of acquisitions over the last 17 years. 

Kevin’s wife Cindy recounted, “Kevin looks for people’s strengths and helps to develop them to their fullest. He is encouraging and optimistic.  Through the challenges which arose during the purchasing of Bristol Farms, Kevin’s main concern was for the people who work with him.  

“His determination and knowledge grew during the acquisition, and with each new challenge, he believed more in Bristol’s employees and their ability to be successful under this endeavor.  Kevin is rewarded by the dedication and longevity of the people who work with him. He loves the grocery industry and the life he has created for himself. We, his family, are blessed that he shares his stories and his passions with us.”

View Kevin's multimedia profile here.