JUNE 10, 2015 – CHICAGO – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) presented its most distinguished award in public affairs, the Glen P. Woodard, Jr. Award, to Food City President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Smith at FMI Connect, the industry’s premier event.
Throughout his 36 years with Food City, Smith’s leadership extends well beyond his work at the company. Smith has been an incredibly effective advocate on behalf of the food retail industry, actively leading efforts in each of his operating areas in local, state and federal government activities.
"Perhaps one of Smith’s most creative and hard-fought victories was completed last year – getting wine in grocery stores in Tennessee," reflected FMI Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Jennifer Hatcher. "Steve won’t take ‘no’ for an answer when it comes to change that will benefit his customers, his associates, his company or his industry."
Describing Smith’s passion for grassroots, Hatcher continued, "Steve used 5-foot wine bottle cut-outs as a visual to complement his grassroots campaign, ‘Red, White and Food,’ that engaged 30,000 customers and voters in Tennessee to support the sale of wine in grocery stores. Smith testified in the state legislature and then helped lead a store-to-store, county-by-county campaign that culminated with 80 counties voting for wine in grocery stores."
At the federal level, Smith was one of the first FMI members to agree that the battle over swipe fees was one the food retail industry had to engage, as evidenced by his testimony on Capitol Hill in 2007 before the House Judiciary Antitrust Task Force. Smith argued, "The conventional wisdom tells us, that as volume grows, prices should fall, but instead, credit card companies have created much greater volume and raised fees and costs substantially."
Smith continues to advocate at all levels of government for the industry – in Washington, DC, in state Capitols, in city and county governments and on the campaign trail with candidates.
"Steve is a very big advocate of our industry," said Fred Morganthall, president, Harris Teeter LLC. "He has a clear understanding of what our industry needs in the way of rules and regulations, and clearly he speaks for our customers and he speaks for our communities.
"Steve’s a leader. As chairman, Steve stepped up and worked with his officer group and made clear decisions that affected the future of FMI."
Raised in Grundy, VA, Smith earned a bachelor’s in business administration from James Madison University. Smith has served on the boards of Wellmont Health Care Systems, Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Weis Supermarkets, James Madison University’s Board of Visitors and the Governor’s Job Creation Commission. He served as campaign chairman for United Way of Southwest Virginia from 2000 to 2002 and 2006/2007, as well as board chairman for Topco Associates, LLC and Food Marketing Institute. He is a member of National Grocers Association and currently serves on FMI’s Executive, Board Planning and Public Affairs Committees.