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Looking quite dapper, the most senior members of RMG were in attendance to wish everyone a happy holiday, including Harry Gilbert of Holiday Markets and Larry Rothwell of Pennington Quality Market. On a more serious note, Mike Rothwell of Pennington Quality Market announced that Charlie will retire later this year. Bill Gable, who has been with Charlie and the team at RMG for more than 12 years, will take them helm.

The New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) has announced the honorees for its annual Night of Distinction. Louis Scaduto of Food Circus Supermarkets, Mike Rothwell of Pennington Quality Markets and Jason Ravitz of Ravitz ShopRites will be feted March 21 at the Sheraton Meadowlands inRutherford,NJ. These three men are second and third generation independentNew Jersey grocery merchants. At a time when family businesses struggle to survive, these men have made the commitment to remain in their respective communities and keep it local. For more information on this event, please go to www.njfoodcouncil.org .

Saint Joseph’s University’s Academy of Food Marketing (SJU) (AFM) will present its seventh annual Food Industry Summit(FIS) Thursday, March 7 on the SJU campus in Philadelphia. The FIS was established as a forum for CEOs, presidents and senior executives to share their views on the major issues and trends shaping our business. The summit is a day-long program during which time speakers from various areas of the food industry present their views on the FIS theme. The topic this year is “Leveraging Shopper Insights at the Moment of Truth.” George Latella, visiting professor of food marketing at SJU said, “Food marketing is still about relationships and connecting with consumers. The Food Industry Summit offers an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to showcase their company and brands by sharing how they use shopper insights to connect at the moment of truth.” The summit is always a great learning experience and spaces fill up quickly, so be sure to register soon. For more information on the 2013 summit, contact George at glatella@sju.edu.

Some of our food industry colleagues have begun 2013 by retiring. Sherry Walther of JOH was one of four original produce brokers on the East Coast and the first female produce broker in the industry. It was no accident that she became involved in the food business, as her father was in operations with Acme Markets and Valu Food and her mother and husband were store supervisors with Acme Markets. She has been part of JOH since 2004 as an account executive and account manager in two territories, Baltimore/Washington and Richmond/Norfolk. Terri Lowden, executive vice president of JOH said, “Sherry truly embraced each of us on the Mid-Atlantic produce team and enabled us to grow both personally and professionally. She was always supportive and responsive, whether we needed information from a manufacturer, assistance with an account or just advice on how to deal with the issues we all face day-to-day in this business. She had been there, done that, and was more than willing to help guide any of us through challenging situations. Sherry filled a mentor role for each of us here. Sherry set the standard for staying relevant in a marketplace that is in constant flux dealing with consolidation and/or centralization. Customers and clients alike recognized the value that she brought to their businesses. She had been deeply involved with the GMR of Baltimore/Washington and served as secretary, treasurer, vice president and president. She is a member of the American Business Women’s Association of Columbia and was twice named its Woman of the Year.” We wish Sherry the best as she will finally have plenty of time to spend with family and friends after a full and very successful career.

After 45 years in the food industry, Pete Kostick retired from Utz at the end of 2012. Pete started with St. Lawrence Dairies and then served our country in the U.S. Navy with an honorable discharge in 1974. From there he went on to spend 28 years with Maier’s Bakery and the past nine years with Utz. He told me he’s looking forward to golfing, spending time with his grandchildren and, of course, he will continue to be the treasurer at MAFTO.

Speaking of the Mid Atlantic Food Trades Organization (MAFTO), Ray Nemeth of Herr Foods has been voted its 2013 president. As many of you know, MAFTO is a charitable organization of food industry members who raise money to give it away. They host many outings each year with the one goal of helping others. One of the little known things MAFTO does is through the Food Trades Save A Life Committee, which was started many years ago as part of the Philadelphia Food Trades Organization. It became dormant after a few years until 25 years ago when Ron Stubin, retired from Philadelphia Food Brokers, and Nate Ostroff of Network Food Brokers revived it 25 years ago. The funds raised by MAFTO help food industry members during times of need. To date, the organization has gifted more than $250,000 and has stood the test of time, surviving each association merger. The fund is run by a committee still headed up by Nate. If you know someone in the food industry who is in need, please contact the MAFTO office at 267-295-3730. The gift can remain anonymous if requested.

Continuing the circle of life, we send condolences out to the family of Wendell Young III, who passed away on New Year’s Day after a long illness. Wendell was president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. He will be remembered for his sparkling blue eyes and always “pushing past lines drawn by management to find and secure the best deal and quality of life for his members, “ his son Wendell Young IV said.

We also send out condolences to the family of Patricia Amy Hoffman, who passed away in mid-December. Patty worked for Chuck Hagerty/Advantage in the Philadelphia market for more than 20 years and eventually married one of Chuck’s partners, Tom Hoffman from the Virginia office. Patty was a loving wife to her husband and a loving mother to her daughter, Amanda Leigh Scott Vaccaro. She enjoyed spending sunny days outside with her devoted dog, Etta Mae. Patty is survived by her father, husband, daughter, three brothers and one sister. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made toMilesJeromeJonesElementary School,200 Beaufont Hills Drive,Richmond,VA.23225.

Birthday shout-outs for the frosty month of January go out to: Linda Doherty, NJFC; Eva Gigis, Acme Markets; Gary Larkin, JOH; David Patragnoni, Wellshire Farms; George Latella, Saint Joseph’s University; Tim Musgrove, Herr Foods; Food Trade News alumni Meg Major, Mike Keba, Jim Kinney, Bob Ingram and Scott Lichterman…and to industry veteran Marvin Bilk, who recently reminded me that he’s turning 85 this month! Buon compleanno a tutti!

Quote of the month: “You are never too old to set a new goal, or to dream a new dream.” Aristotle