California Grocers Association Educational Foundation Announces 2013 Hall of Achievement Inductees


Contact: Dave Heylen, V.P. Communications California Grocers Association
Tel: 916.448.3545
Fax: 916.448.2793 1415 L Street, Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95814
E-mail: [email protected]

Foundation to Recognize Two Grocery Executives for Service to Industry, Community

SACRAMENTO, CA — (January 18, 2013) – Jim Lee, President and Chief Operating Officer, Stater Bros. Markets and Vic Chiono, Vice President Sales, West U.S., Coca-Cola Refreshments, will be inducted into the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation Hall of Achievement on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center in Pomona, CA.

The Foundation’s Hall of Achievement was created in 1993, and recognizes California grocery retailers and suppliers who have contributed substantially to the advancement of the grocery industry.

“This year’s inductees are true icons of our industry,” said CGAEF President Ronald Fong. “Their unwavering dedication to the success of our industry, and their unselfish and devoted commitment to the communities they serve make both individuals worthy recipients of this year’s award.”

Jim Lee – Stater Bros. Markets
Jim joined Stater Bros. Markets as Group Senior Vice President of Retail Operations in 2002, bringing to the Company over 30 years of supermarket experience. Headquartered in San Bernardino, Calif., Stater Bros. is a Fortune 500 company, and the largest privately owned supermarket chain based in Southern California with 167 stores, nearly $3.8 billion in annual sales, and over 18,000 employees.

Jim began his grocery career with Ralphs Grocery Company in 1972 as a clerk’s helper. He was promoted to various positions during his 25 years at the Company including: Store Manager, District Manager, Vice President of Store Operations Administration and Vice President Store Operations, Northern Division and Southern Divisions. His last position with Ralphs was Group Vice President of the Central Division.

Prior to joining Stater Bros., Jim was President and Chief Operating Officer, from 1996 to 2001, of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. based in Boulder, Colorado; which at the time, was the second largest chain of natural foods supermarkets in North America, with annual sales of over $1 billion. During his time with Wild Oats, he helped the company “go public” and oversaw a 600 percent increase in sales.

Jim has a Bachelor of Arts Degree (in History) from Azusa Pacific University where he played basketball on Scholarship, a Food Industry Management Certificate from the Western Association of Food Chains and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Southern California, which he earned while attending night school. Jim also graduated from the Executive Program in the Graduate School of Business at UCLA.

In 2008, Jim was honored by Azusa Pacific University with the Academic Hall of Honor Award. He was the USC Marshall School of Business, Food Industry Management (FIM) Program Food Industry Executive of the Year for 2010. Most recently, Jim received the 2011 Humanitarian Award from The California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ). He is on the WAFC Executive Committee and served as President in 2007-2008. He is on the Advisory Board for the City of Hope Food Industries Circle, a past board member of the Food Marketing Institute, former trustee for the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation, and is a Vice President on the Board of Directors for Topco Associates, LLC.

Jim and his wife Nancy (also a supermarket “veteran”) are both native Southern Californians and reside in Newport Beach, Calif. They have been married 39 years, and have two daughters and four grandchildren.

Vic Chiono, Coca-Cola Refreshments
Vic Chiono is Area Vice President of Sales for Coca-Cola Refreshments, with responsibilities for the Central and West United States. Vic has been in sales and sales marketing for over 36 years, just completing over 26 years within Coca-Cola, holding numerous sales and management positions.

Vic got started in the grocery industry at age 10 sorting bottles and sweeping the parking lots of his father’s Safeway store. He worked through high school and college as a checker and shelf stocker. After graduating from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Vic started his career by joining Unilever as a sales representative selling food, health, and beauty products to 135 retail stores.

In 1987, after obtaining several management positions within Unilever, Vic joined Coca-Cola where he has enjoyed a successful career selling all Minute Maid, Gold Peak, Simply Beverages, and juice drink products. Most of his sales background has been working with retailers throughout the United States. From 1996 to 1999, he shifted his focus to the Food Service division establishing Minute Maid products as a staple in restaurants, theme parks, and hotel chains.

Vic resides with his wife Barbara and their two sons, Armando (A.J.) and Austin, in Southern California.

CGA Educational Foundation Hall of Achievement
The CGA Educational Foundation Hall of Achievement provides the food industry with the opportunity to recognize the achievements of those individuals who, through their foresight and dedication, have enhanced California’s food distribution industry.

Proceeds from the event help fund the Foundation’s college scholarship and tuition reimbursement programs. For the 2012-13 program year, the Educational Foundation awarded 275 scholarships totaling $328,250. The Foundation also disbursed more than $110,000 in tuition reimbursement.

“The Foundation appreciates the tremendous support it receives from the grocery industry over the last 20 years,” said Shiloh London, executive director, CGA Educational Foundation. “Their generous donations allow the Foundation to achieve its mission of providing financial assistance to advance the educational goals of CGA member employees and their dependents and offers educational programs for the grocery industry.”

For more information on the Hall of Achievement visit, or contact Brianne Page at 916.448.3545.

The CGA Educational Foundation was created under the direction of the California Grocers Association Board of Directors in 1992. Its mission is to provide financial assistance to advance the educational goals of CGA member company employees and their dependents and offer educational programs to advance the grocery industry.