Jim Lee, President and Chief Operating Officer, Stater Bros. Markets and Vic Chiono, Vice President Sales, West U.S., Coca-Cola Refreshments, were 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.
The one-night annual award dinner and fundraising event raised more than $500,000. Proceeds from the event fund the Foundation’s College Scholarship and Career Development programs.
This year, the Foundation will be awarding 294 college scholarships totaling $330,750 to deserving employees, or their families, of CGA member companies.
“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 the Group Senior Vice President of Retail Operations in 2002, bringing to the Company over 30 years of experience in the Supermarket Industry. Headquartered in San Bernardino, California, and founded in 1936, Stater Bros. is a “Fortune 500” Company, and is the largest privately owned Supermarket Chain based in Southern California with 167 stores, nearly $3.8 billion in annual sales, and over 18,000 members of the Stater Bros. “Family” of Employees.
Jim began his grocery career with Ralphs Grocery Company in Southern California in 1972 as a Clerk’s Helper. Later 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, where he had responsibility for the highest sales volume Division in the Company.
Prior to joining Stater Bros., Jim was the 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 Jim’s time with Wild Oats, he helped the company “go public” and oversaw a 600% 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 (full Scholarship 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. He also graduated, and served as Class President, 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. The USC Marshall School of Business, Food Industry Management (FIM) Program named Jim the 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) for his longtime dedication and service to the Food Industry.
Jim is on the Executive Committee of the Western Association of Food Chains 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, California. They have been married for 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 U.S. Vic has been in sales and sales marketing for over thirty-six years, just completing over twenty-six years within Coca-Cola holding numerous sales and management positions.
Vic got started in the grocery industry at the age of 10 sorting bottles and sweeping the parking lots of his father’s Safeway store. Vic 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 our retail partners throughout the United States. From 1996 to 1999, he shifted his focus to the Food Service division within Coca-Cola establishing Minute Maid products as a staple in restaurants, theme parks, and hotel chains. “It was a wonderful experience,” he said. “We called on everyone from Legoland to Hilton Hotels!”
On a personal note, Vic resides with his wife Barbara and their two sons, Armando (A.J.) and Austin, in Southern California. When he is not working, he loves to golf, fish, and spend time with his family.
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 advancing the grocery industry through employee education, college scholarships and industry research projects.”
For more information on the Hall of Achievement log-on to www.cgaef.org or contact Brianne Page at 916.448.3545.