Richard Saker has officially “passed the gavel” as chairman of the New Jersey Food Council, the organization announced.
Saker’s father, Joseph J. Saker — founder and chairman of the family’s Saker ShopRites — helped create the NJFC 51 years ago.
“My father understood that grocers needed a voice to represent the food industry before government leaders, and this vision led to the creation of the New Jersey Food Council, where he served as founding chairman,” Saker said in his remarks. “He was a guy who could clearly see the big picture.”
The organization’s leadership presented Saker with a portrait of him and his father, who died in 2012 at age 83, to honor him for his service.
“There was no shortage of pressing issues during my term as chair for which NJFC didn’t rise to the occasion,” Saker said. “From standing up against misguided government policies, enhancing our governance and membership, growing our sponsorships, building on our financial resources, expanding our political action presence and launching our Choose to Reuse campaign to solve disposable bag issues, our members have never ceased to amaze me in their vision and perseverance.”
Joseph Sofia, division manager of Wegmans Food Markets, succeeded Saker, becoming the organization’s 20th chair.
“It is my intention to follow the path Richard has built and continue to instill the values and principles that have endured from the past 19 chairs before me over the course of the last 51 years,” he said in a statement.
Added Linda Doherty, the NJFC’s CEO and president: “Richard Saker remains a thoughtful and determined leader of the NJFC, and has served as a great ambassador. Richard’s handprint is on our agenda and the future of the New Jersey food industry will be a significant legacy for our association.”
The NJFC also announced its 2020 officers, including Sofia and Doherty:
- Mike Biase, division sales manager, Mission Foods.
- Suzanne DelVecchio, corporate counsel, QuickChek Corp.;
- Andrew Kent, executive vice president, Glass Gardens;
- Mike Rothwell, president, Pennington Quality Market.