N.J. Food Council to honor 4 industry leaders at annual ‘Night of Distinction’

The New Jersey Food Council will host its prestigious “Night of Distinction” reception May 17 at the Palace at Somerset Park, Somerset. The event, with its powerful slate of honorees, draws more than 500 guests, including prominent food industry executives across the region, and will be a night where guests will enjoy an industry recognition ceremony, delectable cuisine and live music.

“This is the perfect time to celebrate the industry and its leaders, who have made such significant contributions to advance one of New Jersey’s most important business sectors,” Linda Doherty, president of the NJFC, said. “The honorees have all achieved significant food business success and have a history of civic service within the New Jersey food community. It is our honor to celebrate them with our annual Industry Achievement Awards.”

This year’s honorees are: Nicole Davia, Northeast regional president, Whole Foods Market; Jim Perkins, president, Albertsons Cos. Mid-Atlantic Division; Steve Henig, chief customer officer, Wakefern Food Corp.; and Jason Read, director of store operations, Wawa.

Nicole Davia. (Photos courtesy New Jersey Food Council)

Davia began her career with Whole Foods Market in 1993 as a team leader in the Mid-Atlantic region. She now oversees more than 50 stores, with more than 14,000 employees. With a diverse team member base that speaks multiple languages, her leadership focuses on inclusion and connection. Her leadership style is based on a strategic approach, positivity, empathy and mentorship. Beyond her career, Davia has a passion for running, healthy food and volunteering in her community. She has worked with the Adopt-a-Goat program, which inspired a personal interest in goat farming.

Jim Perkins.

Perkins has spent 40 years as a leader in the grocery industry, where he has challenged and motivated teams to achieve record-setting performance with his high energy and can-do attitude. His passion for the grocery business began in 1982 at Albertsons, where he was a key leader in several areas of the country. After 28 years, Perkins left Albertsons to join Giant Foods, leading more than 60 stores. In 2013, Perkins returned to Albertsons as president of the ACME division, a grocery store chain that operates 161 regional supermarkets. Perkins combined the ACME, Eastern Safeway, Kings and Balduccis banner into the “New” Mid-Atlantic Region, with 300 stores and 32,000 associates.

Steve Henig.

Henig is an innovator with the nation’s largest retailer-owned cooperative for his entire career. In his current role, Henig works with Wakefern members, leaders and associates to create a single, consistent brand voice. He oversees Wakefern’s advertising, social media, brand strategy, consumer affairs, e-commerce, sales planning and analytics and insights teams. He made innovative changes to the company’s ShopRite from Home service and helped ShopRite become the first supermarket in North America to implement an automated microfulfillment center. Henig is also an adjunct marketing professor at The College of New Jersey and serves on FMI’s New Consumerism Board Council and Team.

Jason Read.

Read joined Wawa seven years ago as director of store operations, overseeing more than 100 stores. Prior to Wawa, Read worked for Starbucks for 14 years in roles across all domestic business operations. He is a former advisory board member for Rutgers University’s Customer Experience Program and sits on the NJFC board of directors, the board of the Wawa Foundation and the operators advisory council at Winsight Media. Read is a passionate risk-taker who enjoys seeing his team collaborate to solve problems.

Click here to register for the event.