ShopRite executive Andrew Kent, who graduated from the New Jersey Food Council’s first leadership development class in 2014, was named president-elect of the NJFC earlier this month.
Kent, Executive Vice President of Glass Gardens ShopRite, will serve a two-year term. He is the successor of his Wegmans to his Joseph Sofia.
Kent was one of five sworn officers.
- Vice Chair: Suzanne DelVecchio, QuickChek Corp.;
- Secretary: Mike Styer, Albertsons Cos.;
- total: Mike Rothwell, Pennington Quality Market.
- Associate Vice Chair: Mike Bias of Mission Foods.
Linda Doherty remains CEO and President of the organization.
Kent and Doherty paid tribute to Sophia for leading the organization through the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.
“It is my intention to follow in the footsteps of Joe and continue to instill the values and principles that have been passed down from the 20 chairs before me over the last 53 years,” Kent said.
Doherty had nothing but praise.
“Joe has been a thoughtful, honest and determined leader and a great ambassador for the Food Council,” she said. “This is evident from all the pressing issues we have been grappling with over the past two years amid an unscripted global pandemic.
“Joe has brought our board together during our most difficult times. We are grateful for his unwavering leadership and genuine passion for our business, our employees and the communities we serve.” On a personal note, having worked with Joe for the past two years, I have always admired his insight, calm demeanor, curiosity to understand policy, emotional intelligence, and ability to bring the board together in unknown times. I appreciate his ability to do that.”
The New Jersey Food Council is the Garden State’s preeminent trade association, representing nearly 400 businesses, including 1,200 food retailers, wholesalers, manufacturing and service companies employing more than 250,000 people throughout New Jersey. I’m here.
Sofia, Divisional Manager of Wegmans Food Markets, helped NJFC weather the COVID-19 storm and maintain strong membership levels, revenue, and sponsorships. His guidance also further shielded members from the state’s food industry nasty policies proposed in Trenton.
Concrete achievements include the rollout of the BagUpNJ campaign, a partnership with the New Jersey Clean Community Council. This is to educate residents about the May 4th ban on paper and plastic shopping bags.
The NJFC helped members work to distribute vaccines and boosters, and provided guidance on ever-changing COVID restrictions. The NJFC also endorsed several youth employment laws, increased scholarship funds, received a $150,000 state grant, and funded the Food Council’s food safety training program. All this was under the careful control of Sophia.
“There has been no shortage of pressing issues and industry crises that the NJFC has failed to address,” said Sophia. “From providing a hybrid calendar of events, to upholding employment laws that provide much-needed relief to our members, and engaging in key committee work to set our focus and policy. Until now, NJFC and our members have continued to amaze me with their vision and perseverance.”