From industry awards to educational sessions, trading partner collaboration took center stage in the opening hours of the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

J.K. SymancykThat topic played out during an industry awards banquet, with the Grocery Manufacturers Association's Industry Collaboration Leadership Award being presented to J.K. Symancyk, president, Meijer, Inc. The "Celebrating Our Industry" awards banquet was hosted by the FMI Industry Collaboration Council.

The theme of collaboration also found its way into educational segments, including a presentation by leaders from Booz & Co., who said trading partner collaboration strategies need to shift as the industry deals with increasing levels of complexity.


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Symancyk has strong collaboration credentials. Before his current position, he had been COO at Meijer, overseeing retail operations, supply chain, manufacturing, merchandising and marketing. Before that, he spent 12 years at Sam's Club, Bentonville, Ark., in a number of roles.

In accepting the award, he saluted industry and company colleagues, and also emphasized the unique mission of the food industry.

"When we do things well, we're making life better for people," he said.

Read more: Manufacturers urged to rethink group strategies

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