Alabama’s Food Industry Finest Luncheon
ALABAMA GROCERS ASSOCIATION GIVES ANNUAL YEAR AWARDS AND HOSTS LEGISLATIVE SPEAKERS AT FOOD INDUSTRY FINEST LUNCHEON
BIRMINGHAM, AL—The Alabama Grocers Association held their annual Food Industry Finest Luncheon on Thursday, November 1st honoring their wholesaler and vendor of the year award winners. Speakers included Governor Kay Ivey;
Congressman Gary Palmer, District 6;
Commissioner John McMillan, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries;
Rick Pate, Candidate for Commissioner, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries;
and Thom Singer, Motivational Speaker.
The food retail industry in Alabama provides of 69,000 jobs with over $2.2 billion in annual wages paid. Grocers pay over 1.2 billion in state taxes and have a total economic impact on the state’s economy of over $12 billion dollars.
More than 150 people attended the event at The Club to discuss the work of the Alabama Grocers Association in 2018 and those in the food, beverage and grocery profession here in Alabama.
“Both of these fine individuals hold a special place within the Alabama grocery industry. They are committed to providing outstanding customer service, growth and stability in the Alabama market and serve as examples of excellence in the industry,” said Ellie Taylor, President Alabama Grocers Association. “We are thankful for the opportunity to honor them and their commitment.”
Vendor of the Year
Curtis Lyons was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida to Ruth & Curtis Lyons, Sr. In 1983 he attended Clark College on a football scholarship where he played tailback and ran track, majoring in Education. During summers Curtis worked for Flowers Baking Company as company extra man to make money paying for rent and living expenses.
Halfway through his senior year, with his eyes set on the NFL, God had other plans for Curtis. He tore his knee, ending his football career. Not getting discouraged, Curtis turned to his part time job and in 1985 joined Flowers Baking Company full time running his first bread route. Through the Years Curtis has held positions throughout the company such as District Manager, Sales Manager, Director of Sales and the title he most coveted, Vice President, which he has held since 2005. He contributes achieving his current position through hard work, his leadership abilities and extensive knowledge in the bread and grocery business. Curtis knows you cannot be successful without the team you build around you and is most proud of seeing the District Managers he has been able to help develop and see promoted to Vice Presidents. Mentoring others has always been a passion for Curtis.
Family is a huge part of his life and Curtis feels very blessed with a supportive family. His first wife, Lisa of 22 years gave him 2 amazing children Ashley and Curtis, III and his current wife Deirdre of 6 years has a remarkable son Winston. Some of his favorite time is when the entire family gets together and spends the holiday together as one unit.
Curtis has served on the Alabama Grocers Association Board of Directors for the last 5 years and has served on several AGA Committees. In 2015 Curtis was honored with the Spirit Award at Flowers Foods.
In his spare time Curtis loves sports, running, cycling, golfing and anything that keeps him motivated or spending time with his family and community.
Wholesaler of the Year
Danny Babb began his grocery career at age 17 in Richmond, Kentucky bagging groceries at Thornberry’s SuperValu.
He learned a lot of valuable lessons at Thornberry’s. Be on time, greet and thank the customers and if you work hard and learn to run the cash register you could get a nickel per hour raise! Other lessons learned were that just because you become the shift manager, not everyone will do what you say and not every pretty girl who wants to cash a $100 check can be trusted. With these lessons, Danny took his lessons to Winn-Dixie as he completed his education in Business Administration at Eastern Kentucky University.
Danny moved on to a 10-year career in retail with Winn-Dixie in the Nashville area which was a fantastic launching pad for the rest of his career. Winn-Dixie is also where he met his wife of 30 years, Helen, a former Proctor and Gamble representative. In 1984 Danny had the opportunity to move to the wholesale side of the grocery industry with Malone and Hyde, which was acquired by Fleming and for the last 15 years Associated Wholesale Grocers. During that 34-year time frame he has served as a labor management specialist, retail counselor, customer service supervisor, HBC/GM Group Manager, Director of Training and New Business Development Manager.
Danny has attended Alabama Grocers Association Conventions and events since early in his career and has served on the AGA Board of Directors for nearly two years.
Danny and his wife Helen have two children, Meredith (25) and Neal (23). Meredith lives and works in NYC for Universal McCann advertising agency and Neal, a Mary G Hardin scholarship recipient is a Senior at South Eastern Louisiana University.
“We are honored to have so many amazing people in the grocery industry that care about their customers and the communities they serve. The two individuals we honored today all have a high standard and level of commitment to their companies and the people of Alabama,” said Frank D’Amico, III of BTC Wholesale and Chairman of the Alabama Grocers Association. “I congratulate both of them on receiving the Associations highest honor”.
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