The California Grocers Association Educational Foundation is recognizing two grocery executives for their service to the industry. Jim Lee, president and COO of Stater Bros. Markets and Vic Chiono, vice president of sales, west U.S., Coca-Cola Refreshments, will be inducted into the CGA’s Hall of Achievement on Thursday, April 11, 2013, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center in Pomona, Calif.
The Foundation’s Hall of Achievement was created in 1993, and recognizes California grocery retailers and suppliers who have contributed substantially to the advancement of the grocery industry.
“This year’s inductees are true icons of our industry,” says CGAEF President Ronald Fong. “Their unwavering dedication to the success of our industry, and their unselfish and devoted commitment to the communities they serve make both individuals worthy recipients of this year’s award.”
Jim Lee – Stater Bros. Markets
Jim joined Stater Bros. Markets as Group Senior Vice President of Retail Operations in 2002, bringing to the company over 30 years of supermarket experience. Headquartered in San Bernardino, Calif., Stater Bros. is a Fortune 500 company, and the largest privately owned supermarket chain based in Southern California with 167 stores, nearly $3.8 billion in annual sales, and over 18,000 employees.
Jim began his grocery career with Ralphs Grocery Company in 1972 as a clerk’s helper. He was promoted to various positions during his 25 years at the Company including: Store Manager, District Manager, Vice President of Store Operations Administration and Vice President Store Operations, Northern Division and Southern Divisions. His last position with Ralphs was Group Vice President of the Central Division.
Prior to joining Stater Bros., Jim was President and Chief Operating Officer, from 1996 to 2001, of Wild Oats Markets, Inc. based in Boulder, Colorado; which at the time, was the second largest chain of natural foods supermarkets in North America, with annual sales of over $1 billion. During his time with Wild Oats, he helped the company “go public” and oversaw a 600 percent increase in sales.
In 2008, Jim was honored by Azusa Pacific University with the Academic Hall of Honor Award. He was the USC Marshall School of Business, Food Industry Management (FIM) Program Food Industry Executive of the Year for 2010. Most recently, Jim received the 2011 Humanitarian Award from The California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ). He is on the WAFC Executive Committee and served as President in 2007-2008.
He is on the Advisory Board for the City of Hope Food Industries Circle, a past board member of the Food Marketing Institute, former trustee for the California Grocers Association Educational Foundation, and is a Vice President on the Board of Directors for Topco Associates, LLC.
Jim and his wife Nancy (also a supermarket “veteran”) are both native Southern Californians and reside in Newport Beach, Calif. They have been married 39 years, and have two daughters and four grandchildren.
Vic Chiono, Coca-Cola Refreshments
Vic Chiono is Area Vice President of Sales for Coca-Cola Refreshments, with responsibilities for the Central and West United States. Vic has been in sales and sales marketing for over 36 years, just completing over 26 years within Coca-Cola, holding numerous sales and management positions.
Vic got started in the grocery industry at age 10 sorting bottles and sweeping the parking lots of his father’s Safeway store. He worked through high school and college as a checker and shelf stocker. After graduating from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Vic started his career by joining Unilever as a sales representative selling food, health and beauty products to 135 retail stores.
In 1987, after obtaining several management positions within Unilever, Vic joined Coca-Cola where he has enjoyed a successful career selling all Minute Maid, Gold Peak, Simply Beverages, and juice drink products. Most of his sales background has been working with retailers throughout the United States. From 1996 to 1999, he shifted his focus to the Food Service division establishing Minute Maid products as a staple in restaurants, theme parks and hotel chains.
Vic resides with his wife Barbara and their two sons, Armando (A.J.) and Austin, in Southern California.