Food Marketing Institute (FMI) presented its state-focused public affairs award, the Donald H. MacManus Association Executive Award, to Jarron Springer, past president of the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association (TGCSA). After 15 years of measurable service to the industry, Springer received the highest recognition for a state affairs executive at an awards ceremony during FMI’s Day in Washington fly in.
“The MacManus Award was created in 1990 as a means of recognizing the valued efforts of association executives and honoring those demonstrating extraordinary leadership in public affairs, industry relations and community relations,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin at the award ceremony. “Jarron is a middle Tennessean who has dedicated himself to being in the middle of every state battle impacting our industry.”
During his tenure as president of TGCSA, representing the interests of retail grocery store and convenience store operations as well as food industry wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, Jarron designed and implemented a campaign to advocate for the sale of wine in food stores that became known as “Red White and Food.” After seven years of work on the issue before the Tennessee General Assembly, a bill was enacted in March 2014 that will allow for local referendums to permit Tennesseans to decide if wine can be sold in food stores.
As another notable achievement, the association spearheaded a seven-year effort to extend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) distribution dates from 10 to 20 days, eliminating an unnecessary strain on SNAP clients and retail customers in the form of long grocery lines. The work with the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Governor’s office and Tennessee General Assembly also diminished stocking issues and labor concerns for retailers.
Springer demonstrated tireless efforts to resolve food access issues, which was further evidenced by serving as principal contact for the Tennessee Grocery Access Task Force that developed recommendations for state leaders to reduce “food deserts” across Tennessee.
During Springer’s nine years as president, the Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation (TGEF) endowment fund grew from $1.1 million to $1.8 million and $1.4 million in scholarships were awarded to students in the industry. TGEF annual fundraising also increased during this time by 50 percent.
Springer served as board president of the Tennessee Society of Association Executives in 2012 as well as a member of the FMI Government Relations Committee, from 2009-2010. He also served as treasurer of the Food Industry Association Executives in 2013 and as a member of the Tennessee Food Safety Task Force and Keep Tennessee Beautiful Advisory Council.