NGA Announces 2021 Board of Directors

Washington, D.C. – The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, announced its newly elected board of directors. Eight individuals, by recommendation of the NGA Board nominating committee and subsequent vote by the membership, and one appointed individual will join these re-elected board members to serve on the 2021 NGA Board of Directors.

Among retailers, the new board members are Melissa Buonadonna-Hernandez, president, Buonadonna ShopRite; Carlos Castro, president, Todos Supermarket; and Jimmy Nichols, chief operations officer, Houchens Industries.

The two newly elected wholesalers are Manard Lagasse, president/CEO, Associated Grocers Inc.; and Michele Azar, president, Merchant Distributors Inc.

Other newly elected board members include Robert Graybill, president and CEO, FMS Solutions; Rick Brindle, vice president, industry development, Mondelez International; Mike Ridenour, ‎head of industry relations and sales operations, The Kraft Heinz Co.; and Kathy Kuzava, president, Georgia Food Industry Association. Scott Widtfelt, EVP commercial, natural and independents, KeHE Distributors, was appointed to fill a vacancy.

Re-elected board members include Jennifer Bosma, Harvest Market; Neil Greenstein, Brookdale ShopRite; David Bullard, Piggly Wiggly AL Dist. Co.; Winston Griffin, Laurel Grocery Co.; Lori Raya, SpartanNash; and Joe Wolf, Alliance Retail.

“I’m pleased to welcome our newly elected members to the Board of Directors and thank them for their willingness to serve our organization. Being a representative for the membership of NGA is a great responsibility and I know each of these members will provide valuable contributions and perspective that will help guide NGA as we approach our 40th anniversary,” said Mike Stigers, NGA chairman of the board and CEO of Cub Foods.” “I also want to extend my deep appreciation for our outgoing board members who have provided invaluable service to the membership, especially over the past year as our industry navigated the challenges of the COVID pandemic. Their contributions and leadership have ensured NGA is an effective advocate for its membership.”

NGA would like to thank the following outgoing board members for their service and leadership: Neal Berube, Associate Food Stores; Michelle Hurd, Iowa Grocery Industry Association; Roger Lowe Jr., Lowe’s Market; Bob McTeir, Merchant Distributors Inc.; Richard Morgan, North State Grocery Inc.; Brian Moyer, Freshop; and Eligio Pena, Compare Foods.

“I’m grateful to our outgoing Board of Directors members who have volunteered countless hours away from their businesses to serve our association, particularly over the past year,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of NGA. “Their guidance and support have kept NGA on a strong path of growth and effective advocacy for independent grocers. I’m also looking forward to working with our newly elected board members, who represent a diverse cross section of the independent supermarket community. I know their unique perspective and leadership will be essential as we guide NGA into its 40th year of being the voice of the independent supermarket industry.”

Also elected were officers and members to the NGA Foundation Board of Regents for 2021-22:

  • Chairman: Kirk Clark, director of merchandising, Mitchell Grocery Corp.
  • Vice Chairman: Dante Franceschelli, director of corporate development, C&S Wholesale Grocers
  • Secretary: Kelli Schaefer-McSpiritt, director of advertising, Wakefern Food Corp.
  • Treasurer: Robert Graybill, president and CEO, FMS Solutions Holdings
  • Members: Heidi Huff, vice president – business partnerships, IGA Inc.; and Thomas Gioielli, head of industry relations – customer development, Unilever

About NGA: NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for close to one percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating $131 billion in sales, 944,000 jobs, $30 billion in wages and $27 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about NGA, visit

About NGA Foundation: The NGA Foundation is the 501(c)3 nonprofit arm of the National Grocers Association. The Foundation provides independent retailers with tools to develop more effective recruiting programs, enhance retention efforts and bolster professional leadership development opportunities for employers. For more information, visit