Golden Pencil winners for 2015 announced

Longo, Gattuso and Smith to receive grocery industry's highest honour

The Food Industry Association of Canada has announced that Longo Brothers’ Gus Longo, GS1’s Arthur Smith and Lassonde’s Jean Gattuso will receive this year’s Golden Pencil Award.

The Golden Pencil is the grocery industry’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. Longo, Gattuso and Smith will receive their awards Nov. 23 in Toronto.

CLICK here to purchase tickets to the Golden Pencil Awards

Longo (left in photo) co-founded Longo’s with his brothers, Tommy and Joe, in Toronto in 1956. The first store was a small 1,500 sq. ft. fruit stand.

Today, Longo’s encompasses more than 25 supermarkets across the Greater Toronto Area, employing more than 5,000 people. The company is regularly mentioned by industry insiders as one of the most admired supermarket chains in the country.

Gattuso (right in photo) is the president and CEO of A. Lassonde Inc., the Quebec-based juice maker whose brands include Oasis, Fruité and Allen’s.

Starting in the grocery industry in 1979 with Standard Brands, Gattuso joined Lassonde in 1987 and has led the company since 2004.

Gattuso oversaw Lassonde’s recent expansion into the United States with the purchase of Clement Pappas & Co of New Jersey in 2011 and New York-based Apple & Eve last year.

The Food Industry Association of Canada, a not-for-profit, first presented the Golden Pencil in 1957. That year’s winner: Milton J. Cork of Loblaw Groceterias.

The award has been presented each year since then with two winners traditionally recognized: one supplier (Gattuso, this year) and one retailer or wholesaler (Longo).

Some years, however, the association elects to give a third award to a person who has made significant contributions to the grocery industry but who does not work for a supplier or a retailer–an association head, for instance.

Such is the case this year with the decision to bestow the Golden Pencil on Smith.

The founder and CEO of not-for-profit GS1 Canada, Smith (centre in photo) has been at the forefront of supply chain standards and bar codes ever since he launched the Electronic Commerce Council of Canada (the forerunner of GS1) in 1997.

The Golden Pencil acknowledges efforts to improve the Canadian food industry and is given to individuals who, through their career, have made a significant and worthwhile contribution to the industry as well as their communities.

Each year the Food Industry Association’s nominations committee considers candidates from both the grocery industry at large and the association’s executive committee.

Last year’s Golden Pencil recipients were Louise Wendling, the former country manager of Costco Canada, and Mark Guay, president of PepsiCo Canada’s food business.

READ: 2014 Golden Pencil winners receive their awards

Other recent winners include Dino Bianco of Kraft, Eric La Flèche of Metro, Les Mann of Walmart and Phil Donne of Campbell.

The Golden Pencil award ceremony for Longo, Gattuso and Smith will be held Nov. 23 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, from 5 to 7 p.m. To order tickets click here.

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