Our company’s CEO, Mark Skogen, is the recipient of this year’s Robert B. Wegman Award For Entrepreneurial Excellence, presented by FMI (the Food Industry Association). The award honors innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and imagination in the food industry.

A third-generation grocer, Skogen began working in the family business at a young age and transitioned to full-time status after college graduation. Over the next decade, he served in multiple department manager and store director roles before beginning his tenure as Festival Foods CEO and president in 2006, when his father, Dave Skogen, retired from the role.

Since then, 26 Festival Foods stores have opened for a total of 32 locations across Wisconsin. This growth directly coincides with the company’s commitment to developing and empowering each of its 7,500 associates – up from 2,000 associates in 2006.

Skogen said maintaining a strong internal culture is key to the success of Festival Foods. That culture flourishes, he added, because the company emphasizes both servant leadership and collaborative leadership. Another culture win that Skogen began in 2014 is Festival Foods’ daily huddle-ups. Each day, companywide, associates in every department and on every shift gather for a brief, informal meeting to review the Boomerang Basic of the Day, one of 27 rotating action steps related to executing the Festival Foods mission and values. These huddle-ups also give all associates the opportunity to celebrate birthdays and service awards as well as to share operations updates.

In the area of community involvement, Skogen has demonstrated his commitment by consistently growing the company’s charitable giving program during his time as CEO. A faithful community servant, he lives the family values the company was founded on in 1946. To date, tens of millions of dollars have been funneled back into the communities served by Festival Foods. Among its most notable event sponsorships are the Festival Foods Turkey Trot and Grocers on the Green Golf Outing, which together have raised more than $4 million to support Wisconsin YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs and The Einstein Project. Annual partnerships with 23 area communities help bring fireworks displays to hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents and visitors every Fourth of July.

“I always say that it’s not all that fulfilling to put a case of peas on the grocery shelf, but when we know we’ve made an impact in a community, that is something that our whole team can feel good about,” Skogen said.

Skogen received the award during last week’s FMI Midwinter Executive Conference.