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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has presented the Donald H. MacManus Association Executive Award to Jarron Springer, past president of the Nashville-based Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association (TGCSA).
Springer received the highest recognition for a state affairs executive at an awards ceremony held 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," noted Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI, during the ceremony. "Jarron is a middle Tennessean who has dedicated himself to being in the middle of every state battle impacting our industry."
'Red, White and Food' Campaign
As president of TGCSA, Springer executed a campaign advocating for the sale of wine in food stores that was known as "Red White and Food." His seven years of work on the issue before the Tennessee General Assembly led to the March 2014 enactment of a bill allowing for local referendums to let Tennessee residents decide whether food stores can carry wine.
Further, the association led a seven-year effort to extend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) distribution dates from 10 to 20 days, thereby eliminating long grocery lines. This work with the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Governor’s office and Tennessee General Assembly also eased retailers' stocking issues and labor concerns.
Springer also worked on solving food access problems, as shown by his serving as principal contact for the Tennessee Grocery Access Task Force, which issued recommendations for state leaders to reduce food deserts across the state.
During Springer's nine-year stint 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 went to students in the industry. During this same time period, TGEF annual fundraising grew by 50 percent.
Springer was board president of the Tennessee Society of Association Executives in 2012, and a member of the FMI Government Relations Committee from 2009 to 2010. He was also treasurer of the Food Industry Association Executives in 2013, and a member of the Tennessee Food Safety Task Force and Keep Tennessee Beautiful Advisory Council.