The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) have announced that the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats has selected three food industry leaders as the 2012 Frozen Food Hall of Fame inductees.
The 2012 inductees are Nevin Montgomery, retired President/CEO of NFRA; Dr. H. Reid Wagstaff, retired vice president of government and environmental affairs for J.M. Smucker Co.; and the late Benjamin Zdatny, former vice chairman/COO of the Di Giorgio Corporation. The inductees will be honored at the Grand Awards Reception & Banquet on Tuesday, Oct, 9, 2012, at the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention in Washington, D.C. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park.
Montgomery joined NFRA as director of membership in 1973 when it was the National Frozen Food Association. He served as director of education, vice president and executive vice president prior to being named president in 1984. During his tenure as president, Montgomery established the financial stability of the association and met its goal of having one year of operating expenses in reserve. Under his leadership, NFFA launched the first National Frozen Food Month in 1984 establishing the association’s promotional focus. In 2001, Montgomery embraced the organization’s need to evolve as refrigerated dairy products became an integral part of the association, renaming NFFA as the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association. He remained president/CEO of NFRA until his retirement in 2010.
Wagstaff joined Smucker at their Salinas, CA, plant in 1976 to handle environmental waste issues at their West Coast plants. He later worked as director of fruit procurement and was promoted to the position of vice president of government and environmental affairs in 1984, where he worked closely with trade associations in Washington. Wagstaff is a past chairman of AFFI and served on the boards of many other organizations including the California Strawberry Commission, International Jelly and Preserve Association, America’s Second Harvest and the Frozen Food Foundation, and he also chaired the environmental committee of the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association. Wagstaff previously served in the U.S. Air Force as an aerial photo interpreter.
Zdatny established Service Frozen Food Industry in the early 1950’s, which supplied frozen foods to retailers in the greater New York area. He later sold the company to the Di Giorgio Corp., where it became the White Rose Co.. Zdatny left Di Giorgio for a short time to become the president of Weight Watchers, where he successfully developed a line of frozen and ice cream novelty products. In 1974, he returned to White Rose as president, and in 1984, he became chairman of White Rose and vice chairman/COO of Di Giorgio. Zdatny was active with the Eastern Frosted Foods Association and previously served on the board of NFRA. He was vice chairman and partner of Nova Foods, a marketing and management consultancy in Chicago, before his death in 1995.
The Distinguished Order of Zerocrats is an organization of industry members whose mission is to maintain the tradition of promoting the image and advancement of the frozen food industry. The Zerocrats established the Frozen Food Hall of Fame in 1990 to honor individuals who have helped shape the industry with their hard work and dedication. Members of the Zerocrats nominate and vote on the newest inductees, and a special industry-wide ceremony honors the imagination and innovation that have ensured the continued success of the frozen food industry.