Lara Head Shot July 2014 Final 546a1bdb25dc1

We all have an opinion of what defines a champion. The same applies for our inaugural “Food Logistics Champions: Rock Stars of the Supply Chain” award, which launches in this issue. The obvious attributes are industry experience, a willingness to go the extra mile, working up through the corporate ladder and so on. And while these are admirable and important traits, not everyone approaches challenges the same way or pursues a career in a traditional fashion.

With this new award, our intention was to dig a little deeper, cast a wider net, and introduce our audience to a group of champions who posses skill sets and achievements—conventional and less common—that are making their mark on the global food supply chain.

The 2015 group of champions reflects this objective quite well. It’s a complex and seemingly incongruent mix of people who made the list, which in fact mirrors the diversity and dynamic nature of the global food supply chain itself.

I personally knew two of the champions on our list—Steven LaVoie and Jock Menzies—and while they are no longer with us, their impact on me was significant.

Steven and I made a connection early on because we both shared an interest in wine. He was also from California and attended the University of California at Berkeley and the Yale School of Management. Steven was one of the few industry executives who could use the word “existential” when talking about supply chains and get away with it. I admired his intellect and enthusiasm. We were both looking forward to my next visit to Chicago. Steven was going to pull out the ‘good stuff’ from his cellar and do some showing off. I’ll keep the wine glass handy until we meet again.

Jock was a fixture at so many industry events over the years; always making the rounds to say “hi” to everyone (and it really did seem like he knew everyone). He was a master at getting people to understand how important it is for the logistics industry to involve itself in disaster relief, particularly ALAN (American Logistics Aid Network). Jock’s dedication and determination was incredible and helped us all have a deeper appreciation for the work we do and how logistics plays such an important role in our world. With Kathy Fulton at the helm now, Jock’s vision is sure to continue growing.

These two gentlemen—Steven and Jock—were giving and global-minded people first, and phenomenal at their jobs second. In other words, true champions.

Enjoy the read.