2012 Winners Announced
The Nominating Committee of the Food Industry Association of Canada recieved record response for nominations of the 2012 Golden Pencil Award, the grocery industry's highest honour. The Association's Chairman, Peter Singer of Thomas, Large & Singer Inc., announced that this year's recipients are:
Les Mann, Senior Vice President, Foods & Consumables, Walmart Canada Corporation
Michael Higgins, Co-Cheif Executive Officer, Mother Parker's Tea & Coffee Inc.
Paul Higgins, Co-Cheif Executive Officer, Mother Parker's Tea & Coffee Inc.
Les Mann is Senior Vice President, food and consumables at Walmart Canada. He brings over 40 years of experience to his current role, in which he is responsible for building the company’s food and consumables business. Les joined Walmart in 2002, as National Food Manager. Since then, he has overseen the expansion of Walmart Canada’s food offering across the country. In 2006, Walmart introduced supercentres in Ontario and today operates more than 200 Supercentres in 6 provinces.
Les began his career at Steinberg / Miracle Food Mart, where he progressed from grocery clerk to Group Vice President and General Manager. In this role he was responsible for the day to day operations as well as the future growth and development of Steinberg’s business in Ontario. Prior to joining Walmart, Les spent 10 years as Senior Vice President at Sobey’s working five years in the wholesale business and another five years in the retail business in Ontario.
Throughout his career, Les has been recognized as a leader in the industry. He serves on the Retail Council of Canada Grocery Division Board and the Editorial Board of Canadian Grocer. He served as Vice Chairman and board member of the former Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. He has also served on the executive board of the Food Industry Association of Canada. He has made significant contributions to charity and has been recognized as a top fund raiser for Children’s Miracle Network. During his working career, Les earned a Bachelor of Commerce, Honors Business Administration degree from the University of Windsor.
Les is most proud of his daughter, four sons, daughter-in-laws and three grandchildren. He and his wife, Tamara, enjoy travelling, hiking and spending time together in Florida. His interests include mentoring people in building a career in retailing and he also has a keen focus on preserving the environment for future generations.
Michael Higgins is Co-Chief Executive Officer of Mother Parker's Tea & Coffee. He has worked in the family business for over 30 years, and has an instrumental role in the Sales & Marketing areas of the company in Food Service and Retail.
Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee Inc. is a family business since 1912 and is a leader in the coffee and tea industry in North America with plants in Mississauga and Ajax (Canada) and Fort Worth, Texas (U.S.A). Mother Parkers specializes in premium private brands in both the Grocery and Food Service trades. The company’s own brands include: Mother Parker's, Higgins & Burke, Martinson, and Brown Gold (which are prominent in New York City area).
Michael Higgins is a third generation family member and operates the company with his brother Paul.
Over his career he and the company have received many accolades and awards. Among them are: The 4th Annual Successors Award for Canadian Business 1989; named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies 1995, 1996 and 1997; Mississauga Board of Trade Outstanding Large Business of the Year Award 1997; Best New Plant of the Year Award (United States) 2001; 2005 Mayor’s Global Business Award – Fort Worth, Texas, and the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise GTA Family Enterprise of the Year 2011.
Michael has served on a number of boards and associations including: Young President Organization, Past President of Tea & Coffee Association of Canada; Director of the Tea Council of Canada; Past Chairman & Director of St. Bernard’s Hospital, and Past Board of Governor’s of St. Andrew’s College.
He enjoys golf, downhill skiing, tennis and boating on Lake Simcoe.
|Paul Higgins Jr
Paul Higgins is Co-Chief Executive Officer, Mother Parker's Tea & Coffee Inc., which is a family business since 1912 and is a leader in the coffee and tea industry in North American with plants in Mississauga, Ajax (Canada) and Forth Worth, Texas (U.S.A.).
Mother Parker’s specializes in premium private brands in both the Grocery and Food Service trades in North America. The company’s own brands include: Mother Parker's, Higgins & Burke, Real Cup, Martinson and Brown Gold (which are prominent in New York City area). Paul is a third generation family member and operates the company with his brother Michael. Paul’s experience over the last thirty years has encompassed every aspect of the business: Credit Manager, Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee Inc. 1976 – 1978; Sales Manager 1978 – 1980; Vice President Marketing 1980 – 1985; Vice President & General Manager 1985 – 1993; to now Co-Chief Executive Officer.
Mother Parker's has received numerous awards over the years, many which are listed in Michael Higgins' biography including being named one of Canada's 50 best managed companies three separate years. This year, 2012, marks Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee Inc.'s 100th Anniversary
Paul was educated at St. Andrew's College and the University of Western Ontario. He has served on several boards including Vice Chairman, Ontario Science Centre 1987 – 1990; Toronto Community Foundation 1994 – 2002; St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation 1996 – 2006; National Coffee Association 1987 – 1989, as well as Chairman of the Food & Consumer Products of Canada 1996 - 2000.
He is a member of the Granite Club, Briars Golf Club, Toronto Lawn & Tennis Club and spends spare time with tennis, boating, skiing and golf. He is married to Dr. Ursula Higgins and has three children: Shannon, Colleen, and Paul.
| The Golden Pencil Award was first presented in 1957 by The Food Industry Association of Canada. This Award was initiated to recognize the efforts of both buyer and seller in developing and improving the Canadian Food Industry.
The symbol used for this Award is a “Golden Pencil”, signifying the transaction between supplier and retailer by the stroke of a pen.
On an annual basis, the Nominations Committee reviews suggestions made by both the Executive Committee and the industry at large. The selection process normally will encompass as many as sixty to seventy worthy candidates. The criteria for selection is an individual who, through career dedication, has made a significant and worthwhile contribution to the Canadian Food Industry.
The Executive Committee is comprised of active senior executives representing suppliers, brokers, food processors, wholesalers and retailers. View the complete 2011 Executive Committee.
2012 Awards Ceremony
This year's awards ceremony will take place on:
Monday, November 19th 2012
5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.,
Concert Hall, Royal York Hotel
Tickets are now on sale for $110.00. Order Tickets Now.
Read about the history of the Golden Pencil Award
© 2012 Food Industry Association of Canada