The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) recently saluted three industry leaders as recipients of the prestigious Frozen Food Hall of Fame Award. The 2017 inductees, selected by the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, are the late E. Glen Grader, founder of Albany Frozen Foods; William S. Smittcamp, president and chief executive officer of Wawona Frozen Foods; and Ron Suchecki, retired vice president of sales for Ateeco, Inc./Mrs. T’s Pierogies.
“The frozen food industry is one built on innovation. We are proud to honor and celebrate these three gentlemen whose achievements have made the growth and continued success of the industry possible,” said AFFI President and CEO Alison Bodor.
Members of the Grader, Smittcamp and Suchecki families were in attendance to recognize the hard work and dedication these men have provided to the industry, and the leadership roles they have played in the AFFI and NFRA trade associations.
E. Glen Grader founded Albany Frozen Foods in 1961 and successfully expanding the Oregon business until its sale in 1975 to Seabrook Foods, Inc. Thereafter he held executive positions with Seabrook Foods, Inc., Oxnard Frozen Foods Corp. and Continental Companies. Grader served as chairman of AFFI’s board of directors in 1986 and retired in 1987. He passed away on August 27, 2014.
William S. Smittcamp is president and chief executive officer of Wawona Frozen Foods in Clovis, California, a family-owned grower and processor of frozen fruit. He joined the AFFI board of directors in 1988, was appointed as the Western Frozen Food Convention chairman in 1995, and served as AFFI chairman of the board in 1997. Smittcamp is currently a member of the Frozen Food Foundation as well as AFFI’s board of directors.
Ron Suchecki was vice president of sales for Shenandoah, Pennsylvania-headquartered Ateeco, Inc./Mrs.T’s Pierogies for nearly 27 years before retiring in 2015.
He remains active with the Frozen and Refrigerated Association of the North East (FRANE), and received its “Person of the Year” award in 2015. Suchecki was NFRA’s convention chairman from 2005-2009 and continues to serve on the board of directors.
The Frozen Food Hall of Fame was established in 1990 by the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, an organization of industry veterans whose purpose is to maintain the tradition of promoting the image and advancement of the frozen food sector in the United States. The Hall of Fame Award honors high achievers whose imagination and innovation have ensured the continued growth and success of the business.