The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) and the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) have jointly announced that the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats will welcome three additional food industry leaders into the Frozen Food Hall of Fame next year: the late E. Glen Grader, William S. Smittcamp and Ron Suchecki.
E. Glen Grader began working as the manager of a frozen food facility for Stokely-Van Camp in Marysville, Washington, during 1951. The US Marine Corps veteran and graduate of the University of Washington later moved with the company to Albany, Oregon, where he went on to found Albany Frozen Foods next to a cold storage facility in 1961. Starting up and successfully developing the company was one of his most satisfying career accomplishments.
In 1975 Grader sold Albany Frozen Foods to Seabrook Foods, Inc. Following the transaction, he held executive positions with Seabrook Foods, Oxnard Frozen Foods Corp. and Continental Companies. In 1986, while at Oxnard Frozen Foods, he served as chairman of the board for AFFI. Grader retired in 1987 and 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. While attending college in the early 1980s he directed the company’s fresh operation, Wawona Ranch, packing peaches, plums and nectarines. In 1983 he assumed command of Wawona Frozen Foods, which at the time was processing and freezing approximately 15 million pounds of freestone peaches and 5 million pounds of strawberries. Today the company ranks as the largest frozen peach processor in the United States.
Smittcamp joined the AFFI board of directors in 1988 and was appointed as AFFI Western Frozen Food Convention chair in 1995. In 1997 he was named AFFI chairman of the board, and currently serves on the Frozen Food Foundation’s board of directors.
Ron Suchecki served as vice president of sales for Ateeco, Inc./Mrs.T’s Pierogies for nearly 27 years before retiring in December of 2015 after undergoing a heart transplant the previous year. Today he continues to consult with the Shenandoah, Pennsylvania-headquartered company on a limited basis, and enjoys mentoring rising stars in the frozen food industry through his association with NFRA and the Frozen and Refrigerated Association of the North East (FRANE).
Suchecki served as NFRA’s convention chairman from 2005-09. He was recognized in 2015 as FRANE’s Person of the Year, and was also presented with a prestigious Golden Penguin Award from NFRA for his dedication to the industry and National Frozen Food Month.
All three of the new inductees will be honored at the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats meeting during the AFFI Frozen Food Convention (AFFI-CON) on March 4, 2017, in San Diego, California.
The Frozen Food Hall of Fame was established in 1990 by the Distinguished Order of Zerocrats, an organization of industry members whose purpose is to maintain the tradition of promoting the image and advancement of the frozen food business. Its membership nominates and votes on the newest inductees, whose dedication and hard work have greatly benefited the industry.