Trio of SpartanNash associates recognized as Progressive Grocer GenNext Award winners

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

Meredith Gremel, Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Communications, 616-878-2830

National award recognizes individuals under the age of 40 whose innovation, leadership and commitment are making an impact in the grocery industry

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Recognizing the next generation of leaders in the grocery and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries, Progressive Grocer recently announced its 2020 GenNext Award winners, with a trio of SpartanNash associates among those being honored.

In total, 40 GenNext Award winners are being recognized for their work in bringing the industry into the future, including SpartanNash Director, Retail Meat and Seafood Dan Estelle; Director, E-commerce Matt Van Gilder; and Director, Retail Marketing Jessica Wong.

“At SpartanNash, we embrace the unique talents and backgrounds of our associates, because we know those perspectives are what set us apart and make SpartanNash a great place to work,” Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Yvonne Trupiano said. “Across our company, we have many up-and-coming leaders who are driving innovation and business results, all while leading by example and motivating others to achieve great things. We are proud of Dan, Jessica and Matt’s leadership and inspired by their vision.”

Dan Estelle
Director of Retail, Meat and Seafood
Age 35

Overseeing strategy implementation for the meat and seafood departments at more than 155 stores and supervising seven direct reports, Dan Estelle has a strong commitment to community support and the industry. In response to COVID-19, he partnered with seven local West Michigan restaurants to develop more than 35 products for a pre-packaged heat-and-serve program, donating 100 percent of the more than $100,000 in sales back to the restaurants. Estelle also leads efforts to reduce food waste: He lowered shrink through a partnership with the Flashfood app, interdepartmental promotion, and working with local food banks and food pantries. He’s also a member of the SpartanNash 100 Club, meaning that he volunteers for more than 100 hours per year with local charities.

Matt Van Gilder
Director, E-Commerce
Age 31

Matt Van Gilder joined SpartanNash as a service clerk while still in college and then completed the SpartanNash ASD Training Program. After several marketing positions, he made his way to e-commerce and has grown business by leading innovative products such as the development and launch of Fast Lane delivery and introducing GPS location technology to its click-and-collect program to nearly eliminate wait times. During COVID-19, when e-commerce increased by 500 to 600 percent year over year, he worked to train more than 150 new personal shoppers, quickly purchased and deployed new equipment, and put in place a system that allowed tips. Van Gilder is also very engaged with the community, donating Fast Lane services to local nonprofit partners such as the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge and local hospitals to enable their clients and patients to receive free delivery while undergoing treatment.

Jessica Wong
Director, Retail Marketing
Age 39

Jessica Wong executes key consumer-facing programs such as the rewards program and the retail health-and-wellness program, while also developing a comprehensive shopper marketing program, executing the weekly circular and in-store point of sale, and overseeing the promotional planning process. She led the Explore Michigan corporate initiative to create vendor partnerships and organize customer giveaways, so people could safely explore the state during COVID-19. She also transformed an in-studio partnership with two media outlets for “busy moms” and “ask an expert” segments to a one-person show amid the pandemic, prepping the food and filming the show from her house. Wong also launched a local campaign in July 2020 that included reaching out to farmers and producers for video and photos, asking them to share more about themselves and their operations.

Progressive Grocer’s GenNext Award recognizes individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in either the food retail or CPG industries; innovation through the work they are doing; leadership, including the capacity to inspire and lead others as well as continue to learn from others; and a commitment to getting involved in the industry by helping through charities or in the community.

In 2019, SpartanNash’s leadership team included 1,700 managers or higher across its company footprint. Of those, 20 percent are millennials or younger, according to the SpartanNash Corporate Responsibility: Social and Environmental Progress Report.

As part of its associate development efforts, SpartanNash has also launched a number of training and leadership courses, including “Inspirational Leadership” and “Excelling as a New Leader” courses. In 2019, associates completed nearly 10,000 leadership development courses to help them achieve their career objectives.

Through its GenNext Award, Progressive Grocer honors a new generation of leaders who are working together to better meet the needs of today’s evolving shopper.

All honorees will be recognized in Progressive Grocer’s November 2020 issue and at the GenNext Symposium.


About SpartanNash

SpartanNash (Nasdaq: SPTN) is a Fortune 400 company whose core businesses include distributing grocery products to a diverse group of independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges; as well as operating a premier fresh produce distribution network. SpartanNash serves customer locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Bahrain, Djibouti and Egypt. SpartanNash currently operates 156 supermarkets, primarily under the banners of Family Fare, Martin’s Super Markets, D&W Fresh Market, VG’s Grocery and Dan’s Supermarket. Through its MDV military division, SpartanNash is a leading distributor of grocery products to U.S. military commissaries.