Mike RoachOutstanding leaders are vital to foodservice distribution companies in a rapidly changing foodservice industry. In conjunction with The IFDA Executive Development Program for Foodservice Distributors, IFDA and Ben E. Keith Foods established the Mike Roach Leadership Award to identify and recognize one outstanding participant from each annual class.

The award honors former Ben E. Keith Foods President J. Michael Roach and his many contributions to the foodservice distribution industry in his leadership at Ben E. Keith Foods, serving on the IFDA Board of Directors for 16 years, and serving for two years as the IFDA Chairman.

Mike-Roach-1.jpg“When Mike retired, we knew one of the true statesmen and leaders of this industry would be missed and we wanted a way to honor him for his contributions,” said Allen.

“A leadership award in Mike’s name fits perfectly to reinforce the ideals behind the IFDA Executive Development Program,” said Mike Sweet, president of Ben E. Keith Foods and a participant in the first class from the Darden Program in 2015.

In each class, peers as well as program leaders at Darden select a top student contributor who they believe embody leadership qualities that Mike Roach personified and encouraged in employees during his tenure at Ben E. Keith Foods. They include:

Exceptional Communicator: Demonstrates superior interpersonal skills, listens intently, and asks insightful questions in an effort to understand all perspectives.

Strong Critical Thinker: Raises vital questions, is open-minded and encourages alternative systems of thought, and is strong at identifying and analyzing problems and recommending practical solutions.

A Passion for People: Develops and sustains cooperative working relationships and encourages continual learning within the team environment.

Visionary Leadership: Exhibits creative foresight and a unique ability to inspire others.

Peer Respect: Demonstrates a strong work ethic, is likeable and trustworthy, and recognizes and appreciates the ability of others.Mike-Roach-2.jpg

Each year’s award recipient is identified based on nominations from IFDA Executive Development Program participants. The recipient receives an all-expenses paid trip to the IFDA Distribution Solutions Conference, where he or she will be recognized at a general session with all attendees.

2022 Mike Roach Leadership Award Recipient

Nicola Buchanan of Performance Foodservice Awarded the Mike Roach Leadership Award

2020/2021 Mike Roach Leadership Award Recipient

IFDA Names Dana Van Voorhis of Sysco the Winner of the 2020-2021 Mike Roach Leadership Award

2019 Mike Roach Leadership Award Recipient

IFDA Names Lori Fowler of Performance Foodservice the Winner of the Mike Roach Leadership Award

2018 Mike Roach Leadership Award Recipient

IFDA Names Kirk Stowell of B&C Food Distributors the Winner of the 2018 Mike Roach Leadership Award​

2017 Mike Roach Leadership Award Recipient

Frank Case of Performance Foodservice Receives 2017 Mike Roach Leadership Award

2016 Mike Roach Leadership Award Recipient

James Cheatham of Merchants Foodservice Receives Inaugural Mike Roach Leadership Award