Published Monday, August 21, 2017
by Brandon Scholz


The Wisconsin Grocers Association (WGA) will be recognizing Steve Burkhardt, Vice President of Operations Support, at Skogen’s Festival Foods, for his outstanding contributions to the grocery industry in Wisconsin with the Excellence in Operations Award. Steve was nominated by Mike Mesich, Sr. VP, Store Operations, at Skogen’s Festival Foods. The award will be part of a surprise announcement at the Festival Foods Support Center, 1724 Lawrence Dr., De Pere, on Monday, August 21st at 9:30 a.m.

This is the fourteenth year the WGA has presented the Excellence in Operations Award. “The award is intended to recognize store owners, managers and store directors in the grocery industry who are on the front-lines every day and instrumental in the success of their stores,” said Brandon Scholz, President & CEO of the WGA.

Steve Burkhardt started his grocery career in 1987, as a bagger at the Center 90 IGA Store in Onalaska, WI. In 1990, he helped open the first Festival Foods in Onalaska, WI. In 1991, he answered the open call for leaders and transferred to the Center 90 IGA store, where Steve helped turn around the struggling store and gained a reputation as a leader not afraid to take on challenges. Over the next 10 years, Steve built on his leadership skills with leadership roles in nearly every store department, and as a result, he earned many promotions over the years. From Assistant Store Director, to Store Director at several Festival locations, Steve was named Festival’s Director of Operations in 2011, a position he held until being promoted to Vice President Store Operations in 2013. Steve was recently appointed Vice President of Operations Support in 2016, where he is responsible for 28 Festival Foods stores, two support offices and a maintenance office.

It is in his recent role that Steve’s leadership and forward thinking vision has allowed Festival Foods to advance in the area of facilities innovations. Steve has reconstructed the company’s maintenance department and created a new position of Energy and Material Recovery Manager. He has championed new cost-saving ideas, such as revamping Festival Foods’ trucking program to improve logistics and transportations needs and spearheading a new cardboard recycling initiative.

According to Steve’s nomination, no one promotes the grocery industry to the public better than Steve. For over a decade, Steve has donned an Uncle Sam costume and a pair of stilts to promote Festival Foods in Fourth of July parades around Wisconsin. Since 2008, Steve has served on the board of the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, Appleton; and a Governing Board Elder and Vice Chair at Appleton Alliance Church (AAC). Both professionally and personally, Steve is considered to be a modest, selfless leader, who is always looking for ways to help his company, his colleagues, his industry, the organizations he serves and his family and friends.

A formal award will be presented to Steve Burkhardt at the Chairman’s Banquet during the WGA Innovation Expo on October 18th at the KI Center in Green Bay.

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