SAVANNAH, GA. — At SNAXPO 2017, held April 1-4 in Savannah, SNAC International inducted Richard King, former president of Utz Foods, Hanover, Pa., as its 26th member of the prestigious Circle of Honor.
After a career that began in the shoe business, Mr. King worked for Utz since the 1980s, first overseeing marketing and sales and eventually taking over as president and chief operating officer. Using similar principles from the shoe industry — the practice of making a quality product to sell to consumers — Mr. King tapped into the basic fundamentals of marketing and selling to bring Utz sales from$42 million to $314 million over the course of 22 years. During that period, he also expanded Utz’s routes into markets such as the New York City metropolitan area and greater New England, ultimately growing the company to eight times its original size.
Tom Dempsey, chief executive officer of SNAC International, and former Utz executive vice-president under Mr. King, attributed the company’s growth to Mr. King’s strategic vision.
“It was a result of his understanding of how to implement his vision into those markets,” Mr. Dempsey said.
In addition to his business savvy, Mr. King was remembered as a leader.
“He was my boss, my mentor, my friend for more than 30 years,” Mr. Dempsey recalled.
Mr. King served as chairman of SNAC International — then known as the Snack Food Association — from 1996 to 1997, using his financial acumen to ensure that member dues were being allocated in the best possible way to support the association.
“He looked at the association as something that was vital to the industry,” said Jack Courier, retired Utz executive and former SNAC chair. “He didn’t care about how big or small a member company was. He was more concerned about the industry as a whole and felt the association was a place that could expand our industry for everyone.”
Mr. King passed away last September, leaving behind his wife, Estelle, two daughters and son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Even in his failing health, Ms. King recalled upon receiving the award in her husband’s honor, Mr. King “never missed a friend’s invitation, never missed a board meeting and never missed an opportunity to counsel,” Ms. King said.
“He was at home with our family, but he was also at home with his business relationships,” she recalled, thanking the Rice family for the opportunity at Utz. “He loved every day at work, and that’s something everyone should aspire to … love what you do.”
This distinction was developed to recognize individuals who have made credible contributions to the snack food industry.
“They’ve been leaders in their companies, whether business or associate members, and they’ve made differences in the industry and in our lives,” Mr. Dempsey said.
“Leaders like Rick are the reason the Circle of Honor was conceived,” said Mark Singleton, vice-president of sales and marketing, Rudolph Foods, Lima, Ohio.
As with each inductee, Mr. King’s name will be added to a plaque displayed at the SNAC International headquarters in Arlington, Va.