Every year, hundreds of professionals representing the broad spectrum of California’s grocery industry convene for three days in Palm Springs to collaborate, network and develop new approaches to their businesses. CGA combines the Strategic Conference’s foundational elements with an exciting line-up of speakers that challenges you to think differently and anticipate the changing trends and new directions of the industry. Add in constant opportunities to connect with your most important partners all in one location at one time and you have the gold standard of industry conferences.

The CGA Strategic Conference is proud to offer an event that is not time spent AWAY from business, but rather time INVESTED IN your business.

Ultimately, nothing speaks to the enduring success of the CGA Strategic Conference like the praise of our participants, who affirm that this annual gathering is an ever-renewing source of challenging ideas, perceptive advice, and solid connections to implement and build on in the year ahead.

“Everything is provided by CGA staff and planning for the Retailer to derive maximum benefit from the valuable time devoted to attending. Bring the right people and be prepared to collaborate and you will be satisfied.”


Stater Bros. Markets

2017 CGA Strategic Conference Planning Committee

Jim Wallace (CGA Board Chair)
VP General Manager, Pavilions
Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions

Bob Parriott (Committee Chair)
Twain Harte Market

Renee Amen
Super A Foods

Teresa Anaya
Dir., Sales Promotions & Demonstrations
Northgate Gonzalez Markets

Kevin Arceneaux
Regional VP, West Area Sales
Mondelez International, Inc.

Rich Arnold
VP, Sales – Grocery
Oberto Brands

Dennis Belcastro
VP, Industry Affairs & Customer Development
Kimberly-Clark Corporation

David Bell
Houwellings Tomatoes

Mike Bowers
Sr. Dir., Asset Protection
Northgate Gonzalez Markets

Cindy Chikahisa
VP, Operations/Training
Sprouts Farmers Markets

Darrell Costello
Sales Director
Roplast Industries Inc.

Willie Crocker
Dir. Retail Customers South
Bimbo Bakeries, USA

Leon Bergmann
Ex.VP, Sales, Procurement & Logistics
Unified Grocers, Inc.

Bob Bukovec
Dir., Grocery Sales
Tyson Foods, Inc.

Vic Chiono
VP Sales, West USA
Coca-Cola Refreshments

Brent Cotten
Dir., Customer & Industry Affairs
The Hershey Company

Dave Dimond
Senior VP, Sales
Milton’s Baking Company

Kendra Doyel
VP, Community Affairs & Government Relations
Ralphs Grocery Company

Jim Van Gorkom
SVP, Sales & Marketing
NuCal Foods

Dave Jones
VP, Industry Initiatives
Kellogg Company.

Paul Kamholz
VP, Sales & Marketing
Baswood Corporation


Kevin Konkel
Senior VP, Operations

Tracy Lape
Dir. Sales
NuCal Foods

Dave Madden
Regional Chain Director

Mario Mediati
Dir., Sales West
The Clorox Company

Dan Meyer
EVP, Retail Operations
Stater Bros. Markets

Philip Miller
VP West Region
C & S Wholesale Grocers

Hee-Sook Nelson
VP, Employee Development & Marketing
Gelson’s Markets

Mark Olejnik
Sales Manager
C&H Sugar Company/ASR Group

Nicole Pesco
Chief Executive Officer
Save Mart Supermarkets

Chris Podesto
Executive Director, Marketing
Food4Less/Rancho San Miguel Markets

Laura Price
VP, National Accounts

Veronica Rendon
Dir., Field Marketing
Alta Dena Certified Dairy, LLC

Mike Rideour
Head, Industry Relations & Sales Operations
Kraft Heinz Company

Craig Rosenblum
Sr. Director
Willard Bishop an Inmar Analytics Company

Julie Sanchez
Executive Assistant
Whole Foods Market

Dennis Spiller
VP, National Sales
Jelly Belly Candy Co.

Joe Toscano
Dir. Business Development
Nestle Purina

Richard Wardwell
Exec. SVP, Operations
Superior Grocers


A note from the 2017 CGA Strategic Conference Committee Chair:

“This is the premier event of the year. It is highly productive and the best large scale networking opportunity in the industry. I particularly appreciate that it’s down to business and making the most of the three-day investment of my time. I come away tired but energized by the new ideas and friends that I’ve made by participating in the most well-organized and executed conference.”


Twain Harte Market