Join us on Tuesday, April 18 for a fascinating presentation about the food industry! Learn about the interplay between food innovations and consumer demand/trends from Dr. Michael Boland, University of Minnesota and Mary Kowalski & Kris Kowalski of Kowalski's Markets.
Learn about upcoming industry trends in the food industry over the next five years
Understand strategies being used by independent retail grocers to create competitive advantage in the retail grocery industry
Know about consumer response to these industry trends.
7:00 am - Registration
7:30 am - Seat for plated breakfast
7:50 - 8:50 am - Presentation
9 am - Closing Remarks
Dr. Michael Boland, University of Minnesota
Michael Boland (Mike) is professor of agricultural economics and holds the Koller endowed Professorship in agribusiness management and information technology in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota (UMN). Mike is director of the University of Minnesota Food Industry Center which is sponsored by Old Dutch, Midwest Dairy, and General Mills and an adjunct professor in the Mondale School of Law and the Carlson School of Management. He teaches a graduate course in agribusiness management in the Carson School of Management for students in applied economics, agricultural sciences, veterinary medicine, public affairs, and public health. Mike also teaches courses in farm management and cooperatives. Finally, Mike is the UMN representative for the Food Industry Coalition of the National Grocers Association (NGA) and works with a team of students in the NGA undergraduate case competition. He has worked with agribusinesses in Latin America, China, South Africa, Australia, and Europe.
Mary Anne Kowalski, Kowalski's Markets
Mary Anne Kowalski is at the forefront of the grocery industry. Her local grocery business was started in 1983, as she and her husband Jim used their life savings and a loan from a friend to take a ride down the grocery aisle. Since then, her family business has grown into eleven thriving Kowalski's Markets stores, a Cub Foods store, a central bakery and transportation facility, and she also continues to have minority ownership in three other Cub Foods stores. Kowalski is constantly working to improve the grocery industry through her role in trade organizations and initiatives. She is board chair of the Minnesota Active Citizenship Initiative past executive board member of Minnesota Grocers Association, past board member of Twin Cities Boys and Girls Club. Kowalski uses her business leadership role to help build a strong civic infrastructure within Kowalski's that impacts the world around her. She is the founder and chair of the Kowalski's for Kids Foundation, an organization which has raised more than $2 million for children at risk. Recently, Kowalski was Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the year, Upper Midwest and 3rd place Ernst & Young's Family Business, National. In 2009, she was a finalist in the American Business Ethics Award and in 2007 she was one of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's 2007 Women in Business Industry Leader award winners. In 2004, Kowalski was named the Minnesota Grocer of the Year, an annual award given by the Minnesota Grocers Association. In 2002, she was recognized for her many accomplishments by the National Grocers Association, and was selected as the Woman of the Year. She will always say that her real accomplishments, though, have come from building right relationships with her customers, co-workers, vendor partners, and stakeholders.
Kris Kowalski Christiansen, Kowalski's Markets
Kris Kowalski Christiansen knows a thing or two about the grocery business, having grown up in her family's stores. She has been a key part of Kowalski's Markets since its inception in 1983. Kowalski Christiansen began her career as a cashier at the Grand Avenue location in St. Paul, and has since mastered many other positions within the company including the deli, bakery, accounting office, and store management. Kowalski Christiansen received her bachelor's degree from the University of St. Thomas. She then received her Master of Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. After more than two decades of training and education, Kowalski Christiansen earned the position of chief operating officer for Kowalski's Markets. Kowalski Christiansen is constantly working to improve the grocery industry through her role in trade organizations and initiatives. She is a board member of Kowalski's 4 Kids foundation and a board member of Minnesota Grocer's Association. Recently, Kowalski Christiansen was Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the year, Upper Midwest and 3rd place Ernst & Young's Family Business, National. In 2012 she was named a Top Woman in Grocery, Senior Level Executive by Progressive Grocer and in 2009 was an American Business Ethics Award finalist. Now an integral part of the leadership team which manages the family business. Kowalski Christiansen is responsible for Kowalski's Markets store and company operations. She is constantly looking for new ways to extend the Kowalski's Markets experience for customers and employees.