WMU News

Head of Spartan Stores recognized for leadership, service

May 29, 1997

KALAMAZOO--Giving credit where credit is due took center stage at a Western Michigan University conference this spring, when one of the United States' leading food industry executives was honored for his exceptional leadership and service.

Patrick M. Quinn, chief executive officer of Spartan Stores Inc. since 1996, was named this year's recipient of WMU's Adrian Trimpe Distinguished Service Award and, as a special tribute, an endowed scholarship is being created in his name. The award was presented at WMU's 32nd annual Food Marketing Conference on the Kalamazoo campus.

Quinn of Caledonia joined Spartan Stores in 1985 as president and chief executive officer. Under his tutelage, the Grand Rapids-based firm has become the ninth largest grocery wholesaler in the United States. It had $2.54 billion in 1995-96 sales and last year ranked 487th on Fortune magazine's list of top 500 companies.

The new scholarship honoring Quinn was established to recognize the executive's accomplishments in the grocery industry as well as his service in support of WMU's nationally recognized Food Marketing Program, with which he has been involved for about 25 years.

Called the Patrick M. Quinn Food Marketing Scholarship, it will be awarded annually to one of WMU's outstanding food marketing students. The first recipient, sophomore Martin A. Murk of Centreville, was announced in March. Murk is the son of Trudy and Allan Murk, who, coincidentally, own three Spartan supermarkets, one each in Centreville, Colon and Three Rivers. He plans to work his way up the ladder and one day take over the family business.

The Adrian Trimpe Distinguished Service Award is given to individuals who have dedicated extraordinary time and effort to improving and enriching WMU's Food Marketing Program and students.

It was established in 1996 to honor the memory and achievements of the program's founder. Trimpe, who died in 1995, began the Food Marketing Program nearly 40 years ago. This is the second year the award has been bestowed.

"Pat's strong belief in higher education for the food industry, his willingness to commit his time and resources to supporting that belief, and his leadership and guidance to the students, faculty and constituents of the WMU Food Marketing Program make him a clear choice for this award," the University's Food Marketing Industry Advisory Board said in announcing this year's recipient.

In addition to those contributions, Dr. Andrew A. Brogowicz, chairperson of WMU's Department of Marketing, said Quinn has been an active supporter of the Food Marketing Program.

"He has, for instance, volunteered for a decade to serve as chairperson and co-chairperson of the annual fund-raising drives for the Food Marketing Program," Brogowicz said. "Last year, we were able to raise about $120,000 for the program. This year, thanks once again to Pat's help, we're well on our way to matching or surpassing that amount."

About $63,000 of the donated funds will be given out this fall in scholarships to 36 students. The remaining funds will be used to support such activities as updating food marketing software and sending students to trade conferences and an annual two-week industry study tour.

Quinn, who plans to retire as Spartan's CEO in July, is a graduate of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. He started his career in the grocery business as a sales representative for Nabisco, where he held a variety of management positions before joining D&W Food Centers in 1973. He served as executive vice president at D&W before being appointed president and chief executive officer of Spartan Stores.

The firm distributes about 40,000 products and provides several marketing, operational and customer support services to some 500 independently owned grocery stores in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. In addition, three Spartan subsidiaries distribute products to 11,500 convenience stores in eight states.

Quinn has been a member of several industry boards, including the National Grocers Association, of which he is a past chairman; the Michigan Grocers Association, of which he is a past president; the National-American Wholesale Grocers' Association; and the Food Marketing Institute.

Active in the Grand Rapids community, he is chairperson of the Grand Rapids Economic Club, an executive board member of the Right Place of Grand Rapids, a member of the Michigan Special Olympics Advisory Council and a board member of Old Kent Bank and the U.S. Marines Youth Foundation.

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400