AJC 61st Annual Gala To Honor Industry Stars Rasmussen, Rigie, Tucker

AJC Honorees Fred Rasmussen Andrew Rigie Morgan Tucker
(L-R) AJC Honorees Fred Rasmussen, Andrew Rigie, and Morgan Tucker

A premier industry event, AJC’s Food Service & Hospitality Division Dinner draws nearly 400 industry professionals every year for an evening of celebration, camaraderie, and tribute. For many, it’s been a must-attend event for decades. This year’s November 15 tribute, at the New York Botanical Garden, will carry forward a tradition of publicly applauding highly respected industry leaders.  

AJC’s 2022 honorees are Fred Rasmussen, Market Vice President Bunzl R3 Metro, North and South; Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, The New York City Hospitality Alliance; and Morgan Tucker, Vice President of Marketing, Singer Equipment. You can register for the tribute here: https://bit.ly/3RArVF0

Rick Maier, Senior VP, Bunzl Eastern Division, will present the AJC Innovative Leadership Award to Fred. Carolyn D. Richmond, Chair, Hospitality Group, Fox Rothschild LLP, will present the AJC Industry Champion Award to Andrew. And Fred Singer, President and CEO of Singer Equipment, will present the AJC Legacy Award to Morgan. 

Anthony Meyer, Associate Chair, AJC Board of Trustees and immediate past Chair of AJC’s Board of Governors, will deliver a special address. He’ll speak about the industry’s 60-plus years of generous partnership with AJC. He’ll also offer an overview AJC’s nonstop outreach efforts. Among the world’s leading global advocacy organizations, with 22 U.S. offices and 13 overseas, AJC combats antisemitism and hate in all its forms and defends democratic values for all. 

Among other roles in business and philanthropy, Meyer serves as President of Ocean Road Advisors, a privately held investment management company. “The food service and hospitality industry has been extremely hospitable to AJC – a wonderful friend for decades,” said Meyer. “We couldn’t be more grateful.”

The tribute will be hosted by longtime AJC Division Chair Michael Posternak of PBAC & Associates. “We’re thrilled at this opportunity to publicly applaud Fred, Andrew, and Morgan,” Michael said. “Each has built an impressive record of achievement, set the highest standards, and represents our industry in ways that bring us all pride. And each is deeply committed to AJC’s mission of helping build a brighter world for all.” 

Speaking of his own leadership at AJC, Michael explained: “Many of my mentors were involved and honored. The quality of the annual tribute, and AJC’s excellence, keeps people connected. AJC’s broad humanitarian orientation is for everybody. One example among many, AJC has strongly supported Ukrainian independence and provided more than $2.5 million in relief to Ukrainians and Ukrainian refugees. In June, Ukrainian President Zelensky addressed AJC leaders by video to express his gratitude and urge AJC’s continued advocacy on Ukraine’s behalf.” 

Honoree Fred Rasmussen entered the industry in 1984 with Marstan Industries, moving to Bunzl New Jersey in 1990. He became General Manager there in 1995 and won Bunzl’s prestigious General Manager of the Year Award in 2001. In his current role, Fred manages Bunzl R3’s redistribution facilities in Perth Amboy, NJ, and Orange, CT. This week, he was named among five finalists for Bunzl’s Business Leader of the Year Award. 

Dedicated to redistributing food service, packaging, and janitorial supplies, Bunzl R3’s facilities serve the metropolitan New York region and Southern New England. They’re a vital component of Bunzl’s renowned global redistribution network, the largest in the world. 

Fred’s forward-thinking leadership has earned him wide admiration and lifted R3 Metro North and South to unprecedented heights. A former member of the Rider University Broncs basketball team, he’s a leader who knows how to keep the ball in motion. 

 “I’ve attended the past five AJC Food Service & Hospitality events, Rasmussen explained. Every year, it’s been a real pleasure. I’m glad to be able to help an organization that does so much to advance mutual respect and understanding. The world could use many more organizations like AJC.” 

Eddie Toby, a longtime AJC Food Service & Hospitality Division Vice Chair and Sales Director at KeyImpact Sales & Systems, describes Fred as “one of the most respected professional leaders in the food service industry, with decades of experience in all facets of sales and
distribution.”

Honoree Andrew Rigie was born into the hospitality business, working at his family’s third generation bakery in Queens, NY. He later “got his apron dirty” by working multiple positions within the industry. In 2004 he joined the New York State Restaurant Association, and eventually took the helm of the Association’s New York City operations as its Executive Vice President.

In 2012, he launched the independent New York City Hospitality Alliance, which has grown into a premier organization delivering education and services and representing thousands of restaurants and nightlife venues in the halls of government and in the media. 

Andrew is recognized as a vocal, highly effective industry advocate. He’s a talented public speaker, frequent panelist, and moderator, and commentator on local, national and international media platforms. 

“Andrew has led the New York restaurant industry through the trials and tribulations of Covid-19,” explained Division Chair Posternak. “Taking it further, he’s now spearheading restaurant recovery in New York, including expanding outdoor dining options. We’re thrilled to be honoring him.” 

“As an advocate myself, I greatly admire AJC’s expert advocacy,” added Andrew. “Building effective partnerships to make a difference takes time and credibility. AJC takes the time and has carefully earned credibility at the highest levels around the world.”

Honoree Morgan Tucker is receiving AJC’s Legacy Award for two key reasons. One is her family’s tradition of dedication to AJC, which she carries forward. And the other is the remarkably broad range of abilities she brings to her work in the industry. 

In 1955, Morgan’s grandfather, Marvin Tucker, founded the company M. Tucker. In 1962, he played a central role as a founding member of AJC’s Food Service & Hospitality Division. A 1982 AJC honoree, he was deeply engaged with the division throughout his life. His son, Stephen Tucker, Morgan’s father, became CEO of M. Tucker in 1986 and followed in his father’s footsteps as a tireless, generous friend of the division. Stephen was honored by AJC in 1990 and again in 2006. 

Morgan continued: “I have great memories of the many AJC tributes I’ve been to over the years. In years past, my father often delivered the AJC address. I was always so moved by how he conveyed AJC’s history, values, and mission. Our industry is rooted in generosity, but how the AJC tribute uniquely brings together colleagues and competitors alike is what makes this event so memorable.”  

Singer Equipment eventually purchased M. Tucker. Singer Equipment is the largest foodservice supplies and equipment dealer in metro-New York and the fifth largest in the country. Fred Singer, the company’s President and CEO, preserved many M. Tucker traditions, among them dedication to AJC. In 2014, Singer Equipment was recognized with AJC’s Corporate Leadership Award.

Morgan serves as a member of Singer Equipment’s Senior Leadership Team, overseeing company positioning, brand direction, and market strategy. Within the industry, she provides expertise on food service, brand development, sustainability, and tabletop design. She writes frequently about these issues and speaks on them at industry events nationwide.  

Morgan is a young leader. AJC has attracted and developed other dynamic young leaders.  Clark Pager, immediate past division Chair and Executive Vice President at Jetro Restaurant Depot noted: “I’m encouraged that the division has engaged a lot of new young people to carry the torch into the future.”  

Among those young people are the members of the division’s Executive Committee: Scott Baron of Merchants Sales Company; Eugene Beniaminson of Singer Equipment; Cortney Davis of KeyImpact Sales & Systems; Samantha Saltzman of The Sam Tell Companies; Rick Sher of Day & Nite/All Service; and Aaron Weiss of elite studio e. 

Chairing the division, as mentioned, is Michael Posternak of PBAC & Associates, honored by AJC in 1991 and 2006. Working closely with him are the Division Vice Chairs: Jeff Burdick of Imperial Dade; Fred Klashman of Total Food Service; Rob Monroe of KeyImpact Sales & Systems; Lynne Schultz of Tristate Marketing; and Eddie Toby, also of KeyImpact Sales & Systems. All are former AJC honorees. 

Last year’s AJC event honored Jeff Burdick of Imperial Dade, Michael Greenwald of Singer Equipment, and Jerry Hoffman of The Sam Tell Companies. Held at the New York Botanical Garden, as will be this year’s event, it was an all-time record-breaker for the division. Division Chair Posternak declared: “We’ve got every reason to expect that we’ll fill the house with 350 guests and break the record again this year.”

You can register for the upcoming tribute to Fred, Andrew, and Morgan here: https://bit.ly/3RArVF0

For further information about the division or the tribute, please contact AJC’s Food Service & Hospitality Division Coordinator, Gary Spruch, at spruchg@ajc.org or 347-424-3225.