3 Promoted at FMI

Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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3 Promoted at FMI Robert Garfield
Robert Garfield, SVP of FMI division Safe Quality Food Institute, is retiring.

FMI - The Food Industry Association has appointed three of its executives to new leadership roles as Robert Garfield, SVP of Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of FMI, has revealed his plans to retire.

“Oversight of SQFI required a leader with business acumen, because the program needed to grow, the very nature of SQFI’s work necessitated someone steeped in the science of food safety, the job required a visionary with customer service sensitivities and trusted connections throughout the food industry, and to cap it all, the position called for someone who cared deeply about both people and detailed protocols,” noted Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Virginia-based FMI. “Bob Garfield and I had worked together for years in varying capacities, and I knew him to be a man of great integrity, possessing a solid work ethic with a thorough understanding of the regulatory system and food safety science.”

During his nearly decade-long tenure at SQFI, Garfield updated standards, oversaw a technology overhaul of the institute’s systems and vastly expanded its reach.

3 Promoted at FMI Gigi Vita David Fikes Heather Garlich
L-R: Gigi Vita, David Fikes and Heather Garlich

Succeeding him at the helm of SQFI is Gigi Vita as the incoming chief food safety assessment officer and SVP of the program. Originally hired to lead sales for SQFI, Vita brings to her new role operational effectiveness through best-in-class business-to-business and business-to-consumer insights and sales teams, as well as supply chain, manufacturing and globally sourced customer offerings. Before coming to FMI, she held leadership roles at such major consumer packaged goods companies as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kraft/Nabisco, Campbell Soup Co., Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and, most recently, Dairy Farmers of America.

Additional promotions at FMI are as follows:

David Fikes has been named the executive director of the FMI Foundation. Starting out as an Episcopal priest serving parishes in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas, he brought a diverse set of skills to the association realm, directing communications at the American Frozen Food Institute until he joined FMI almost a decade ago in a similar role. In his new position, Fikes will continue to advance the food safety, nutrition and health goals of the foundation, among them research initiatives backed by a unified voice, and building momentum for the Family Meals Movement.

Heather Garlich is now SVP, communications, marketing and consumer/community affairs at FMI. A nine-year veteran of the association, Garlich began her career in Washington, D.C., as a media and trends analyst. Before coming to FMI, she was a public relations lead for major food and commodity accounts at a global agency. During her time at the association, Garlich has focused on media relations and enhancing the digital strategy, as well as managing and directing communications and advocacy relations.

FMI also recently hired Krystal Register, formerly a retail dietitian at Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets, to head health and well-being initiatives at the organization.

“As we continue to serve the greater food marketplace, I want to recognize the important work ahead to collaborate, advocate and educate, while supporting the food industry with new appointments at FMI,” added Sarasin.