(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) will salute the long records of business success, leadership and community service achieved by two industry veterans at its 72nd Annual Convention & Exposition to be held April 12-15 in Orlando, Fla.
Henry A. "Happy" Fox Jr., of the Henry A. Fox Sales Company in Grand Rapids, Mich., will be recognized by WSWA with the Wholesaler Lifetime Leadership Award, presented each year to a wholesaler whose contribution to the association, the community and the beverage industry defines excellence, inspires loyalty and exemplifies leadership.
Joseph E. Gallo of the E. & J. Gallo Winery of Modesto, Calif., will be presented with the Sidney Frank Award by the WSWA Educational Foundation, given to a person who has made exceptional contributions to the industry in addition to noteworthy philanthropic and community service contributions. The award is named for Sidney Frank, a leading innovator in the beverage industry who built a number of successful brands and set records for philanthropic contributions and service.
"Two traits define these giants in the beverage alcohol industry: commitment to family and commitment to community. Joe Gallo and Happy Fox have spent their respective careers demonstrating these traits to their own families, to their family of employees, and to their industries and communities. On behalf of WSWA and our members, we are proud to recognize these two industry role models and look forward to saluting them at our upcoming convention," WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said.
Happy Fox began working at his family's distributor operations in 1962 while still in high school. During his senior year of college, in he took over the family business. He continued his studies while working and graduated in 1967 from the University of Notre Dame.
Over the next 50 years, Happy focused on growing the business with a portfolio that today represents a large variety of craft and macro beers, wines and spirits. Happy is well known for his efforts to make the industry a better and more ethical one in which to do business-establishing a well-known corporate mission statement and business practices still used today.
Happy is a past president of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association as well as a past chairman of WSWA. He has been an active community leader supporting a variety of organizations including Rotary International, the American Cancer Society of Michigan, Mary Free Bed Hospital Bed and Rehabilitation Center, Indian Trails Camp for the physically challenged, and United Way, among others. He is also a leader for family businesses looking to ensure transition from one generation to the next. Happy’s son Brien, a 1997 graduate of Notre Dame, joined the business in 2000 and will serve as the 2015-2016 WSWA Chairman.
Joseph E. Gallo is President and Chief Executive Officer of the E. & J. Gallo Winery, the world's largest family-owned winery. Based in California, the company has a significant presence with eleven wineries and more than 80 brands including table and sparkling wines, dessert wines and distilled spirits. Besides the United States, Gallo sells its wines in 88 countries worldwide.
As President and CEO, Gallo has focused on growing the company and has overseen a number of acquisitions including Barefoot, Louis M. Martini, Mirassou Vineyards, William Hill Estate, Columbia Winery and Edna Valley Vineyards. He has also directed the expansion of the company's import portfolio from nine countries as well as the introduction of New Amsterdam Gin, New Amsterdam Vodka and Familia Camarena Tequila.
Gallo joined the winery's sales department in 1965, and was instrumental in the company gaining national distribution by 1970. Prior to becoming CEO in 2001, he focused on international expansion, oversight of sales, distribution, marketing and operations.
Born in Modesto in 1941 to parents Ernest and Amelia, Gallo spent his youth working in the family business before graduating from Notre Dame in 1962 and earning an MBA from the Stanford Business School in 1964. He and his wife Ofelia are the parents of three children and have six grandchildren.
Presentation of the Sidney Frank award will occur Monday, April 13 and the Lifetime Leadership Award will occur Wednesday, April 15, each during the morning General Sessions at the WSWA 72nd Annual Convention & Exposition at the Grande Lakes a joint Ritz-Carlton/J.W. Marriott property in Orlando, Fla.
WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. With 350 member companies across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, WSWA is the voice for wholesalers in Congress, the executive branch, the courts, with the news media and in communities across America. Member firms represent more than 80% of the total U.S. wine and spirits market. Information about the association is available at www.wswa.org.