CHICAGO, October 19, 2023 — The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) will be presenting awards to six food-away-from-home champions during the association’s 2023 Presidents Conference in Scottsdale, AZ. 


The conference brings executives from the food industry together each year to collaborate on industry-wide issues and share insights and best practices in leadership. IFMA's four industry awards recognize outstanding leaders who have raised the bar in advancing the association and foodservice .  


As IFMA CEO Phil Kafarakis explained, “The success of IFMA is due in large part to the incredible work of our membership and community. IFMA is making a renewed commitment to lead the full food-away-from-home ecosystem to increased cross-segment engagement and understanding. The individuals we will recognize at this year’s Presidents Conference inspire us in those efforts.”  


The awards will be presented Monday night, November 6, 2023 at an evening reception. The awards and recipients include:  


The IFMA Key Person Award

This award honors an individual IFMA manufacturer member who has an exceptional record of activity and high level of commitment to the association. 



Ben Wexler 

President - Custom Culinary  

Wexler is being honored for his service on the IFMA Board of Directors since 2017. He has chaired IFMA’s Consumer Planning Program Committee, Membership Committee, and played an instrumental role in developing IFMA’s new Long-Range Plan. Wexler will serve as 2024 Chair of the IFMA Board.  


The IFMA Sparkplug Award

This award  honors individuals who have made significant impacts on the association’s programs through their board and/or committee involvement.  



Paul Edmondson  

Vice President P&G Professional Americas - Procter & Gamble


Teri Trullinger 

Group Vice President, Field Sales - Cargill Foodservice  



Edmondson and Trullinger are being recognized for championing and co-chairing the new IFMA initiative on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI).  



Pat Mulhern 

President/CEO - Distribution Market Advantage, Inc. (DMA)  

Mulhern is a long-standing supporter of IFMA, representing the supply chain community. He and his team have been instrumental in contributing insights and thought leadership to IFMA’s membership through speaking at conferences and providing distribution insights to IFMA’s Go-to-Market Planning Program subscribers. He will be retiring at the end of the year.  


The Oberkfell Award

This award pays tribute to individuals who have put forth substantial determination and demonstrated leadership that results in significant impact on the IFMA organization and in the foodservice industry. 



Perry Miele 

President & CEO, Nestlé Professional - Food & Beverage  

Miele served on the IFMA Board of Directors beginning in 2013 and played an instrumental role in leading IFMA through transformative change. While on the board, he chaired several program committees – including Presidents Conference – and, as board chair, helped guide IFMA through the turbulent times of 2020.  


The William J. Tobin Award

This award honors an industry executive who has made notable and lasting contributions to foodservice education.  



Gerry Fernandez 

President & Founder, The Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA)  

Fernandez has made an indelible mark on IFMA and the entire food-away-from-home community through his extraordinary 27-year career at MFHA. He has championed and educated IFMA members and the industry on the importance of DEI in business. He will be retiring at the end of the year.