BS '71 Industrial Administration
West Des Moines, Iowa
For the past decade, Ric Jurgens utilized his position as the leader of Hy-Vee – one of Iowa’s most prominent companies – to advance the causes of health and wellness. During his 11 years as Hy-Vee’s president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board, Jurgens not only oversaw tremendous growth in the company’s footprint and revenues, but also changed food marketing in a way that has transformed the industry and made an impact on individual consumers.
During Jurgens’ tenure, Hy-Vee was a pioneering force: hiring in-store dieticians, creating walk-in health clinics, introducing its NuVal scoring system to help customers choose healthier food, and sponsoring such events as the Hy-Vee Triathlon—an opportunity for athletes at every level to be active and healthy. Jurgens has gone on to volunteer his leadership to similar movements, including the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative and the Partnership for a Healthier America Board.
Jurgens, who spent all 42 years of his career at Hy-Vee, is recognized as an expert in food marketing. He served two years as the chairman of the Food Marketing Institute, a nationwide advocacy organization previously struggling to stay organized and active until Jurgens turned it around.
Jurgens has received the Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award, the Iowa State University College of Business Citation of Achievement and John DeVries Service Award, and the Heart Award from Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa. He was named Iowa Grocery Industry Retailer of the Year in 2009 and Mass Merchants Retailer magazine’s Retailer of the Year in 2011. In 2012, he received the Iowa Grocery Industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Grocery Association Spirit of America Award, the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Golden Apple Award, and the Hy-Vee Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently, he received the Food Marketing Institute’s Sidney R. Babb Award in 2013. Jurgens has additionally been honored in the Des Moines North High School Hall of Fame and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Hall of Achievement.
Jurgens and his wife, Carol, class of 1971, of West Des Moines, Iowa, are active supporters of Iowa State University and Cyclone athletics. They are members of the Order of the Knoll William M. Beardshear Society and Campanile Society, Clyde Williams Society and Cyclone Club, and are lifetime members of the ISU Alumni Association.
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