The Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to a member who has consistently gone above and beyond with their dedication to the success of New England Food Foundation. They have been involved as a member of the board for over 20 years. This indivdual has been instrumental in the success of the organization and has a passion that is unwavering.
The sole recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award is William J. Mello.
Bill Mello worked in the food industry for over 50 years, starting as a part-time clerk at Elm Farm supermarkets, in 1952. Bill’s passion for the food industry started during his first week on the job and never wavered since then. He remained at Elm Farm for over 18 years and worked his way through the organization holding various positions including Store Manager. Sweet Life acquired Elm Farm in 1988 and quickly realized Bill’s potential promoting him in their organization to Director of Business Development, VP of Sales and ultimately Corporate VP of Marketing. In this position Bill was instrumental with enhancing the independent retail image and he developed the first four color advertisign circular used in the New England Area. When SuperValue acquired Sweet Life in 1994, Bill was promoted to VP of Retail for New England and New York. He held this position until his retirement in 1998. At this point, Bill began his consulting career to help retailers manage best practices, store operations, budgeting and marketing.
During Bill’s extremely busy career he leveraged his passion for the food industry with charities that were tied to the industry. The New England Food Foundation was an organization that Bill held dear to his heart ever since he became a member in 1987.
Bill was instrumental with ensuring the mission of helping less fortunate children would be realized for many years to come. He along with several key members, knew that there was a need to establish a fund for the perpetuity of the Cape House. He was a founding member of the Endowment fund. In addition, he led a major renovation effort over several years at the Cape House to update and upgrade areas of the house and grounds. He with his wife Marilyn put love in the house with all of the design and decorations for every visitor to have happy memories for years to come.
William Mello held many roles with the NEFF. He was a Board member, Treasurer, Past President, Co-chair of the Endowment board. The role that the members of the New England Food Foundation respected the most was knowing Bill in the role of mentor. Unfortunately he is not with us today but his work and influence lives on.
The New England Food Foundation has created a Lifetime Achievement Award Area to enhance the existing basketball court with picnic tables and benches. This area also includes a bluestone walkway and terrace honoring William J. Mello by telling his life’s story through engravings and quotes.