The National Confectioners Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Confectionery Leadership Awards. The awards celebrate the recipients' contributions to the category through their effective business collaboration, category management best practices, and innovations in merchandising confectionery products in-store.

The following individuals were nominated by industry colleagues and then carefully selected as recipients by NCA members based on their creativity, innovative thinking, and leadership and support with the category:

Tim Erceg, Purchasing Specialist for Hy-Vee, Inc.

Jamal Parker, Sr. Buyer Candy & Snacks for Sam's Club

“This award recognizes and rewards the talent and dedication of the industry's trade customers who go above and beyond expectations," says NCA President Larry Graham. "There were so many deserving and worthy candidates submitted, but the members felt that Erceg and Parker are truly pioneers who exemplify the visionary thinking required to bring value to and propel the category forward."

Parker, who earlier this year told Candy & Snack TODAY that his goal is always to better serve Sam's Club members, says, "working in our industry has been a great experience, and it is the people who have made the difference."

Erceg shares this sentiment, thanking Hy-Vee's business partners and associates "who ultimately have made the confectionery category one of the top performing categories at Hy-Vee."

Erceg and Parker will be presented with their awards in Miami at NCA’s annual State of the Industry Conference, March 2-5, 2014.