The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) will honor two widely-respected beverage alcohol industry veterans, Richard Leventhal and Mark Teasdale, during ceremonies at its April convention.
Richard Leventhal, Chairman and CEO of Fedway Associates, Inc., will be presented by WSWA with the Lifetime Leadership Award, given each year to a wholesaler whose contribution to the association and alcohol beverage industry defines excellence, inspires loyalty and exemplifies leadership.
Mark Teasdale, President and CEO of Proximo Spirits, Inc., will be presented with the Sidney Frank Award, given by the WSWA Educational Foundation to a person within the wine and spirits industry who has made exceptional contributions to the beverage alcohol industry, as well as achieved noteworthy public policy or philanthropic accomplishments. The award is named for Sidney Frank, a giant in the beverage alcohol industry who built a number of successful brands and later set records for his generous philanthropic contributions to community, educational and service organizations.
“Richard personifies a can-do, humble and effective leadership style and is a man admired by his peers, competitors, employees and suppliers. A testament of this admiration can be seen in his firm’s recovery from a near total disaster in the wake of super storm Sandy last fall. Within weeks of suffering catastrophic losses to equipment, facilities and inventory, with the help of other distributors and supplier partners—Fedway recovered and returned to servicing clients in three weeks. This is a direct result of Richard’s vision and focus as a leader, and reflects the high esteem in which he is held by his industry peers,” WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said.
“Richard is more than just an effective and successful leader. He sets the standard for philanthropy in his home state, actively supporting the Make a Wish Foundation and other organizations. On behalf of WSWA, our members and our industry, I am proud to honor Richard with this award,” Wolf added.
“Mark Teasdale is one of the most influential and successful marketing and brand-building pros in the industry today—yet at the same time he is not a household name. That is the way Mark likes it, working beneath the radar, behind the scenes,” Wolf said.
“Mark has helped build some of the hottest and biggest brands to enter the market in recent years. With his success, he has continued to support important charities and service organizations, such as the Wounded Warrior Project benefiting injured service members. He sets the standard for a new generation of industry leaders—successful executives who are also active philanthropists,” Wolf added.
Leventhal was born into a middle class family in the Bronx and attended New York City public schools, eventually graduating from SUNY Buffalo. He earned an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1970 and began his career as a software and management consultant including work in mergers and acquisitions with Celanese Corporation.
He later joined The Seagram Company, Ltd., working in finance and credit where he impressed company leaders with his keen mind and ability to master complex problems and provide sound financial guidance to top company executives. As a result of both his mergers and acquisition background and Seagram experience, he acquired Fedway Associates in 1978 at age 32. Under Richard, the firm has enjoyed phenomenal success, growing revenues for 33 consecutive years. After suffering massive damage from storm Sandy, Richard and his team worked round the clock for three weeks in a large scale effort to rebuild and recover, and continue their growth and success. He has served on WSWA’s Large Member caucus and Board of Directors since 2003 as well as on the WSWA Educational Foundation Board of Directors since 2008.
Teasdale launched his career in the spirits industry in 1987 with the Paddington Corporation, now Diageo, where he oversaw marketing of Baileys and Malibu as well as the creation of Goldschlager and Black Haus. In 1997, he joined William Grant & Sons where he managed a portfolio including Glenfiddich, The Balvenie and Frangelico, as well as the creation of Sailor Jerry Rum and Hendrick’s Gin. In 2005, he was promoted to President and Managing Director for North America.
In 2007, he launched Proximo Spirits, a firm that manages a dozen top and rising spirit brands including Three Olives Vodka, 1800 Tequila, Hangar One, and The Kraken. Teasdale is heralded by colleagues as a marketing guru who is also a quiet, focused, low-key player who works to let his entire team shine.
By coincidence, both 2013 award recipients represent New Jersey-based firms.
Awards will be presented during a ceremony to be held at WSWA’s 70th Annual Convention & Exposition April 28-30 at the Grande Lakes Orlando, Fla. To schedule interviews or obtain background information on the winners, please contact WSWA’s Jeff Solsby at firstname.lastname@example.org. Detailed information on the convention can be found at www.wswaconvention.org.
WSWA is a national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. With more than 350 member companies across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, WSWA is the voice for wholesalers in Congress, the administration, the courts, with the news media and in communities across America. Information about the association is available at www.wswa.org.