GMA prepares for 2003 comms push

WASHINGTON: The Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) has hired a new director of communications, Michael Diegel, as it gears up to increase communications with members and external audiences in 2003.

WASHINGTON: The Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) has hired a new director of communications, Michael Diegel, as it gears up to increase communications with members and external audiences in 2003.

The association includes more than 140 companies in the food, packaging, and consumer-goods arenas. It also has more than 50 industry suppliers and others as associate members. While it often voices opinions on food-related topics, it wants to ensure that members in other lines know it is working on their behalf as well, said Gene Grabowski, VP of communications and marketing.

"One of our biggest focuses in 2003 is going to be making sure that our members, as well as external audiences, understand what we do," he said.

Diegel, whose most recent post was VP of marketing and business development for Sustainable Software, is "very experienced, and he comes ready to hit the ground running," Grabowski said.

One area where Diegel's tech experience will be helpful is in using the association's website for communications with key audiences. Grabowski said he wants to increase use of the website to communicate more with members and other audiences.

"We must be sure our members understand the vast array of issues we work on. It's not just biotech or obesity, it's international trade, environmental-waste issues, and packaging, among others," Grabowski said.

Diegel has worked for a number of associations, including a stint as communications director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. A former journalist, he was also head of marketing and PR at Mount St. Mary's College in Maryland.

GMA represents food, beverage, and consumer-product companies, with total annual US sales of more than $460 billion. It employs more than 2.5 million workers.

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