Cincinnati, OH | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 1994
Mr. Rice is Group Vice President of The Kroger Company, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also President of the company’s manufacturing operations, which includes nine dairy, nine bakery, four ice cream, two cheese, and five grocery product processing facilities that produce everything from pet foods to peanut butter. These facilities not only supply products for the 1280 Kroger food stores but also market their products to dozens of other national food companies. Mr. Rice, a native of North Manchester, Indiana, started with Kroger as a management trainee shortly after graduating from Purdue. He was made a general foreman at the company’s Dayton dairy in 1960 and also worked as a sales coordinator. In 1965, he became production superintendent at Kroger’s new dairy in Springdale, Ohio. Two years later, he was promoted to plant manager of the company’s Indianapolis dairy and was instrumental in Kroger’s decision to replace the old dairy with a new, state-of-the- art dairy plant in 1971. In 1973, Mr. Rice became Director of Operations of the Dairy Foods Division and a year later was promoted to Vice President of the division. His duties expanded in 1986 when he assumed the position of Vice President of the Dairy/Bakery Division. In 1991, he was named President of the division and a year later was promoted to Group Vice President for all of Kroger’s manufacturing operations. Mr. Rice is a leader, not only within his own company, but as an active affiliate of food industry professional and trade organizations. He has served as president of the Midwest Dairy Products Association, secretary and board member of the Milk Industry Foundation, and vice chairman of the International Ice Cream Association. Mr. Rice currently serves as chairman of the International Ice Cream Association. He is also the founder and chairman of the newly created International Dairy Foods Association.