Samuel E. Thurston, a longtime executive with Giant Food, now a division of Royal Ahold, one of the world’s largest grocery companies, began his career at Giant in 1968.
Giant, headquartered in Landover, Md., operates 182 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, and employs approximately 22,000 associates. Included within the 182 stores are 164 full-service pharmacies. An industrial engineer, Mr. Thurston spent more than 30 years at Giant. Early in his career at Giant, he became the project manager for the design and implementation of a new distribution center. This involved computerizing and mechanizing a new warehouse, which was a cutting-edge initiative in the early 1970s. Mr. Thurston became vice president of Distribution, responsible for both warehousing and transportation. In 1984, he became senior vice president and part of the company's Management Committee, a group of senior vice presidents who reviewed and shaped policy for the corporation. He retired in 1999.
Mr. Thurston graduated from the University of New Haven, then known as New Haven College, in 1966 with a bachelor's degree in Engineering. After graduation, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, testing tanks in Fort Knox, Kentucky for two years during the Vietnam War.
Mr. Thurston and his wife, Clare, reside part of the year in Chevy Chase, Md., and part in Dennis, Mass., on Cape Cod. They have two grown daughters and a grandson. Active as a youth soccer coach in Montgomery County, Md., when his children were younger, he is an accomplished skiier who enjoys boating, fishing and perhaps most important, golf.