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University of Arizona Eller College of Management Announces Executive of the Year


The University of Arizona Eller College of Management has named Kent McClelland, chairman and CEO of Shamrock Foods Company, as the 2023 Eller College of Management Executive of the Year. McClelland, the third-generation leader of the family-owned and -operated company founded in 1922, joins the likes of former honorees such as Cathy Engelbert (Deloitte), Fredrick W. Smith (FedEx) and Howard Schultz (Starbucks). He will be officially honored during a luncheon presented by the Eller College of Management this spring.

“McClelland represents so much of what we value and seek purpose in each day including integrity, compassion, determination, adaptation and inclusion,” says Karthik Kannan, dean of the Eller College of Management. “We are extremely pleased to welcome McClelland as our 2023 Executive of the Year.”

Shamrock specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of food and food-related products. Its family of companies includes Shamrock Foods — the largest independent foodservice company in the West and top five in the United States — and Shamrock Farms, one of the largest family-owned and -operated dairies nationwide.

As the guiding force behind the 100-year-old company, McClelland’s focus and foresight have led to
continuous innovation and exponential company growth. His leadership, customer-centric business practices and emphasis on geographic expansion and brand penetration have evolved the company into the national leader it’s recognized as today.

“For Shamrock, growth is about taking better care of our customers, associates and suppliers,” says McClelland. “By being nimble, focused, transparent and willing to take appropriate risks, we’ve proven we’re more innovative and effective for all of our partners than the competition.”

The sense of family and the importance of community are the driving forces behind McClelland’s professional endeavors and personal life. Through Shamrock, McClelland supports several Eller and University of Arizona initiatives including the Dhaliwal-Reidy School of Accountancy, the Karl Eller Scholarship Endowment, Eller undergraduate career initiatives and others. These commitments build upon the family legacy behind some of the University’s most iconic institutions such as McClelland Hall (Eller College of Management) and McClelland Park (Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families).

McClelland also dedicates his time to various community organizations including the Boy Scouts of America, World President’s Organization and Barrow Neurological Foundation. In 2022, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the Eller College of Management.

McClelland will be honored during the University of Arizona Executive of the Year Luncheon taking place Friday, Apr. 28 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort at 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd. The community is invited to attend the luncheon, which includes discissions with Kent and the McClelland family.

Cost is $100 per person ($30 tax-deductible). Guests may register to attend via RSVPs must be received by Apr. 14.

For more about the Eller College of Management, visit

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