Industry pays respect to bakery engineer

by Staff
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Known by his friends as a humble man and “quiet giant,” Brian A. Poulter, 72, passed away unexpectedly in January while on a business trip to Pittsburgh, PA. He was remembered at a memorial held recently just outside of Kansas City, MO.

Since retiring from Interstate Bakeries Corp. in January 2005 after nearly 42 years in the baking industry, Mr. Poulter spent the last few years serving as an engineering consultant working on a variety of bakery projects throughout North America and the world, including the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

Mr. Poulter served as IBC’s senior vice-president of engineering from 1995 to 2005 and was responsible for building new plants in Jacksonville, FL; Biddeford, ME; and Northwood, OH, just to name a few. He also managed the restoration of IBC’s Rocky Mount, NC, bakery after its destruction by 1999’s Hurricane Floyd.

He joined ITT Continental Baking in 1963 as the Detroit plant’s chief engineer and progressed through regional and corporate engineering positions. In 1980, he moved to IBC as a major project engineer. He was promoted in 1989 to vice-president of engineering for the bread division before becoming senior vice-president of engineering in 1995.

A 1963 electrical engineering graduate of University of Windsor in Canada, Mr. Poulter was a longtime member of the American Society of Baking and had been nominated to the Baking Hall of Fame.

Jim Loveless, AMF account manager, described Mr. Poulter as a mentor, friend and customer for some 30 years. “We have lost another of the all-time greats in this industry,” Mr. Loveless said.  “He will be missed.”

Industry veteran and former IBC executive Tom Bartoszewski remembered him as a great engineer who was cost-conscious but creative and slightly unconventional in solving the challenges that many bakeries faced. He saved dozens of jobs by making inefficient bakeries more profitable operations. He was known for recognizing talented people who he developed and nurtured into successful engineers throughout his career.

“I don't recall Brian ever saying ‘It can't be done.’ Everyone knew that he would go off quietly for a couple of days and come back with a solution to any problem or issue that was proposed.” Mr. Bartoszewski recalled.

Mr. Poulter is survived by his wife Sandra of 31 years, four sons, seven grandchildren and his adored best friend, his dog Satch.
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