Class of 2016 enters Baking Hall of Fame

by Staff
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A message from John P. Del Campo, American Society of Baking Chairman: At our most recent meeting in 2016, the American Society of Baking inducted five individuals into the Baking Hall of Fame: Patrick Callaghan, Robert Albers, John Shellenberger, Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins. 


The stories that follow truly demonstrate the 2016 meeting theme of “growth through innovation.” All of these recipients have proven themselves to be extraordinary innovators whose efforts, ideas and contributions have led to sustained, long-term growth.

The American Society of Baking thanks Sosland Publishing for again publishing this journal. After 10 continuous years, this has become a rich history of the baking industry with 71 outstanding individuals. This continuous unfolding of our history was the vision of Gary Brodsky, our A.S.B. Hall of Fame founder.

We encourage everyone interested in the stories of our industry to visit the home of the Baking Hall of Fame at AIB International in Manhattan, Kas., and the Hall of Fame display at the Bundy museum in Urbana, Ohio.

 

Bob Albers

Bob Albers took a different path in 1975, and it made a difference in the baking industry. Then an executive rising up the ranks at ITT Continental Baking Co., owner of the Wonder brand at the time, Mr. Albers shifted gears, joining a Portland, Ore., bakery instead.

As Mr. Albers provided leadership through a string of acquisitions, Franz Family Bakery became a regional force in the industry. Mr. Albers’ vision earned him a place in the 2016 American Society of Baking Hall of Fame class.

“I have known Bob Albers for more than 25 years and admire his business knowledge, his professional management style and his visionary talent that has grown this small Portland, Ore., bakery into a regional powerhouse,” said Robert G. Miller, chief executive officer of Albertsons, L.L.C., Boise, Idaho.

Murray R. (Bob) Albers grew up in Gridley, Calif., where he hunted and played basketball. He received a scholarship to play basketball at Sacramento State University in Sacramento, Calif. After graduating, Mr. Albers joined ITT Continental Baking Co. as a route sales representative in Sacramento in 1972. He moved up the career ranks to bakery sales manager, regional sales manager and general manager of the Wonder bread bakery in Portland.

Ron McKnight, then a national bread sales manager for ITT Continental, recalled that Mr. Albers was on track to become president of ITT Continental Baking Co. and head of all Wonder bread sales. However, Mr. Albers and his family had reservations about moving to the company’s general office in Rye, N.Y.

In 1975, Joseph E. Franz offered Mr. Albers the position of vice-president and general manager of Franz, a $10 million business in Portland. Mr. McKnight later joined him at Franz, eventually rising to an executive vice-president position, and witnessed the company’s growth.

Bob Albers at the ceremony marking his induction into the Baking Hall of Fame.

“Visionaries see things that most of the rest of us do not,” Mr. McKnight said. “They have unusual foresight. They have a vision for the future. And, as for me, I loved working for this visionary for over 20-plus years.”

Mr. Albers and Mr. Franz teamed up to grow the established family-owned bakery, which has roots in Portland dating to 1906. Mr. Franz entered the A.S.B. Baking Hall of Fame in 2012.

“Bob and Joe made a great team,” Mr. McKnight said. “It was a push-pull relationship. Bob would say, ‘Let’s go,’ and Joe would say, ‘Slow down!’ Joe was an introvert. Bob was an extrovert. Joe was the solid financial planner. Bob was the young aggressive guy who wanted to grow the business, and grow it they did.”

Franz Family Bakery made 14 acquisitions from 1975 to 2014. The company acquired two Oregon bakeries and one Washington state bakery in the mid- to late 1970s. Franz began the next decade by acquiring Langendorf Bakery in Portland. The acquisitions of two Spokane, Wash., bakeries — Interstate Bakery and Boge Bakery — followed in 1981 and 1985, respectively.

Mr. Albers in 1986 took over as president and chief executive officer of United States Bakery, the holding company of Franz Family Bakery. The 1990s brought the acquisitions of William’s Bakery in Eugene, Ore., in 1991 and Smith Cookie Co. in McMinnville, Ore., in 1994.

Seattle-based Gai’s Northwest Bakeries became part of Franz in 1997, doubling Franz’s sales and the number of its employees.

In the 2000s Franz acquired Fluhrer’s Big Loaf routes in Eureka, Calif. The company in 2013 purchased the Wonder bread bakeries in Billings, Mont., Anchorage, Ala., and Salt Lake City. Later Franz closed the Salt Lake City bun bakery and began to remodel and expand a bakery in Nampa, Idaho, to fill the needs of Utah and Idaho.

Franz now has nine locations and is one of the largest family-owned bakeries in the United States.

“I watched in awe as Bob Albers built the Franz Family Bakery into the position they enjoy today,” said Chip Klosterman, president of Klosterman Baking Co. in Cincinnati. “Through his vision and dedication, Franz has shown tremendous growth over the years and holds the position as one of the premier independent baking companies in the country.”

Mr. Albers, in his induction speech Feb. 29 in Chicago, spoke about how the product portfolio has changed as well. The company started out with a few items like white bread, wheat bread and buns. Now the company has more than 3,200 different line items, he said.

 

Bob Albers, left, c.e.o. of United States Bakery, and John Del Campo, chair of the A.S.B. Baking Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee and president of Brandywine Ingredient Technology.

“His ability to anticipate new trends and products and adapt to the changing business landscape has impressed me for many years,” said Lynn T. Gust, president, Fred Meyer, Portland, Ore.

Newer products include gluten-free hot dog buns, Organic Simply White Thin slices and Great Seed bagels featuring a blend of sunflower seed, flax seed, quinoa, poppy seed and coarse corn meal.

Family members have joined Bob Albers in the baking industry. Marc Albers, his son, was named president and chief operating officer of the company in 2004. The company has had four presidents in its 108-year history: Englebert Franz, Joe Franz, Bob Albers and Marc Albers.

Kim Nisbet, Bob Albers’ daughter, is vice-president over national sales (food service direct) and the Franz Cookie sales and bakery. Three grandchildren work for the company, too.

Bob Albers said he was fortunate over the years to have talented people working for the company.

“You pick good people and then sit back and play golf,” he said.

In his 54th year in the baking industry, he spoke about the significance of entering the Hall of Fame.

“When a group of your peers get together and elect you to a Hall of Fame in an industry that you’re all involved in, how can you not feel great about it?” he said. “The next best thing about it is, you gave it to me while I’m still on this side of the ground.”

 

 

 

Patrick Callaghan

Ten years ago, Margaret Rudkin was inducted to the Baking Hall of Fame for her work in the 1930s developing and bringing to market a distinctive line of baked foods as a business that came to be known as Pepperidge Farm. In 2016, Patrick Callaghan has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for leading the Pepperidge business to dizzying heights.

Looking at a successful but mature business in an entirely different way was key to the extraordinary growth achieved by Pepperidge during Mr. Callaghan’s time at the company.

When Mr. Callaghan joined Pepperidge Farm, Inc., in 1979, the Campbell Soup Co. division was a regional bakery with less than $200 million in sales. The Goldfish brand alone had sales below $5 million and principally was marketed as a snack food at bars. In the years since, sales of the brand have grown to many multiples of that level. Mr. Callaghan was president of Pepperidge from 2006 until his retirement in 2012.

Perhaps Mr. Callaghan gained a sense of the upside potential for Pepperidge at the start of his career — he spent six years with Nabisco, Inc., beginning with a sales post in New England. His first job with Pepperidge also was in sales.

After 1½ years he moved to the marketing department, holding a number of posts. His various assignments gave him significant responsibility in each of the segments of Pepperidge’s business. In 1985 he was named director of marketing for the bakery business, and in 1990 he became a vice-president and general manager of the frozen business. Three years later he went back to the bakery business as vice-president and general manager and in 1996 was named senior vice-president of marketing.

At the time he assumed the latter post, Pepperidge was “gearing up as a growth company,” one that would be “marketing driven” and not only “product driven,” Mr. Callaghan recalled in a 2000 interview.

While the effort generated excellent results, Mr. Callaghan said that the success gave Pepperidge something it had never had before — the notice of the industry giants.

“We threw the gauntlet down to our sales staff in 1996 and said, ‘We can grow in double digits,’” he said. “And we did. But the job did draw the attention of the larger players who have since focused on some of the icons we have grown. These guys get angry when smaller guys are growing and they’re not, so it has become competitive out there.”

Among the successes drawing the attention of competitors was the Pepperidge Goldfish line, which enjoyed tremendous growth during the late 1990s. Mr. Callaghan credited the product’s growth to a belief that an already mature business could be grown significantly and a marketing idea that many challenged, even within Pepperidge. Seeing that the product was popular among toddlers and small children, the company focused its marketing efforts on mothers with children aged 2 to 8.

“We were warned, ‘You can’t just focus on that group,’” he recalled in the 2000 interview. “‘You’ll alienate the family, bar eaters and others.’ But the focus allowed us to get a message across.

“The products are great, and the shape of the fish is so easily identified as a trademark. We had great people working on that on the marketing side. It has been a great story and will continue to be a great story. It’s a wholesome and fun brand.

Patrick Callaghan with Theresa Cogswell of the Baking Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee.

In 1999, he was named senior vice-president of business development and president of frozen foods.

Having drawn the attention of the larger players in the cookie and cracker industry, Pepperidge depended on its ability to be innovative and agile to achieve growth into the 2000s.

“Nabisco and Keebler are currently drawing 55% to 70% of the category share, so we need to be more innovative, quicker and smarter,” he said in 2000. “We can’t go head to head with companies that size, but innovation is what made Pepperidge grow in the past, and that is what is going to continue.”

Marketing existing products to new consumer segments was not the only way Pepperidge lifted mature products to new heights. Combining Pepperidge’s fresh and frozen businesses helped breathe new life into the company’s Swirl bread line. In the years since, Swirl has become the leader and fueled growth in the breakfast bread category.

Ultimately, though, Mr. Callaghan called innovation “the most critical ingredient” in the financial success Pepperidge achieved during his time at the company.

During his six years as president, the company added $500 million of retail sales, more than a 25% increase.

“We continually outpace our categories across each of our businesses,” he said in a 2011 presentation to investment analysts.

Line extensions, including flavor blasted Goldfish and Goldfish Grahams, were examples he offered. Additionally, the company made significant investments in print and television advertising to “convey the wholesome real ingredients baked into each Goldfish cracker,” he said.

He cited brand valuation data indicating the brands were in the top 10% of consumer brands, based on differentiation, relevance and stature.

Because of the innovation and support, the brand achieved 8% compound annual sales growth between 2006 and 2011, he said.

This track record was made possible by elevated consumer perceptions of the company’s product line as anything but generic.

Pepperidge was in the top 3% of brands as measured by the willingness of consumers to pay a premium for the product, he said.

The company achieved record sales and profits in each year he was president.

Not every innovation was a success. Goldfish sandwich bread, introduced in 2011, ultimately did not catch on. Still, a thoughtful approach to new product introductions, gave Pepperidge numerous winners during Mr. Callaghan’s tenure.

His legacy was summarized by Denise Morrison, the chief executive officer of Campbell Soup, on the occasion of Mr. Callaghan’s 2012 retirement.

“Under Pat’s leadership, Pepperidge Farm has developed a culture of consumer-focused innovation, strengthened its brands and delivered consistently strong business results with seven consecutive years of top-line, bottom-line and market share growth,” Ms. Morrison said. “As we work to accelerate Campbell’s rate of innovation, Pepperidge Farm can serve as a model. Pat has served our company with distinction for more than 30 years. In addition to his many business accomplishments, Pat has been a coach and mentor to countless people in our organization.”

 

Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins

In the late 19th century, two North Americans laid the foundations for technology that would utterly change the way bread, cookies, crackers and snacks are made. Today, the company carrying forward the legacies of Joseph Baker (1766-1849) and Jacob Perkins (1823-92) continues to bear their names, and the influence of these class of 2016 Baking Hall of Fame inductees may be felt in hundreds of thousands of bakeries around the world that operate Baker Perkins equipment every day.

Engineering genius characterized both men. Mr. Perkins was a prolific inventor who moved to England from Massachusetts in 1819. Much of his work and that of his successors involved steam technologies, including a steam oven for baking bread. An early patent for nail-making machinery was signed by George Washington. Mr. Baker, a Canadian, invented a simple combined flour scoop and sifter for household use. He moved his successful business from Ontario to England in the 1870s.

Mr. Perkins held 21 American and 19 British patents for various types of steam-powered machinery, although it was his son, Angier March Perkins, who first applied steam to baking ovens. Another son, Loftus Perkins, is credited with making the crucial breakthrough, the stopped-end steam tube oven, which he patented in 1865. This innovation transformed baking of bread in ovens because, until this time, there was no satisfactory way of controlling oven temperature. The ovens were sold to some of the most important bakeries in the country and rapidly accelerated the growth of commercial baking. Later, rights to the first ram-and-knife dough divider were acquired, which, along with the steam tube ovens, laid the foundations both of the company and modern plant bakery equipment.

The key invention by Mr. Baker was a handheld flour sifter. Mr. Baker had watched his wife spend a lot of time sifting her stone-milled flour to remove the impurities and, tapping into his inventive side, decided to make a machine that would make the chore easier. The sifter worked well, and Mr. Baker decided to take a few to try and sell as he went house to house to sell books, maps and pictures as part of his regular job. The sifter was met with good response, and Mr. Baker decided to quit selling books, maps and pictures and instead focus full time on the sale of the sifter. The sifter was patented in Canada in 1870 and the United States in 1871.

Only three years after transferring his business to the United Kingdom, he developed biscuit-making machinery, the first time that a sector of the food industry had been mechanized. Invention of traveling and stationary ovens soon followed. Joseph Baker & Sons Ltd. rapidly became the most important food machinery manufacturer in the U.K.

A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd., the business established in 1830 by Mr. Perkins’ son, Angier, continued his father’s fascination with steam technologies. At one point, its steam engines and boilers were represented by Joseph Baker & Sons. When Perkins came out with its own steam oven, the two companies became fierce rivals. During World War I, however, they teamed up to build automated baking equipment for armies in the field. In 1920, they merged to form Baker Perkins Ltd.

John Cowx, left, owner and managing director of Baker Perkins, with John Del Campo, chairman of the A.S.B. Baking Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee.

Just as the companies combined, the Bakers bought a factory in Saginaw, Mich., that became the company’s manufacturing base in North America for the next 60 years. Baker Perkins operations in North America were later shifted to Grand Rapids, Mich., after the company in 1978 acquired Werner Lehara, a business that began in 1904 as the Dutch Cookie Machine Co.

“The pioneering efforts of Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins in the introduction of automated bread plants in the 19th century started a process of continual improvement that is still ongoing,” said Brett Warburton, director, Warburtons Ltd., Bolton, U.K., and a member of the 2015 class of the Baking Hall of Fame. “The development of today’s high-output, hygienic, sophisticated equipment can be traced back to their initiative and abilities.”

Underpinning the post-war success of the company was development of its apprenticeship program. Dick Preston, president of the Baker Perkins Historical Society, Peterborough, U.K., noted that it “provided trained engineers to the world at large (and) set a level of excellence recognized both nationally and internationally today.” He is one who benefited from this program.

Another former employee, Clive Tolson, president of Baker Thermal Solutions, Clayton, N.C., remembered how many of his colleagues at Baker Perkins went through the company’s craft and engineering apprenticeships or commercial training programs.

“As I travel the world today, it is rare for me to not meet someone who was trained by or worked for Baker Perkins,” Mr. Tolson said.

The two founders never met.

“Although Jacob Perkins and Joseph Baker never actually worked together, they were the patriarchs that set these companies on a course that later changed the history of baking forever,” said Rowdy Brixey, director of engineering for Bimbo Bakeries USA, Horsham, Pa., when nominating the pair to the Baking Hall of Fame.

The influence of the inventors is also felt in the company’s culture. A former employee, Robert A. Wells, now senior account manager for Baker Thermal Solutions, said he often quoted to his customers the phrase from a company brochure, “We aren’t satisfied thinking our equipment or methods are the best they can be.”

Dan Smith, general manager, Baker Perkins, Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., observed, “The original values exhibited by Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins continue to influence the evolution and focus of Baker Perkins and its contribution to the industry.”

John Cowx, along with Brian Taylor, acquired Baker Perkins in 2006. Mr. Cowx, currently owner and managing director of Baker Perkins, accepted the Hall of Fame award on behalf of Mr. Baker and Mr. Perkins. He lauded both individuals for their creativity when it came to developing products for the baking industry and described Mr. Perkins as someone with a brilliant mind who “ranked alongside (Thomas) Edison.”

Baker Perkins Ltd. is headquartered in Peterborough with a U.S. office at Grand Rapids. It operates innovation centers at both locations and is now owned by a private investor. The Baker Perkins Historical Society maintains www.bphs.net, which provides rich details about the company and its founders.

 

 

John Shellenberger

Would the milling and baking industries be different today without the influence of John Shellenberger? Assuredly, yes. He was a natural leader, an educator who strongly promoted the industries his students entered. Throughout his life, he embodied the vigorous application of scientific methods that transformed American agriculture and the milling and baking industries in particular.

Born in 1900 in Moline, Ill., Dr. Shellenberger spent much of his childhood on a farm in Washington state, where he was introduced to the milling industry as a teenager through his acquaintance with W.L. Haley, chief chemist of the Fisher Flouring Mills Co., Seattle. Dr. Shellenberger worked at Fisher while he was attending the University of Washington, first with the laboratory staff and later with the warehousing and milling division of the company. He left school for one year to work full time for Fisher, but later returned to college and received a degree in chemical engineering.

While working at Fisher, Dr. Shellenberger also worked at a wholesale baking plant before 8 a.m. each day, gaining practical baking experience. Shortly after graduating from the University of Washington, he enrolled at Kansas State University, where he received a master’s degree in milling technology. Dr. Shellenberger then became assistant agricultural chemist at the University of Idaho, where he taught agricultural chemistry and conducted chemical analyses and research for the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station for two years.

A Rockefeller research assistantship in the agricultural biochemistry division of the University of Minnesota enabled Dr. Shellenberger to complete work on a doctorate in biochemistry. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Shellenberger was with the Minnesota Valley Canning Co., Le Sueur, Minn. He then returned to the University of Minnesota as an instructor in agricultural biochemistry. Later, he was head of products control for Mennel Milling Co., Fostoria, Ohio, and head of the biochemical division of Rohm and Haas Co., Philadelphia.

Before joining the faculty at Kansas State University, he spent two years in Argentina as a consultant to the Argentine government. Dr. Shellenberger joined the faculty of K.S.U. in 1944 and became head of the Department of Milling Industry the following year, succeeding Dr. E.G. Bayfield. His time at K.S.U. was an era of tremendous change. During his tenure, he built the world’s leading university program in milling and baking by using his education, administrative ability and extensive industry connections.

Dr. Shellenberger guided the school through trial and triumph. After the 1957 fire that destroyed its facility, he pushed through construction of a new building, dedicated in 1961 and named in his honor in 1970, the same year he retired from the university. He remained active as a distinguished professor emeritus until his death in 1987.

In 1963, working with industry and academia, Dr. Shellenberger brought the bakery science and management program to K.S.U. Florida State University first established the course, but as Theresa Cogswell, principal, BakerCogs, Overland Park, Kas., noted in nominating him, “That school came to believe it was not a fit for their university, and (university-level bakery science education) may have just gone away without Dr. Shellenberger’s intervention.”

Paul A. Seib, Ph.D., K.S.U. emeritus professor of baking science, said Dr. Shellenberger often remarked about the high cost of doing engineering and process research on grains via pilot plants versus the relatively low cost of doing chemical research on grains. He fostered research collaboration with other university departments in the basic sciences and engineering.

The daughters of John Shellenberger (from left) Karen Stearns, Joan Black and Margo Caley accept the Hall of Fame award from Theresa Cogswell, a member of the A.S.B. Baking Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee and principal, BakerCogs.
Dr. Shellenberger’s academic work as a cereal scientist focused on hard winter wheat’s milling and baking quality, emphasizing protein’s contribution. He received several awards, including the Association of Operative Millers’ Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to milling technology, the Neumann Medal from the Association of Cereal Research, the Outstanding Achievement Gold Medal from the University of Minnesota and the C.H. Bailey Award from the International Association of Cereal Chemists. K.S.U. presented him with two distinguished alumni medals, and he was the first recipient of the Frank Schwain Award from the American Association of Cereal Chemists (now AACC International).

His capable management of the department was recalled by R. Carl Hoseney, Ph.D., president, R&R Research Services, Manhattan, Kas., and K.S.U. emeritus professor of bakery science, which he experienced as an undergraduate during Dr. Shellenberger’s tenure.

“He was very authoritative and ran the department well,” Dr. Hoseney recalled. “The milling and baking industries saw him as a strong influence, and his legacy is that he brought recognition to the importance of these industries. The milling and baking industries would be a far different place without him.”

Dr. Shellenberger published approximately 200 technical papers and co-authored the book, “Bread Science and Technology.”

In the Hall of Fame acceptance speech Feb. 29 on his behalf, Dr. Shellenberger was remembered by his three daughters: Margo Caley, Joan Black and Karen Stearns.

“Growing up I always felt that every family had a mom, a dad and a department,” Ms. Caley.

Ms. Black said her father and mother, Annabel, made “an amazing team.”

“Over the past eight months it has been so meaningful for the family to review his career,” Ms. Black said. “Dad would not have accomplished all that he did without the support of our mother. She managed the house and us, edited his work, and she served as a wonderful hostess for the School of Grain Science and Industry.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Stearns recounted her father’s temper.

“He was known by some, and always behind his back, as ‘Give ‘em hell’ Shellenberger,” she said.
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