In business, there is another saying, “Be careful what you say about others.” That’s because you never know who you will be working for in the end.
That’s especially true in our industry where companies compete against one another in the market, but then they buy a specialty product from their competitor because it’s profitable for both parties. Or take those final hours of many shows and conventions, which suddenly turn to “job fairs” where attendees talk shop, and then you never know what might happen.
Well, I always wondered what it would be like to work at Sosland, and I am absolutely thrilled to be doing so. Throughout the years, I’ve always had respect for the powerhouse staff of industry veterans at this company.
During the past few years, I have gotten to know all of them a little better when we collaborated at shows such as the American Society of Baking’s technical conference. I must say it’s an honor to be working with Laurie Gorton, my co-anchor during the ASB’s mock news program, which was always a lot of fun.
For many reasons, I made the move for what could be called the love of the game. I’ve been covering the industry since 1987 when I answered a Chicago Tribune ad and joined Bakery Production & Marketing as its copy editor. A couple years later, I found myself fielding stories about the wholesale baking industry. Back then, the editors thought I needed a little “seasoning” so they teamed me up with Paul Kamman, a retired longtime baking industry veteran who simply knew everything about production. You just got to love a guy who was the consummate teacher and ever patient with his students.
I also had the privilege to work with Ray Lahvic, my mentor at Bakery Production & Marketing. Ray taught me about the real world and the nuances in the baking industry. Yes, Ray had many rules, many of which I am not privy to disclose. However, he constantly reminded me that the people in this industry are dang proud of what they are producing so always treat them with respect.
I’m also proud to have known Gordon Davidson, the late editor of Milling & Baking News who just kicked my butt at news reporting, but he took the time at association meetings to share his insights about the industry even though we worked at competing companies.
Goodness knows what Gordon, Ray and Paul would think about the industry today, but having worked with them, many of us have a good idea of what they would say, and that’s what I will try to write about in my monthly columns.
Yes, there’s that other saying about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. I never subscribed to that one because respect is earned by those people who show it to others in the end.
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