CHICAGO — Theresa Cogswell, past chairman of the American Society of Baking and industry mentor to dozens of baking professionals, received the Robert A. Fischer Distinguished Service Award from the American Society of Baking during BakingTech 2019. The award is given annually to recognize and honor outstanding service and leadership by an individual to the society at the discretion of the group’s executive director, Kent Van Amburg.
In presenting the award, Lee Sanders, senior vice-president, government relations and public affairs for the American Bakers Association, described Ms. Cogswell as the embodiment of a role model for baking professionals. She listed a host of attributes that reflect Ms. Cogswell’s extensive contributions to the society over the last 26 years and to the baking industry for more than 40 years.
“A true leader, passionate baker, sharer of expertise, innovator, ground breaker — not afraid to use a sledgehammer, when needed,” Ms. Sanders said. “A lifelong learner, a mentor and encourager of career growth, team builder, willing to take on new challenges for the betterment of A.S.B., her organization and the benefit of the baking industry.”
Mr. Sanders went on to say that Ms. Cogswell “shattered the glass ceiling for women in the industry” like one of her mentors and friends, A.S.B. Baking Hall of Fame recipient Rella Dwyer.
“In 2007, Theresa was named as the first female chair of the American Society of Baking,” Ms. Sanders said. She is a proud founder and past president of the Society of Bakery Women.
Ms. Cogswell’s career path traveled a prestigious road from Kansas State University Milling Science & Management graduate to professional baker starting with her first position as Paniplus research baker. She served in various positions at Interstate Brands Corp. as research and development manager.
At I.B.C., she rose to vice-president where she oversaw a corporate team for product development, regulatory compliance and consumer affairs.
“An example of her groundbreaking innovative work is development of an extended shelf life system for bread and cake products that improved product quality and distribution efficiency,” Ms. Sanders noted.
In 2007, Ms. Cogswell founded and became president of BakerCogs, Inc., a consulting business that assisted clients with innovation, technical services, new product development, market insights, regulatory compliance consumer affairs and public relations. Most recently, she served as Corbion’s director of innovation from 2016 until she retired last fall.
“Throughout Theresa’s career ascension, she did not forget about what really counts — family — and she made time for and was a dedicated wife to her husband Phil and devoted mother to her two amazing daughters Leah and Katie, while giving back to her beloved industry, her community and her church,” Ms. Sanders said.
In addition to her service to the A.S.B., Ms. Cogswell spent many years on the A.B.A. Food Technical Regulatory Affairs committee. She also worked with AIB International, the American Association of Cereal Chemists, the Institute of Food Technologists, the Wheat Quality Council and numerous other organizations.