KANSAS CITY — Four industry trailblazers will be inducted into the American Society of Baking’s Baking Hall of Fame in 2020. Gary Brodsky, Antonio Gonzalez Navarro, Amos McMullian and Gordon Smith will be honored during the organization’s annual BakingTech conference, set for March 1-3 in Chicago.
Mr. Brodsky managed several baking facilities throughout his career. He oversaw operations at Banquet Foods, Brownberry Ovens, Arnold Bakers and East Balt Bakeries Co. Mr. Brodsky transformed the industry’s relationship with the fast-food sector by altering the way bakeries around the world supply restaurants. A supplier covenant he devised supported McDonald’s expansion into international markets. In addition to these efforts, he also served as chairman of the A.S.B. during the creation of the Baking Hall of Fame. Mr. Brodsky currently works as a consultant for McDonald’s bakeries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Starting as an engineering trainee at Grupo Bimbo, Mr. Gonzalez Navarro has worked in a range of engineering positions at the company, including chief of new installations, manager of new projects and head of global engineering. He helped establish Grupo Bimbo as an international player in the baking industry, leading the company’s expansion into North, Central and South American markets. Mr. Gonzalez Navarro was also known as an inspirational leader and mentor. During his time with the company, he built well-rounded teams that boosted growth while also taking associates under his wing.
Mr. McMullian was president, chief executive officer and chairman of Flowers Foods. He led the company from 1981 until 2004. He took the company from a regional baked foods manufacturer to America’s second largest baking company. He held a variety of roles throughout his 56-year career at the company, including assistant controller, plant manager, regional vice-president and division president. Under his guidance, Flowers Foods saw more than 60 mergers and acquisitions and the development of Nature’s Own, the baking industry’s first $1 billion bread brand. Mr. McMullian strategically expanded the business into other categories and established new bakeries to support high-quality product lines. He also helped lead the establishment of the Flowers Foods’ FLOPAC, one of the nation’s first political action committees, and the American Bakers PAC.
Founder of Smith Bakeries and the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry (A.T.B.I.), Mr. Smith was an industry pioneer. In 1899, he started Smith Bakeries, a wholesale bread and bun bakery, in Mobile, Ala. He ran the company as owner and chairman until his passing in 1974. Mr. Smith was also an advocate for fair and professional business practices. In 1920, he became increasingly concerned about deteriorating relationships among suppliers he worked with and challenged the salesmen to adopt a better rapport through participation in a professional association of their peers. This concept eventually was embraced and led to the founding of A.T.B.I. In 1952, Mr. Smith was recognized by the group as the “Daddy of the Allied Trades” and inducted as an Honorary Life Member. Today, the supplier group supports bakers and industry innovation through a variety of initiatives. The A.T.B.I. will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020.
Since launching in 2006, the Baking Hall of Fame has recognized more than 80 people for their efforts and contributions to the industry.
“We can all learn from the individuals we elect to the Baking Hall of Fame,” said Rowdy Brixey, chair of the A.S.B. Baking Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee and president of Brixey Engineering, Inc. “They embody the best of the industry and have earned not only our deep respect but also this coveted place in baking’s legacy. Speaking for all members of the evaluation committee, it is an honor for us to evaluate their accomplishments. They inspire our future by their examples.”