This year, the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry (A.T.B.I.) will celebrate its 100th Anniversary, and it’s fitting that Gordon Smith, the founder and “father” of A.T.B.I., is being inducted into the American Society of Baking’s Baking Hall of Fame.
In 1899, Mr. Smith founded Smith Bakeries, which became known for embracing the latest in technology and its progressive treatment of its employees. By 1920, however, he became increasingly concerned about the cut-throat nature of the baking trades and founded A.T.B.I. to develop better personal and professional fraternity among suppliers and bakers.
“A.T.B.I. was a hit from its beginning,” according to the nomination for Mr. Smith. “The organizing committee didn’t waste any time. In April 1920, it sent membership solicitations to flour millers, equipment vendors, ingredient suppliers — any firm they could think of that had a trade relationship with commercial bakers. Many sales managers quickly accepted this opportunity.”
Since the beginning, A.T.B.I. has supported efforts to build a stronger baking industry. During 1935, it helped the American Institute of Baking circulate “White Bread,” a pamphlet that counteracted propaganda against white bread. More recently, it helped support the industry’s “I Love Bread” buttons following Oprah Winfrey’s much-publicized embrace of the product.
Over the years, A.T.B.I. has done so much more by contributing to charities, creating scholarships and serving as bulwark for almost all baking-related associations. It’s a great time to recognize Mr. Smith as well as the A.T.B.I. for that all the group has done — and continues to do — to strengthen the baking industry.