Whoever created the phrase “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” never had the opportunity to meet Gary Brodsky. This industry leader did it all and trained other professionals in the process. Over the years, he has received recognition for his endeavors through the Catherine T. Clark Achievement Award in 1974, A.S.B. Professional Baker from 2002 to 2006, Baking & Snack Operations Executive of the Year in 2007, Robert A. Fischer Award in 2009 and now the 2020 A.S.B. Baking Hall of Fame.
Mr. Brodsky’s induction into the Hall of Fame is quite fitting since he founded it in 2007.
“It was Gary’s vision that brought us the Baking Hall of Fame, and that gift has impacted the lives of many industry legends and that of the families for those that have passed on,” said Rowdy Brixey, president, Brixey Engineering, Strategies and Training.
One of his earliest leadership positions in baking was as a project manager for multiple plants at the former Banquet Frozen Foods, now known as Banquet Foods, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Conagra Brands. At that time, he helped expand the company’s operations in Wellston, Ohio.
In 1976, Mr. Brodsky became the plant manager of Brownberry Oven, in Oconomowoc, Wis., where he worked with Catherine Clark, founder of Brownberry and another Baking Hall of Famer. She trained him how to make natural wheat bread the traditional way as well as other reputable bread from Brownberry. Four years later, he oversaw operations at Arnold and Oroweat.
In 1995, Mr. Brodsky transformed the relationship of the baking and fast-food industries as the director of operations for East Balt Bakeries, a supplier for McDonald’s and now owned by Mexico City-based Grupo Bimbo. After successfully building up East Balt’s Japan and South Korea plants, he was promoted to vice-president of operations. Later, as senior vice-president of operations, he oversaw plants in China, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Italy and Turkey, and his communication skills allowed him to train employees easily at these locations. Overall, he was involved in designing and growing 19 international plants. These endeavors led him to develop the Supplier Covenant, a dedicated group of equipment leaders to meet the needs of East Balt.
“I had the pleasure to work with Gary on many occasions and actually saw firsthand his knowledge and abilities to put a new bakery together,” said Fred Springer, former president and chief executive officer of Burford Corp. “He was tough but always fair.”
Mr. Brodsky has served a variety of industry associations as well, often acting as an adviser. He was the founding president of Florida’s Bakers Club, A.S.B. chairman and A.S.B. Bakery Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee chairman. He also served on the AIB Board of Trustees; AIB Advisory Board; AMF Customer Advisory Group; A.S.B. Advisory Board; and McDonald’s Bakery Council Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa (APMEA).
Although Mr. Brodsky is retired, he’s not finished doing and teaching. Currently, he is a consultant for McDonald’s APMEA region. This work includes fixing quality issues, building bakeries and creating a team of retired East Balt employees and other industry leaders to support the area.
“His efforts to teach, develop and nurture people in our industry are second to none,” said Larry Marcucci, c.e.o. of Alpha Baking Co., Chicago. “He has given way more to our industry worldwide than we could ever give back to him.”