WASHINGTON — Dave Van Laar, senior adviser to the president and chief executive officer at the American Bakers Association, has announced his intent to retire on June 30. Mr. Van Laar has spent 45 years in the baking industry, including the past three in his current role at the ABA.
During his time at the ABA, Mr. Van Laar has played a key role in developing the association’s educational programs as well as leading the merger and implementation of the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers Association (B&CMA) to the ABA. Prior to joining the ABA, Mr. Van Laar was president of the B&CMA from 2014-17.
“Dave’s far-reaching accomplishments in this industry are a direct reflection of the passion he has for this industry,” said Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the ABA. “Dave has always shared easily and patiently the broad array of technical expertise and deep knowledge garnered through decades of experience. We are all grateful to his dedicated service to the industry.”
Prior to his work with the ABA and the B&CMA, Mr. Van Laar held a variety of leadership roles. He was president and CEO of Oak State Products from 2001-13, during which time he helped grow the business into a major competitor in the contract manufacturing segment by establishing strong relationship with national branded companies. From 1993-2001, he held a variety of positions within President Baking Co., beginning as the director of logistics before moving on to become the vice president of technical services, where he was responsible for leading the teams responsible for developing the Murray Sugar Free line and integrating the Famous Amos business. He eventually facilitated with the acquisition of President Baking Co. by Keebler Co.
Earlier, he spent 13 years at Pepperidge Farm, Inc., a division of Campbell Soup Co., as general manager and plant manager at several facilities.
“I am here today because special people took an interest in me long ago and mentored me,” Mr. Van Laar said. “I would love to impart what I have learned over the last 45 years to those coming up in the industry.”
Mr. Van Laar said he plans to spend his retirement pursuing his personal passions full time as director of pastoral care at Christ Community Church and police and fire chaplain in Ottawa, Ill. He also looks forward to spending more time with his wife of nine years, Carol Van Laar.
“I have worked with excellent people at excellent companies,” Mr. Van Laar said. “Being involved with police and fire personnel, I understand the family atmosphere. The same exists in the baking industry.”