In 1964, Tilmon (Tim) Brown left school to take care of his growing family, taking a job as a route salesman for Continental Baking Co. The industry was a good fit for him, so he stayed and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming corporate vice president and director of sales for the company.
After 30 years at Continental Baking, he was considering retirement when an opportunity came along with industry leaders Peter Grimm and John Paterakis. It was a chance to lead and eventually take over what is now New Horizons Baking Co., Norwalk, Ohio. Under Mr. Brown’s leadership, the company grew from sales of $30 million to $100 million today. New Horizons now has about 500 employees and four facilities that operate seven English muffin and two bun lines and recently acquired a custom seasonings and ingredient company.
On his journey, Mr. Brown put his customers first, served as a mentor to many and understood the value of taking care of his employees. He was nominated to the American Society of Baking’s Hall of Fame by his daughter, Trina Bediako, who is now chief executive officer at New Horizons.
“My father is a giver. He’s someone who helps many and does a lot for others,” Ms. Bediako said. “My dad has been a baker for over 50 years. It’s his life’s work. He’s sacrificed. He’s contributed. He’s supported customers. He’s helped mentor people in the industry. He’s been a shining star.”
Businesses that have worked with Mr. Brown over the years attest to his strong character and his commitment to customer service.
“It was very clear that the company approach to how to treat the customer was because of Tim,” said Paul Ingersoll, senior director, Tyson Foods, in a letter supporting his nomination to the ASB Hall of Fame. “He has this positive can-do attitude that inspires and motivates.”
Mr. Brown understands the importance of nurturing talent and training the next generation of bakers. He saw the value of diversity of thought and seeking out new and better ways to run the business. Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association, noted that many in the industry value Mr. Brown’s wisdom.
“His insights, kindness and keen intellect are what make other bakers, suppliers and customers seek him out for advice and counsel,” he wrote in a letter to ASB.
Mr. Brown also never forgets about the workers and their families whose livelihoods depend on New Horizons.
“We need to make sure that all of our decisions are thoughtful, that we take time to make sure that we make solid decisions with good facts,” he said. “And if we do that, we will ensure we will be around for a long time.”
As a man of faith who supports his community, Mr. Brown has also been involved in his church, several charities, the American Bakers Association, McDonald’s Bakery Council and McDonald’s Supplier Advisory Council. And he went back to school and finished his degree, just like he told his mom he would.
This article is an excerpt from the February 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Baking Hall of Fame, click here.