With six inductees entering the American Society of Baking’s (ASB) Baking Hall of Fame in 2023, the number of bakers, allieds and baking professionals being recognized for their lifetime achievements breaks the 100 mark, which is more than symbolic for Rowdy Brixey, chairman of the Baking Hall of Fame Evaluation Committee and president of Brixey Engineering Inc.
“If you walk into any grocery store and look at what baked goods are on the shelves or go into any commercial bakery and see the equipment that’s making those products, you can pretty much attribute most of what you’re seeing to those 103 people who have entered the Baking Hall of Fame,” he said. “Some people think the Baking Hall of Fame is irrelevant in regard to these individuals and the impact they made in the industry, but just go into a store with this list of 103 people in front of you, and you’re seeing companies like Entenmann’s, Pepperidge Farm, Grupo Bimbo’s and Flowers Foods’ brands represented everywhere you look.”
This year’s honorees are Frederick E. Cooper, Flowers Foods and CooperSmith Inc.; Joseph M. Day, Joseph M. Day Co. and Banner Engineering & Sales Inc.; Harold Flynn, Flynn Burner Corp.; G. Michael Gude, Sosland Publishing Co.; and Louis Rotella Sr. and Louis Rotella Jr., Rotella’s Italian Bakery Inc.
The Baking Hall of Fame dates to 2006, when then ASB Chairman Gary Brodsky shared his vision with the society to recognize those individuals whose achievements transformed the baking industry into what it is today. Mr. Brixey recalled the inspiration from Mr. Brodsky, who became a member of the hall in 2019 and whose vision guides the committee today. He noted that committee members not only vote on nominations, but also provide advice on how to fill out the form and answer questions about the nomination process.
“Don’t be shy or be concerned about reaching out to a committee member or an ASB board member and asking, ‘What else can I do?’ It could be about adding new information, obtaining letters of recommendation or whether it’s just to have a conversation about what’s missing so that the committee members have everything they need when voting on a nomination,” Mr. Brixey explained. “Sometimes it’s the information, or lack of it, that determines the difference between someone who is an inductee and someone who is deserving to be in the Baking Hall of Fame but hasn’t been voted in yet.”
Committee members include Mr. Brixey, Robert Benton, Gil Bundy, Theresa Cogswell, John Del Campo, Len Kilby, Dan Malovany and Eddie Perrou. Additionally, new members including Len Heflich, Tom McCurry and John Phillips are replacing veterans Jim Diver, Bill McCurry and Fred Springer who retired from the committee. Contact ASB to reach out to committee members.
Mr. Brixey also urged people to visit the Baking Hall of Fame at the Bundy Baking Museum in Urbana, Ohio. For nomination forms, go to www.asbe.org.
This article is an excerpt from the February 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Baking Hall of Fame, click here.