“You can fake caring, but you can’t fake showing up” are words G. Michael Gude — better known in the baking industry as Mike or simply Gude — lives by. He shows it every day in the way he fosters relationships with suppliers and bakers and how he serves the industry at large.
“It’s one thing to be recognized in our business as a baker or supplier, but Mike isn’t involved in any of that, yet he is always a tireless promoter of our industry that very few people can compare to,” said Larry Marcucci, chief executive officer, Alpha Baking Co., Chicago. “His connections in the baking community run both wide and deep, and he works seamlessly with both allied as well as bakery professionals.”
Mr. Gude knows everyone, and everyone knows Mr. Gude, which places him at the center of the baking industry and as a critical connection for many.
“I am proud of my industry friendships, but Mike is in a league of his own,” said Josh Sosland, president of Sosland Publishing and editor of Milling & Baking News, in a recommendation letter to the Hall of Fame selection committee. “He knows them, befriends them, helps them make business connections and plays a crucial role in creating the intangible sense of community that is a hallmark of grain-based foods but is a quality that should never be taken for granted.”
After 40 years serving the baking industry as a publisher of its most influential trade media, Mr. Gude’s role as a mentor, community builder and volunteer has warranted his place in the Baking Hall of Fame.
Mr. Gude grew up in Hamburg, Iowa, and attended the University of Missouri, earning a degree in journalism. He joined Sosland Publishing Co. in 1981 as a sales representative for Milling & Baking News. When the magazine began an insert called Baking Equipment Quarterly, Mr. Gude was instrumental in growing the quarterly into Baking & Snack, a monthly magazine dedicated to educating the industrial baking industry on trends, operations and formulating. After getting Baking & Snack off the ground, Mr. Gude later launched Food Business News, which has become a critical source of information for the food industry at large.
In addition to shaping the media that informs the baking industry, Mr. Gude has been a mentor to many in the industry, not just at Sosland Publishing but also those who now lead baking and supplier companies. He has volunteered and served on boards on multiple organizations including BEMA, the Grain Foods Foundation and the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry (ATBI). Mr. Gude has served in leadership roles as president of both the ATBI and the Midwest ATBI, chairman of BEMA and treasurer of the Grain Foods Foundation. He has also been the BEMA liaison to the American Bakers Association and served on the program committee of the American Society of Baking.
“Mike has a now-famous saying that so many of us use frequently: ‘You can’t fake showing up,’ ” said Kerwin Brown, president and CEO of BEMA. “That epitomizes Mike, every day for the past four decades."
This article is an excerpt from the February 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on the Baking Hall of Fame, click here.