05 Apr BEMA Board Spotlight: Clay Miller
Clay Miller, President
Company: Burford Corp.
Q: What got you into the baking industry?
A: A well timed opening in the Burford engineering department brought me to the baking industry. I was fresh out of college working in Dallas Texas as a process engineer in the telecommunications industry. It was the end of 2000 and that industry had just peaked but would soon find itself in an epic crash. I had a college friend that worked at Burford at the time. He reached out to see if I was interested in joining their engineering team. I jumped at the opportunity and the rest is history.
Q: Why do you love the business of baking?
A: I love the people and the passion they all have. It’s often joked about that once you’re in the baking industry you can’t escape it. It sounds a bit scary at first but the truth is people choose to stay, and for good reason. It’s one big family, even amongst competitors. BEMA plays a big part in that. No other industry association focuses on integrating family into the business like BEMA.
Q: Who do you consider a mentor in the industry? Who has made an impact on your career?
A: My mentor throughout my career at Burford was Fred Springer. It’s very humbling to have had a mentor that is one of the icons of the baking industry. Above all Fred taught me personally that you get out what you put in. He lived that throughout his career in his passionate dedication both to Burford and to the industry associations he served. I carry his servant leadership style with me today. Then there was Kurt Miller, Mark Hotze, Dennis Gunnell and a dozen or so more. These gentlemen saw past my inexperience and invested their time which opened doors and opportunities I would not otherwise have had access to. In the end they all taught me how to take care of the customer before ever thinking about selling something. Thanks fellas and thanks to all that have mentored someone in our industry… I plan to carry on that tradition!
Q: What goals do you have for your board membership tenure?
A: I am beyond excited to have joined the executive committee last year. I am looking forward to spending the next 3 years with this awesome team including our stellar staff. The BEMA board includes the best in the business and I’m continuously learning from them. I can’t wait to see how we can continue to help shape the landscape of our industry just as those icons before us have done. We have big plans for BEMA’s future!
Q: What trend are you most excited about in the baking industry right now?
A: I have to say that I am most excited about the current trend of people starting to travel to bakeries, conventions, and shows again. Bumping fists or shaking hands… even hugging, yeah I said it! I’m excited for our industry “family” to gather again. To share a meal and to eat baked goods. To share ideas, collaborate and innovate together! IBIE seems to be coming at the perfect time. To actually see what’s trending come by our booth at IBIE located at… just kidding but seriously, booths 2817/3101/3201
See you there!!!
Q: What was your favorite baked good as a kid, and now?
A: Fresh baked bread is my weakness then and now. When normal people are moving towards the dessert menu at the end of great meal, I’m still hanging onto the bread plate and pouring another round of olive oil and balsamic vinegar! I love “breaking bread” and all that it stands for!