08 Mar BEMA Board Spotlight: Jay Hardy
Jay Hardy, National Sales Director
Company: J&K Ingredients
Q: What got you into the baking industry?
A: When I departed the Army and started school a family friend suggested a “summertime” opportunity to work at the Maier’s Bakery in Easton, PA.
Q: Why do you love the business of baking?
A: I love the fact that the industry is so tight-knit. If you happen to not know someone at a specific company, a colleague or one of your fellow association members probably will and more times than not, will help you with an introduction. To really sum up our industry in a word “Camaraderie”.
Q: Who do you consider a mentor in the industry? Who has made an impact on your career?
A: Don Gordon, he was the Production Manager at Maier’s Bakery and saw something in me and asked me to become the “summertime” supervisor the next year and from there I officially joined the management team. He then suggested the AIB Bakers correspondent course, which led to attending the 19-week resident course, and to make one more point on how tight-knit our industry is, AIB is where I met my wife, Sue.
Q: What goals do you have for your board membership tenure?
A: Working with and participating on the different committees with a commitment to always wanting BEMA to be the best it can be. I have always enjoyed getting the word out about BEMA in discussions with other industry colleagues or baker customers.
Q: What trend are you most excited about in the baking industry right now?
A: There are a few things that truly excite me – I like the fact that we are now offering smaller formats of our already wonderful branded baked/bread items which are great for emptying-nesters, smaller families, couples, and single households.
I also like the continued effort in RTE items, adding all the needed proteins, fibers, and nutrition to keep us all more balanced.
Thirdly, “clean label” produced products, excite me because I believe that consumers are more educated about what they are eating and are reading labels to make wise choices.
Q: What was your favorite baked good as a kid, and now?
A: Growing up in the Northeast and having a local 7-11 store on my way to and from school – Tastykake’s were my favorite, Kandy Kakes or Krimpets depending on the day. My favorite baked goods today would be Artisan bread and or sourdough bread.