07 Feb BEMA Board Spotlight: Jim Warren
Jim Warren, Vice President
Company: Reading Bakery Systems
Q: What got you into the baking industry?
A: A chance opportunity when a German food equipment manufacturing company was looking for a Sales Rep in the States.
Q: Why do you love the business of baking?
A: In many ways, everyone is a unique individual but in other ways, we are more alike. One of the ways we are alike is our love for baked foods. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh-baked bread, cookies, or your favorite baked treat? The baking industry brings people together at work, at play, and around the family dinner table. That’s what the Baking Industry is about.
Q: Who do you consider a mentor in the industry? Who has made an impact on your career?
A: As a young engineer I first had the opportunity to meet Terry Groff who was the owner of Reading Bakery Systems. This was in 1990. First as a client, then an industry partner, next as an employer, but always as a friend, Terry was and is an example of how to deal in an honest and caring way with all those you meet in your journey. My lessons from Terry were less about being a good engineer and more about trying to be a good person.
Q: What goals do you have for your board membership tenure?
A: Being as my tenure is drawing to an end, a better question would be what goals have I accomplished. The 15 plus years I have been associated with BEMA service first with BIF, later as a committee chairman, then a board member, and now as a member of the executive committee have been a challenging period for our industry. During that period the industry has faced economic swings, consolidation, supply chain challenges, and Public Health challenges. Through these challenges, BEMA has continued to bring people, both members, and bakers, together. If anything we have become more relevant and a greater industry recourse during that time and I would like to think I was a contributor to that success.
Q: What trend are you most excited about in the baking industry right now?
A: The industry and the country have been challenged both physically and socially during the last few years. But the baking industry has remained strong. You may not be able to find computer chips to control your processes or stainless steel to build your machines, or people to work at your factory, but Baked products remain on the grocery shelves and in the restaurants and in our homes: and at prices the public can afford. This should make all of us proud to be a part of this industry.
Q: What was your favorite baked good as a kid, and now?
A: My mother was very fond of feeding my Dad and me, and baking was her thing. Her strawberry cake is still a legend in our town. Any event from a school fundraiser to a church picnic would seem to conjure up one of those cakes. Although she is now 85, I still can count on one of those cakes at family get-togethers, birthdays, and holiday celebrations. Still my favorite.