Press Release: A Lifetime of Service – Mike Gude

Press Release


June 6, 2024

Kerwin Brown


A Lifetime of Service – Mike Gude

Mike Gude Lifetime Achievement WinnerThere is a phrase some of you out there in the baking industry may be familiar with. “You can fake caring, but you can’t fake showing up.” There’s also a good chance you’re acquainted with the person the quote is associated with – Mike Gude: 2024 recipient of BEMA’s Fred Springer Lifetime Achievement Award.

It’s an actionable phrase that well demonstrates Mike’s commitment to the baking industry that came about somewhat serendipitously 43 years ago. In true exploratory fashion, Mike wanted to be a grain trader, making regular visits to the Board of Trade floor to watch the traders in action. On one of these visits, Mike noticed a Sosland ad looking for someone to help organize a conference in China. This soon evolved into a new job selling advertising for Milling & Baking News, which at the time featured a special insert called Baking Equipment Quarterly magazine, which focused on the process side of baking. This was the precursor to Baking & Snack magazine.

As he sought to learn more about the baking equipment industry and its major players, Mike naturally found his way to BEMA because, “that’s where the customers were.” As media, he couldn’t attend as a member, but with a little collaboration from then-President, John Van Larr, Mike found his way into the association as a member and this where he would begin to make his mark.

Like many BEMA members, Mike and his family have found a place among the BEMA family. Throughout this journey, Mike has been a key contributor in defining and re-defining the evolving concept of service within the industry. This includes embracing the concept of being a Go Giver – giving with the expectation of receiving nothing in return.

Mike shines as an example of a Go Giver who understands that a multitude of returns come through service to others. This includes a caveat that one never gets too caught up in the work. Instead, focus on the people in your business and in your life and when those people and projects come together, that is the true magic of service.

“I know what Fred Springer has accomplished in his career and it’s very humbling to be recognized for a service award named for Fred,” he said. “I’ve always tried to follow Fred’s all-in philosophy, to do whatever it takes, to pitch in, and know that it might even be risky to do so. But ultimately, to know that once the decision is made, everyone is committed to it.”

About the Lifetime Achievement Award

BEMA Lifetime Achievement AwardThe Fred Springer Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2001 to honor those who go above and beyond, impacting the organization and the industry in a variety of ways. In 2002, BEMA recognized Ed Meise, Al Formo and Edwin “Eddie” Lanham as the first recipients of the Award.

In 2018, BEMA renamed the award to recognize the lifelong contribution of Fred Springer to BEMA and the industry. Fred is known as a leader and an advisor to many. He is celebrated for recognizing new industry talent and giving them the experience, mentorship and exposure necessary to spread their wings in service to the industry.

All recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award are known for making a mark throughout their career, and these individuals personify the powerful sense of momentum that occurs when people see and feel the mission of an organization. These magnetic qualities serve to draw in others as they look for ways to support the organization through activities and service that make an impact.

“BEMA is proud to be an organization that not only brings together bakers and suppliers but also unites the families of these individuals,” said Kerwin Brown, President and CEO, BEMA. “We understand that the sometimes-long hours our members put into BEMA and into our industry can only happen with the support and understanding of their family.”

With this in mind, BEMA is proud to recognize the lifetime achievements of Mike Gude alongside the work of our dedicated volunteers. These individuals, along with the support of their families, make BEMA the organization it is today and will be in the future.

Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

  • 2002 – Ed Meise, Al Formo, Edwin “Eddie” Lanham
  • 2003 – Tom Belshaw, Dale S. Lecrone, Robert Loeb
  • 2004 – Jim Fay
  • 2006 – Bill Pulver, Fred Pfening II
  • 2007 – Dick Pulver
  • 2008 – Sterrett Campbell, Charles Burford
  • 2010 – John van Laar, Robert Zielsdorf
  • 2012 – Don Ivey
  • 2013 – Steve Wright
  • 2015 – Hans van der Maarel
  • 2018 – Fred Springer
  • 2019 – Rick Hoskins
  • 2023 – DJ LeCrone
  • 2024 – Mike Gude


About BEMA

Founded in 1918, BEMA (Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds), is an international, not-for-profit trade association representing leading bakery and food suppliers. BEMA creates authentic connections that improve its members’ businesses and the industries they serve. Its members utilize the value they gain through BEMA networking and educational events to provide their customers with the most effective, innovative solutions in the baking industry.

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