The American Society of Baking (ASB) announced that Len Heflich, Tom McCurry and John Phillips are the newest members of the society’s Baking Hall of Fame (HOF) Evaluation Committee. The three replace Jim Diver, Bill McCurry and Fred Springer, all of whom recently retired from the committee this year.
“It is with much gratitude that we acknowledge the contributions made by our three retiring board members for their many years of engagement and leadership,” said Rowdy Brixey, founder and president of Brixey Engineering Inc. and chair of the Baking HOF Evaluation Committee. “At the same time, we cannot help but look forward with great anticipation to what John, Len and Tom will bring to our committee. We all share at least one thing in common: we are all very honored to serve on this committee.”
Since it launched in 2006, the Baking Hall of Fame has recognized individuals from various facets of the baking industry — from bakeries, allied equipment and ingredient suppliers, schools, service organizations and publishers. In 2023, the total number of people receiving this honor will top the 100 mark when the Baking HOF inducts six new members at its upcoming BakingTech conference, which runs Feb. 28-March 2 in Chicago.
A chemist with 45 years of experience in the food and baking industries, Mr. Heflich led research and food safety at Entenmann’s, Weston and Bimbo Bakeries USA, leading projects to develop and launch a variety of new products. For many in the baking industry, he is perhaps best known for his 15 years of service as the co-chair of the American Bakers Association (ABA) Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee (FTRAC). With ABA, he was involved in resolving several critical, technical and regulatory issues affecting the baking industry over the years. Mr. Heflich served as president of the board at the Center for Food Integrity and chair of the Wheat Quality Council. He's the author of two books and holds two patents.
Tom McCurry is chief executive officer of Cain Food Industries. He is a third-generation member of the baking industry with more than 30 years in the broader grain-based industry. Mr. McCurry is past president of the Allied Trades of the Baking Industry, a former ABA board member and previous 2nd vice chair of ASB. He previously worked for Manildra Group USA, Jenco/Thrift Express and Sosland Publishing.
Mr. Phillips began working in the baking industry in 1978 with Thomas’ English Muffins and later joined Schwebel Baking Co., where he managed three of their four plants over a period of 26 years. A longtime member of the society, he served as ASB chairman in 1998 and has been a member of ABA’s FTRAC committee, the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Society of Cereal Chemists. He currently provides sales and technical support for Lesaffre/Red Star Yeast.
Retiring members Bill McCurry had served on the HOF committee since 2007 while Mr. Springer joined in 2010 and Mr. Diver in 2020. All three ASB members are previous recipients of the Robert A. Fischer Distinguished Service Award, which was created in 1999 and recognizes outstanding service and leadership by an individual to the society. It is awarded annually and presented during the ASB’s annual BakingTech conference.