Baking Management’s second annual Influential 20 issue will arrive appropriately on the heels of November’s momentous midterm elections. Republicans ran away with a majority in the House and made significant gains in the Senate, though shy of a majority. A concurrent Republican wave in governors’ race wins will grant them control over redistricting.
What’s particularly impressive is how effectively the baking industry marshaled its influence to effect change. In speaking with Robby Marcie for the Influential 20 article, he and other industry leaders foresaw the tough slog they were in for back in 2008.
“The two biggest challenges facing bakers are across the board commodity volatility and the impact of government regulation. The ongoing volatility in the commodity markets make it extremely challenging to manage input costs,” he says. “Similarly, the glut of new regulatory initiatives ranging from food safety, health care and environmental mandates are all encroaching on the ability of bakers to serve consumers fresh, wholesome and healthy products at a good value.”
But you didn’t stand idly by–you fought back. You formed political action committees designed to target important races nationwide. With Steve Avera and Kelly Knowles overseeing ABA’s American Bakery PAC, and the association flexed its pro-business muscle.
The IBA stepped up to the plate as well, with its BakePAC taking aim at dominoes ready to fall in the House. The committee wasn’t afraid of taking bigger game in the Senate, homing in on 10 key races that had the potential to swing the pendulum of majority.
“BakePAC did very well, the best out of the last four elections with more than 80 percent victories in the supported House races and 50 percent in the Senate races,” Nick Pyle, IBA president, says. “We took on some entrenched incumbents and open races in traditionally Democratic states, and our Senate success percentage reflects that.”
These were victories for everyone in the baking community. The 20 individuals listed later in this magazine were leaders in the machinery of change, and acted as the merchants of influence. But bakers and allied trades industry-wide ponied up with the financial influence needed to accomplish the gains that all of the pro-business world achieved this November.
One element of the Influential 20 that I’ve been struck by has been the interconnectedness of the industry: the willingness of bakers, suppliers and organizations to serve on committees and work toward common goals. The Influential 20 certainly celebrates those willing to lead, but in doing so it highlights the vast pool of concerned people in the industry lending their support. It’s from the depth of this pool that the leaders listed get their influence.