In & Around Food World

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We begin this column on a very personal note. Best-Met Publishing’s secretary and treasurer William H. Speakman 3rd passed away on October 8, 2013 at Augusta Health in Fisherville, VA after a long illness.

When Jeff and I decided to purchase Food World in 1978, we visited with an accountant friend in Boston and asked him if he would represent us. He said he could not, but he knew someone in Washington who would be perfect for us.

And thus began Jeff’s and my relationship with Bill Speakman. Bill led us through the very complex process of forming a corporation, borrowing money to buy Food World and other very complicated corporate and financial procedures we had to get done. He also negotiated the process of becoming incorporated in the state of Maryland. And thus Best-Met Publishing Company, Inc. came to be, and Bill Speakman became our treasurer. Not only was Bill our accountant, both in business and personally, he and his wife Ann became personal friends of ours and our families. “Uncle Bill” advised my children regarding their college choices, their career choices and their financial decisions.

He was a tough negotiator in business, but he also had a heart of gold when it came to family and friends. He will be missed.

Bill was born in Abington, PA, a son of the late William Henry and Edith (Gemunden) Speakman. He was the owner/president of Speakman Management.

In addition to his wife of 50 years, Ann (Johnson) Speakman, he leaves two sons, William Henry Speakman 4th of Houston, TX and Jonathan Edward Speakman of Austin, TX; a daughter, Lisa Ann (Speakman) Shelton and her husband Ryan of Staunton, VA; and two grandchildren, Jake T. and Joseph R. Shelton. Our prayers go out to the entire Speakman family.

The Hershey Co. of Hershey, PA is launching a new confectionery brand in the United States called Lancaster Soft Cremes. The new brand will feature a line of caramel soft crèmes that will roll out nationwide in January. This is the first time in 30 years that Hershey has launched a new brand that is not a brand extension or acquisition The new brand is rooted in Hershey’s heritage and is inspired by Milton Hershey’s original confection company, The Lancaster Caramel Company.

Earlier this year, Hershey successfully launched the Lancaster brand in China, which underscored the company’s deep commitment to China, as well as the importance of the market in Hershey’s global growth plans. The launch of Lancaster brand in China marked the first time a brand launch originated outside of the United States.

Giant/Landover was honored last month by the USO of Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro) and named to USO-Metro’s 2013 Circle of the Stars during the nonprofit’s 100th Annual Stars and Stripes Night networking event at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, VA. USO-Metro’s 2013 Circle of Stars is an elite award bestowed on the top-level corporate donors who provide generous funding to support USO-Metro’s mission to lift the spirits of military service members and their families. Giant was named to the Circle of Stars at the Four-Star level, which is the highest level honored by USO-Metro.

When women are put in leadership roles, “brands get better and morale gets better,” Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, told 300 senior executives at the Network of Executive Women (NEW) Executive Leadership Forum at Rancho Palos Verdes, CA recently.

Gender equality – especially in sales and marketing organizations – is “a huge enable to repeat success,” said Kent, during a one-on-one interview with NEW forum designer Trudy Bourgeois, CEO and founder of the Center for Workforce Excellence.

Kent said his belief in advancing women’s leadership dates to the mid-2000s, when he was promoted to president of Coca-Cola international, leading all of the company’s operations outside North America.

NEW is the consumer products and retail industry’s largest diversity organization,  with more than 7,000 members representing 700 industry companies. The organization has 92 national sponsors and 20 regional groups in the United States and Canada. It hosts dozens of local events and two national conferences each year. For more information visit www.newonline.org.