Murray Robert “Bob” Albers was raised in a small town in Northern California, named Gridley. He grew up hunting with his Dad and Brother and excelling at sports. Bob was a high school basketball star and received a scholarship to Sacramento State University. After Bob graduated he was recruited by Continental Baking Company. He began as a route sales representative, and quickly moved on to Bakery Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager and General Manager of the Portland, Oregon, Wonder Bread Bakery.
Bob was in Portland one year and was asked to relocate to ITT Continental Baking Company’s General Office, in Rye, New York. Bob knew Joe Franz from union negotiation sessions. Joe asked Bob if he really wanted to move his family to New York and be a travelling man. Bob said that his wife and kids were not anxious to move back east. Joe Franz offered Bob Albers the position of Vice President and General Manager of the small ($10 million) Franz Bakery, in Portland, Oregon, in 1975. He accepted.
Bob and Joe made a great team. It was a push-pull relationship. Bob would say, “Let’s go!” and Joe would say “Slow down!” Joe was an introvert – Bob was an extrovert. Joe was the solid, financial planner. Bob was the young aggressive guy who wanted to grow the business. And grow it they did.
Bob Albers and Joe Franz aquired Buttercup Bakery, in Gresham, Oregon, Pioneer Bakery, in Bend, Oregon, Snyder’s Bakery, in Yakima, Washington, Lagendorf Bakery, in Portland, Oregon, Interstate Bakery, in Spokane, Washington, Smith Bakery, in Salem, Oregon and Boge Bakery, in Spokane, Washington. Joe Franz passed away in 1988.
Bob Albers and his Franz team then acquired Williams’ Bakery, in Eugene, Oregon, Smith Cookie Bakery, in McMinnville, Oregon, Gai’s Bakeries (2), in Seattle, Washington, Fluhrer’s Bakery, in Eureka, California, Harvest Classic Bakery, in Nampa, Idaho and Wonder/Hostess Bakeries, in Seattle, Washington, Salt Lake, Utah, Billings, Montana and Anchorage, Alaska. Not a bad run – for a small town kid from Gridley, California.
Bob Albers is a visionary. It’s not just the 15 baking companies that he has been involved in acquiring – it is his vision for the future. Bob installed a “Street Fighter” mentality in the sales department – that was “borrowed” from one of the bakeries he acquired. When he saw something exceptional in a new acquisition – it was installed throughout the company.
That small little Franz Bakery, in Portland, Oregon, where Bob Albers showed up in 1975, as Vice President and General Manager, is still a producing bakery. The $10 million per year company has exploded since 1975 – thanks to the leadership of the visionary – M. Robert “Bob” Albers.
Click on the images below to view .pdf files of the inductee’s biography and plaque.