Pat began his career in his home state of Massachusetts where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Stonehill College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Suffolk University. His first job in the industry was in Sales for Nabisco where he spent his days taking orders and stocking shelves in the Boston area. In 1979, Pat joined Pepperidge Farm, a major manufacturer of cookies, crackers, and baked goods.
During his 30+ years at Pepperidge Farm, he worked his way up the ranks from Account Manager to President. He led the firm in one of its strongest growth periods, with seven consecutive years of top line, bottom line, and share growth in a challenging industry. Pat’s tenure at Pepperidge Farm is remembered as one of consumer-focused product innovation, and thus it was only fitting that in 2012, upon his retirement, the new $30 Million Innovation Center was named in his honor as the Patrick J. Callaghan Innovation Center.
While leading the firm, Pepperidge Farm won Best Company to Work For in CT, which can be attributed to his “people come first” leadership style as well as his mantra, taught by his father, of always making sure he shares his success with others. Pat’s tenure as president is remembered as one of hard work, tenacity, and respect for others and he is admired for his passion, authenticity, and good humor. Pat was often known to sit down in the cafeteria and grab lunch with any one of his 5000 employees from intern to VP and honestly probably preferred the former – as he felt everyone’s contribution was equally important. His mix of strong business sense and thoughtful leadership style left Pepperidge Farm in the top 2% of brand equities worldwide upon his retirement in 2012.
Pat’s work within the baking industry is extensive – he has mentored countless individuals in the industry and has served as chair of the American Baking Association and on the Board of Trustees of the American Insitute of Baking and on the Board of Directors of the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturing Association. He also helped create Grain Foods Foundation, an organization formed to educate consumers about the importance of grains in their diet.
He values his roots, recently receiving Man of the Year honors from both his high school and college, and is thankful for the constant support of his family including his wife, Gretchen, and daughters Meghan and Caitlin.
Click on the images below to view .pdf files of the inductee’s biography and plaque.