World Grain - September 2011 - (Page 29)

FEATURE: GENERATION TO GENERATION During a recent interview with World Grain at the Mennel headquarters in Fostoria, Ohio, U.S., Don Mennel said he still remembers his first “the-buckstops-here” moment in managing the family flour milling business. It was in the early 1980s, shortly after he had taken over for his father. “A problem arose in the company, and my dad was enrolled in law school. I called him and said, ‘I need your help; I need to sit down and discuss something with you.’ He said, ‘You’re going to have to do it on your own. I’m in the middle of exams and don’t have time to talk to you,’” remembered Don Mennel with a laugh as he recalled his father’s blunt words. Now, nearly three decades later, Don Mennel is preparing to “pass the buck” to his son, Ford Mennel, who in July moved into the administrative office in Fostoria to become an understudy to his father with plans eventually to take over as president. Ford Mennel had been manager of the company’s mill in Roanoke, Virginia, U.S. Coincidentally, this was the same position Don Mennel held before moving back to Fostoria to work with his father before taking over as president and chief executive officer in 1983. “My father has laid out a calculated transition plan that I have been aware of for at least five years, which should provide for a smooth transition not unlike the one from my grandfather to my father,” Ford Mennel said. “I also cherish the opportunity that I will have in the interim sharing an office and exchanging thoughts and ideas with my father on a daily basis. There is no better way to learn something than immersing oneself into the subject matter or role. Although I know it’s a double-edged sword because I have large shoes to fill, I also have an outstanding mentor to learn from. I will be spending the years ahead delving into the administrative end of the business including: human resources, finance, grain accounting and sales, which will certainly be a change of pace after spending the (Left) This facility in Roanoke, Virginia, U.S. is Mennel’s second-largest with a 24-hour production capacity of 9,350 cwts. Photo by Arvin Donley. Clockwise, from top left: Donald L. Mennel, Ford Mennel, Donald M. Mennel and Drew Mennel. Photo courtesy of The Mennel Milling Company. last six years in operations.” Don Mennel said his son will likely take over as president “within the next five years.” “Ford has a passion for the business,” he said. “He really loves it and is doing a great job. Hopefully I’ll be able to retire in the not too distant future and let him take over.” When that day comes, it will mark the fifth generation of the family to lead the company, which operates five wheat flour mills with an overall daily milling capacity of 40,700 cwts. It ranks seventh in capacity in the U.S., according to Sosland Publishing’s 2011 Grain & Milling Annual. Mennel Milling is in its 125th year in business — a remarkable accomplishment in an industry that has seen much consolidation in recent years. But the company has decided to mark the milestone without much fanfare. “We’re doing it quietly,” Don Mennel said. “We’ve been around to all the locations to do quiet celebrations, giving small gifts to employees and saying thank you.” HOW IT BEGAN The company was founded in 1886 by a banking family, the Harters, from Mansfield, Ohio, U.S. and a Hungarian flour milling family, the Browns, from Canton, Ohio, U.S., and became known as Harter Milling Company. The families chose to build a flour mill in Fostoria because it was served by five major railroads and appeared to have large deposits of natural gas. An economic development package from the city al- Mennel’s mills Here is a list of The Mennel Milling Company’s milling facilities and their daily production capacities. • Fostoria, Ohio: 18,000 cwts. (11,000 soft wheat, 7,000 hard wheat); • Roanoke, Virginia: 9,350 cwts (soft and hard wheat); • Dowagiac, Michigan: 5,500 cwts (all soft wheat); • Bucyrus, Ohio: 5,000 cwts (all soft wheat); • Mount Olive, Illinois: 2,200 (all soft wheat). 29 / World Grain / September 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of World Grain - September 2011

World Grain - September 2011
from the editor-in-chief - Data transparency hugely important for markets
International Grain Trading Conference
Cargill plans to acquire Provimi
Cargill income climbs 35% in fi scal 2011
Adecoagro acquires farmland in Argentina
Viterra announces global operating model
Plaza Belmont sells Casa de Oro Foods
Sodrugestvo acquires Lider Armazens Gerais
ADM makes organizational changes
ADM to expand grain, rapeseed storage in Germany
ADM to acquire Polish rapeseed, biodiesel company
ITOCHU announces merger of I-FOODS, ITOCHU Rice Corp.
Bay State adds specialty unit at Winona mill
NutraCea narrows loss in second quarter
Income drops for Seaboard’s trading, milling division
Mark Weber named director of Northern Crops Institute
CBH Grain expands presence in Southeast Asia
CBH doubles storage capacity at Munglinup
Kazakhstan’s grain production up 60%
Grain Market Review - Wheat
Country Focus - Focus on Algeria
Generation to generation
A force in flour in Fiji
Business is Booming
A 'noble business'
World wheat supplies ample; corn tight
Milling education review
Lasting advances in Milling technology
Setting the grind
A voice for European flour millers
A bullish assessment
Safety is no accident
Whole wheat flour output keeps climing
Mühlenchemie opens baking, milling lab
Carl Swisher joins 4B Components as sales manager
Siemens launches Measuring Success tour
Food Protection Alliance names Schmitz as director
Sweet introduces new mobile website, QR Codes
BinMaster introduces 3D MultiVision
C.W. Brabender offers discount for Farinograph-AT
Tometich joins CPM Roskamp as test manager
Hill, Phillips receive AFIA Member of the Year Award
Product Showcase

World Grain - September 2011