Class of 2019
Brent Cotten was born on March 17, 1969 in Nashville, to Joyce and Buddy Reed.
He credits his work ethic to his parents and it was noticeable early on as he was the state Vice-President for the Distributive Education Club of America. It was this experience that inspired his passion for sales and marketing.
Working for a local food brokerage while attending Middle Tennessee State University, Brent was introduced to The Hershey Company by a district manager he met during a tradeshow. He would go on to interview for a position during his college career day and the rest is history.
Starting immediately after graduating from college in 1992, he spent his first six years as a Sales Representative, responsible for all aspects of merchandising, promotional support and distribution within a designated territory.
One of Brent’s career defining moments came in 2007, when he was named as Director of National Accounts for Convenience.
He led a team that consisted of five regional account managers who handled Hershey’s Top 40 national convenience retailers. During Brent’s five years in this position, his team saw significant growth in both shares and sales. The group went on to win numerous customer and industry awards along the way.
In 2012, Brent was promoted to Customer and Industry Affairs Director, a succession planning role with Herhey’s then Vice-President of Customer and Industry Affairs, Candy Hall of Fame member Tom Joyce, one of his mentors.
Three years later, Brent was named Vice-President of Customer and Industry Affairs. In this role, he has been even more involved with the industry, representing Hershey with trade associations and at customer events to establish strong relationships in all areas of the business.
His industry involvement includes membership on NCA’s State of the Industry Conference, Sweets & Snacks Expo and Membership committees, as well as the association’s Strategic Advisory Council. He is also currently Vice-Chairman of the NACS Supplier Board.
“Brent has long been a credit to all of us who love and represent the confectionery industry and his recognition by induction into the Candy Hall of Fame has been earned by sacrifices of his time, energy, efforts and passion for everything candy,” says 2013 Candy Hall of Famer Michael Rosenberg.
Brent and his wife, Angie, have been together since grade school and have two daughters, Morgan and Anna Grace, and two granddaughters, Ava Grace and Lola Kathryn.
Outside of the industry, Brent loves spending time with his family at the beach and traveling with his wife.
When asked about his Candy Hall of Fame induction, Brent commented, “I am so humbled and honored to be a member of the Candy Hall of Fame. To be part of this special group is such an honor.”