J. William Ryan
Class of 2007
Born in Youngstown, OH, on May 5, 1941, Bill attended Cardinal Mooney High School, then went on to Youngstown State University. He married Gert in July 1967 and together they raised five children – Greg, Mike, Maureen, Dan and Patti.
Bill served as a sergeant in the Army National Guard for six years in Ohio, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
He has spent most of his career in the food industry, working for Isaly’s, a local grocery store, during high school and then working full time for Loblaw Supermarkets during college.
In 1967 Bill went to work for Hormel Foods Corp. holding a range of sales positions during his 17-year tenure.
In 1985, he joined Ambrosia Chocolate as manager of the company’s private label program. He then moved up to sales manager for industrial products in 1987.
Bill was named director of sales for Merckens following its acquisition from Nabisco in 1990, and in 1991 became director of industrial sales, involved in confectionery, dairy and bakery. Following a stint as vice-president of strategic accounts, he was named vice-president of confectionery sales and marketing for ADM Cocoa when it purchased Ambrosia’s owner Grace Cocoa in 1997.
He developed the ADM Cocoa & Chocolate Seminar, which has trained 500 industry members since its inception in 1993.
Bill’s most memorable moment in the industry was receiving the Henry Bornhofft award in 1995. He also received the Cookie and Snack Bakers Association Allied Member of the Year award in 1998, and earlier this year was honored with the National Confectioners Association Distinguished Service Award.
He has served as an active member of the American Association of Candy Technologists, and sat on the NCA Advisory Board as well as the All Candy Expo Supplier Committee. He also contributed to the association through its Public Relations and Government Affairs committees.
Bill is currently chair of the Retail Confectioners International Advisory Board and most recently served as vice-chairman of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association Public Relations Committee. He has served on the Kettle Award Committee and actively participated in developing protocol to deal with child labor issues in West Africa.
He served as the ADM Cocoa United Way coordinator for eight years.
Away from the business, Bill is a member of St. William’s Catholic Church and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren as well as fishing, hunting, golfing and reading.